|My adventures in America have been a blur, if you know what I mean. First, I must say that ID Card Lady was taken care of. Not by me, but my colonel, who tore her a new arse. I did write a scathing review on the Q&A.
Sammy, the guy who always laughs, and I parted Wisconsin to meet with our Illinois friends a couple days ago. On the way here, I realized why it’s never a good idea to drive through Chicago. Drivers nearly rear-ended me and clipped me and I think they all flipped me off. Back in Iraq, we shot a car for getting too close to a convoy. Here, my only defense mechanism is a rude glare or the finger.
Snow was on the ground, the roads were slick and MY WINSHIELD WIPER FLUID doesn’t work, so I had minimal visibility. We eventually arrived to Springfield, Ill., which I am convinced is the hidden setting of The Simpsons because there is a Shellbyville Lake not too far away. Anyway, we met up with the other members of NCO Alley… We’d been a part for just a day and we all missed each other. The guys put their wives on hold and requested just one more night with the people they’d spent a year in combat with.
We hit the bars, Hooters and a few other places. We tried not to tell people we’d been in Iraq for a year, because of the damned questions we get asked… “did you fire your weapon? Did you kill anybody? Were you by bombs” For as much as I loved serving my country, I just wish people would just leave us alone. It’s one thing to write about it or share intimate details with a close friend or family member. It’s another thing to be questioned by total strangers.
Tonight, four members of NCO Alley will hit the Springfield bars one more time and go our own ways. We’ve already established a date at which we’d get together every year. The date we chose was September 27, the day Samir (our interpreter) was killed. Although his name never made a single headline here or in Iraq, he’ll always hold a special place in our hearts. It seems just like yesterday I was meeting Samir, but in reality, it was a year ago. And now I am a civilian again… it’s weird.