In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I'm more sensitive

There’s nothing more annoying in this world than a girl talking to her friend in a coffee shop when you’re trying to write. This girl whom I’ll call Betsy Talksalot has a white streak in her reddish, blond hair. She kind of looks like a skunk, but she’s cute and could even be hot if she just didn’t talk. Her legs are toned, eyes blue and her skin appears to be soft with a few freckles on her cheeks. Just looking at her, I’d rate her an 8 out of 10. But then she talks. With one sentence lasting roughly two or three minutes, her stock drops to about a 4.

Betsy Talksalot, “Oh, when Steve and I first got together, I couldn’t believe the color in his apartment. I mean, who mixes red and blue. That’s why when we bought our house, I made sure he didn’t pick anything out. Oh, that reminds me. Did I ever tell you about that cute guy at Home Depot? Oh, he smiled at me when I was picking out colors. Steve wasn’t there, so I flirted a little. It was a lot of fun. Anyway, when we painted the bedroom… blah, blah, blah, blah.”

Betsy not only talked a lot, she also talked very loud. But her friend, whom I’ll call Samantha Sponge, just absorbed every bit of her friends annoying rants. Ms. Sponge was rather large, and no doubt has endured countless of these one-sided conversations from Ms. Talksalot. As Betsy rants, Ms. Sponge knows when to say “Yeah” or “Uh, huh” or “no”, but she never really says more than “you’ve got to be kidding.” I’m only listening because they’re louder than the dang radio, playing elevator music! But, I guess it’s good training for me. You see, I don’t have much tolerance for stupid conversations. There was a time that I would have interrupted Ms. Talksalot and said “Excuse me. Excuse me. Yeah, would you mind taking that white streak of yours and moving somewhere else? Your voice is like Martha Stuarts at a sentence hearing. And since there is no reward for me to endure your stupid conversation, I’m going to have to ask you to move before you drive me crazy. Thank you.”

In college, my friends always worried that I would piss somebody off. One time, this girl turned my friend down, so I walked up to her and said, “hey, I’ve seen you naked.” No doubt shocked by the introduction, she simply said, “no, you must have me mistaken for somebody else.” “No, that guy over there. Yeah, you slept with him once. He’s my roommate and I saw you naked last week.” Still shocked, she said “No, I’m sorry. You must be mistaken.” This is where I get ugly, to the point at which I am now ashamed. “Nope, I’d never forget a nose like that.” She gasped and then searched for guys to beat me up. My friends have countless stories like that, but not anymore. I’m a changed man.

Now, it’s like the old me is buried underneath a wall of sensitivity and I am more patient. I find myself actually listening to people when they talk, even if the conversation isn’t with me. I guess you could say that Iraq made me more appreciative of people’s feelings. In addition, in Iraq, you had to always listen to soldiers talking just in case they were violating operational security. Many times, Joes will brag about a future operation. They could say too much in a place where they shouldn’t, so somebody needs to correct them if they do. Nonetheless, I’m not in Iraq anymore but I’m still listening.

That’s why I just sit there and listen, even in the most annoying situations.

Ms. Talksalot, “When Steve proposed to me, I felt a tingling sensation all thru my body. I knew he was the one for me from the moment I saw him. I love him so much.”

Ms. Sponge, “Honey, that’s so sweet. I’m so happy for you.”

I was happy for her too, because she was quiet for two minutes after she said that. And I didn’t say one word to her.

49 Comments:

At 6:59 PM, Blogger FVK said...

Awe man...don't become too sensative, I really liked your "college-Sminklemeyer" story. Funny stuff!

 
At 11:29 PM, Blogger strykeraunt said...

This stuff totally cracks me up :D :D Thank you for making my day!!

 
At 5:59 AM, Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...

Well, I am sure you were suffering in the coffeeshop, but you always have to think of those less fortunate than yourself...poor Steve.

 
At 6:37 AM, Blogger Kim said...

LOL! Great post...

 
At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Jim in WA said...

Two words - Poor Steve.

 
At 8:39 AM, Anonymous singlemominmississippi said...

As we say here down south about POOR STEVE.. Bless his heart.. LOL

 
At 1:49 PM, Blogger remoteman said...

"Poor Steve" is going to be thanking his lucky stars when he finds out his wife is getting harpooned by the guy at Home Depot. Short term pain, long term gain.

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger Baley said...

Dude - you must be back in Wisconsin! Welcom home.

 
At 8:10 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

You just keep listening, you never know what you might hear.

 
At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey due, your stuff on iraq was interesting. now you're becoming a bore. move on.

 
At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey shithead if you don't like his writing, don't read it. but don't start calling him a bore. if he wants to write, than by god, he can fucking write. and we'll read it, too.

 
At 4:00 AM, Blogger strykeraunt said...

Anonymous #1, a part of deploying to Iraq is the redeployment and readjustment. You may find stories about coming home a little boring, but some of us see it as important and even interesting. I actually like how he switches in and out of Iraq. In reality if you find his stuff boring it would be more logical if you moved on...since this is smink's blog rather than your's.

 
At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Sammy said...

Anonymous 1,

Tell ya what. You join the army, get deployed to a place like Iraq, do active duty time there getting shot at, mortared, RPG'd, and IED'd.

Do a year of that and then after the structure of active duty is gone when you get home, after you actually lost people you knew in combat, after you no longer have, as far as you know, anyone TRYING to kill you simply because you are an American soldier regardless of rank, come back here to the States and try to "fit in" again. And do so overnight.

I think you'll find it difficult. And we were there not quite a year. Imagine what the guys in WW2 and Korea who were drafted before Pearl Harbor or before the Commies went across the 38th Parallel and weren't able to get home until those respective conflicts were over went through.

Fred is now just taking his everyday experiences with other people and comparing them to active duty life over there. And he's sharing them in this manner.

And I can relate.

SSG J
139TH MPAD
OIF 2 vet
stationed in Mosul from Feb 2004 until Jan 2005

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger Amber Lynn said...

Moral of the story, Anonymous (had to look that up for correct spelling!):

Never pick on an American Soldier. Your ass will be handed to you.

 
At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. raw nerve touched, i see. it's interesting to grasp that free speech is still a concept that you americans haven't yet quite got the hang of it. i used to live in dallas, nice town. land of the free, etc. always used to wonder what would happen if some lefty inclined students wanted to get their point of view over in the valley view mall food court. they'd have been handed their asses for sure, as your previous correspondent put it. to what ends? who has handed me my ass? some clown with a pc on the other side of the world? think of the poor gi's in iraq who will certainly have been handed their asses on a plate while i am writing this and before you even read it. think about it. their bleeding asses in body bags while you armchair warriors talk tough. you don't know what handing someone their ass means. take another slurp of your thick shake, fatso.

this is the deal sminklemeyer. you are in the same boat as a lot of successful 70 or 80 year olds who when asked what was the defining moment of their lives
was ..... reply that it was six months in 1944 when they were rangers in normandy or whatever. get over it. move on. or in your case since the american fuck up in iraq is work in progress, go back there and do another stint.
you sound like a decent guy who played a small albeit worthwhile part in the theatre that is the middle east in 2005. it will still be there next year. it is sad that your supporters are in the peanut gallery ..probably in mid western dairy queens....with such knee jerk reactions. it's a shame you haven't managed to pull better quality readers into your blog. they sound like retardant teenagers. probably lie in bed watching mtv while playing with their bb guns. put them behind you dude. they will drag you down.
certainly hold you back. you don't need or want the plaudits of the lambs.
time for another duvel. that's an adult budweiser for those who don't know.

 
At 2:42 PM, Anonymous "pool" Q said...

Trolls Beware I got my new an improved huntin license with no limit! Damn the luck. So ya can jest takeyer sorry arses offen this here site before i git out these new holler-points proven to be armor piercing.... but in yer case that would just be the left or right cheek since yer all just a buncha glorified exit doors framed with soft tissue. not much of a challenge.....pity. AS ALWAYS.............WE LOVE YOU SMINKIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 5:06 AM, Blogger Toni said...

Smink - that was a very humorous story. It's interesting though how you change thru defining events in your life. You gave me a good smile (and a laugh or two) reading the posting.

 
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Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

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Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
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Strange day or what? :-)

 
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