Saturday, April 24, 2004

Dirge of the Homesick

Today I am writing from the Post Library at Osan AFB in Korea. About once a month the JSA sends a bus down here for whoever wants to come because there is some incredible shopping just off base and it's a nice way to get away from the DMZ. The library here is very nice, complete with gourmet coffee and over-sized chairs for reading, and of course, computers for guys like me. That's just background. I didn't really even want to write about the library. The real reason I decided to jump in here is because I have a recipe I want to share with my myriad readers (I'll call my mom and my wife "myriad"). It is not your average recipe. It is not something most people even enjoy. Nevertheless, I know how to produce it perfectly.

I have been in Korea for about nine and a half months and have only been to Osan one other time, when Tina was visiting last October. Those two facts form the basis for my recipe. So now I will tell you my recipe for homesickness and superb loneliness.

First, leave home for an inordinate amount of time and remember, you re not allowed to take anyone familiar with you. Next, get a visit from the one person in the world that is most important to you but ensure they don't stay very long. Then go home for an even shorter time several months later and then return to the utter silence of your room / flat / hooch / apartment. Finally, go somewhere you and Mrs. Important went together and try to enjoy yourself in the middle of thousands of happy people.

It may sound to the casual reader that I am experiencing a world class pity party. Not so. However, I find myself in circumstances that are out of my control while watching everyone else enjoying the company of their important people. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that seems to simply highlight the fact that I'm still in the tunnel. I only have about 75 days to go. That's better than 76 but infinitely more distressing than 74.

It is time to go home. Today at least, I hate it here! I miss home. I miss the smell of America. I miss people who know how to drive. I miss food that's fantastically delicious and not merely edible. I miss understanding what people are saying. I miss Samuel. I miss Mason. I miss Wyatt. I miss Olivia. I miss Scout. And, more than anyone, I miss Tina.

75 days and (sing it with me), "I'm leaving on a jet plane...blah blah blah not coming back again...ya ya ya I hate it here!" (Everybody) "La la la leaving Korea. Everything here tastes fermented. yada yada no more rice with every meal."

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Old Man Smithers

I was always under the assumption that it would come quietly, gradually, unnoticed. I expected that it would happen a little here a little there until I was held firmly in its unyielding grip. Actually, it happened for me exactly the other way. All was well until one day, seemingly at a preordained moment, it hit me like the proverbial piano being dropped by the clumsy movers from the 3rd floor. I am talking of course of none other than age itself. That's right. I'm getting old. Only recently did I come to realize and/or accept it. But it's true and unavoidable. Well, that begs the question, how do I know I'm getting old?

As I said it all seemed to happened in a blink of an eye. One day everything worked swimmingly. Then next day, parts of me began to fall off, stop working properly, and hurt. If you remember my entry of 21 January 2004, The Six Year Follow-up, you'll recall that I mentioned that I now wear glasses. That was just the beginning.

All of my recent dental work is yet another testimony to the need for medical intervention should I wish to continue leading a somewhat normal life. Well below the tip of that iceberg lies some splendidly geriatric problems.

About a month ago, while playing street hockey, I took a puck to the shin and thought my foot had been knocked off. In fact, that puck pinched a nerve against my shin bone. Only until recently, such a injury would have disappeared quickly. However, I still limp! A month later! What a sissy! I'm getting old.

Later, I went to our doctor to help with some basic cold symptoms. He decided it would be a better idea if I had allergies. So now I have allergies. I'm getting old!

Only a couple of days ago I was studying for Sunday service and had to remove my glasses and put on reading glasses just to read my Bible! Next it's bi-focals, tri-focals, and google-focals! I'm going blind and I'm getting old!

Every wonder why soldiers shave their heads? I'll tell ya. I recently went to get a hair cut and as the barber proceeded to cut and trim I noted an ever growing pile of grey in my lap. I'm turning gray and I'm getting old!

I hate to admit it, but I found an ear hair about 17 inches long and 2 inches thick! I have ear hair! I'm getting old!

Next on the agenda is probably something to do with the prostate, "male itch" (if you know what I mean)and a walker!

So, I'm getting old all at once. Just yesterday I was a carefree and life loving 38 year old youth. Today, I'm a broken down, blind, gray, hairy-eared, life loving, 38 year old semi-senior citizen.