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31 Aug


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42 Years.

18 Aug

Yesterday I got on a Black Hawk helicopter piloted by what very well might have been the oldest pilot in uniform on that given day. It was for his final flight. After 42 years of service (!!), at age 62, he retired. He’d been in since Vietnam, had spent thousands and thousands of hours in the air. He met his wife after Vietnam and his daughter said all she’s ever known is her father as a helicopter pilot. The only reason he retired is because the Army said he had too.

I wonder if I’ve ever loved doing something so much that I would want to do it for 42 years. I can’t even begin to imagine what four decades must feel like, having not even lived through three yet. Sure, things changed to keep things interesting, and yes, flying helicopters is super bad ass and it’s probably really hard to get tired of doing something so fucking awesome, but still.

This pilot had another job, his civilian job doing something totally different from the flying he does for the National Guard, but still. To keep the uniform on for that long, to keep serving, to keep learning and training – it’s amazing to me. I’m awed and inspired.

I try to relate it to my own life, and I can’t. There’s nothing I can think of, short of rolling in a field with puppies, that I would want to do for 42 years.

I love and enjoy my job. It’s challenging. It’s fun. I get to see and do some really wonderful and amazing things. But could I do it forever?

It makes me wonder if attention spans are shorter than they used to be. I mean, why not? We’ve got the internet now. I don’t need to focus. I need to multi-task and flit back and forth and do 16 things at once because I’m got the internet, man. I wonder, when I’m 62, if I’ll know someone who’s done something, one great amazing thing, for 42 years. Better yet, I wonder if it’ll be me. I wonder if, after serving my first decade in the Army, I’ll just keep going. I like it. It’s not for everyone. It’s a special sort of crazy, but  I like it.

Is there anything you could do for 42 years?

Five reasons this just might have been the best weekend of summer

9 Aug

1. Laughing so hard with new friends that my abs start hurting. The internet rocks the hardest when it brings hilarious, down to Earth people into your life that you can enjoy beers with. True story. On Friday, Andrew and I dined with StaceyParadise & Co. at Legend Brewing Company, a local Richmond brewery with the best view in the city. I shit you not, after the rain drove us inside the restaurant, I seriously laughed so hard that my abs started hurting. Laughing that hard is absolutely the best way to start a great weekend.

2. Torturing the dogs with baths after they’d woken us up early by licking our toes and clicking their little dog claws on the hardwood floors. We usually wash the dogs in the bathtub. I’m not sure why. It’s a stupid plan and it always results in yelling and requires us to towel off the walls. So Saturday we took the dogs outside, sprayed them with the water hose, laughed our asses off at their sad little dog faces, lathered them up, rinsed them off and let them shake off outside. It was a success. There was much less yelling.

3. Showing off my city to an awesome old friend and her husband. Alverna came to visit last year on her way down to the beaches of North Carolina. It was a quick trip and she didn’t get a chance to see much of the city. This time around, she had a bit more time so Andrew and I played tour guide and showed off this city of ours. We drove around, hitting all sorts of historic spots and showed off our most famous cemetery, Hollywood, where 18,000 Confederate dead are buried.

4. Margaritas so delicious that I just had to have two. Tequila is a good, good, good thing.

5. Free popcorn that tasted even better because it was free. There’s this gas station Andrew and I always stop at to get gas on the way home from Army adventures that sells little boxes of fresh popcorn for 50¢. I walked up to pay for it on Sunday and the cashier told me to just take it, free of charge.

The friendship that was & how Facebook is kind of a prick-face.

20 Jul

In high school, I had a best friend. We met in gym class, sitting on the bleachers on my first day at a new school. I was feeling sorry for myself because, as it turns out, no matter how many times you move around as a kid, making new friends is never easy. She was behind me with a group of old friends she’d grown up with when they invited me to join in their conversation. I was relieved. From there, it took off. We were instant best friends. We spent hours on the phone. We were alike and different. We’d smoke Marlboro Reds in her room after her parents went to bed and bitched about parents and high school and boys and hurt and the weight of the world. We held each other up when things got bad and tried, like hell, to save each others lives.

I moved an hour away, made new friends, but nothing replaced her. You can have more than one best friend, you know.

I moved to Richmond for college and she visited and every month I’d visit her up in Northern Virginia. We’d stay up talking until 3 in the morning when I had to be up at 6.

She was the maid of honor at my first wedding.

I deployed. During my two-week leave I spent a full week with her. We caught up on everything and even though we hadn’t seen each other for 10 months, everything went right back to normal and it was perfect.

Then I came home, expecting things to be the same, and they weren’t. We got to together a full five months after my return and it just wasn’t right. Things had changed. Something was different.

She posted a note on MySpace, said sometimes she just “dropped people.” A week later her account was gone and the only connection I had left to her vanished. Poof. The end. I was unbelievably hurt. Still am, it seems.

It’s a strange thing, losing a best friend after eight years. It hurts for obvious reasons like how I didn’t do anything to provoke an end, other than deploy to a fucking hazardous duty location for a year where I wore combat boots and carried a gun all day, every day. And then, there’s other stuff. Like how, at the age of 24, and still at 26, it’s impossible to find a best friend. Everyone is paired up.

See, I’m not good with girls, really. I’m not a girl’s kind of girl, it seems. I’m a bit rough around the edges, I drop the f-bomb far too often for the liking of lots of delicate lady ears and I’m kind of a loudmouth once you get to know me. I’d rather spend time shooting the shit under some camo netting with a group of infantrymen than spend a day at the spa. And I don’t want babies and I didn’t change my last name and that, right there, is enough to scare off a whole batch of well-meaning ladies (and men) who think I need saving or who don’t respect my personal choices despite my deep respect for theirs. Sure, I’ve got girl friends, and I love them all dearly, but sure enough, they’re paired up already.

Periodically, I’ll look her up on Facebook. Or google her. Just to see. I never expect anything to turn up. Nothing has for the past two years. And then today, on a random whim, I checked Facebook. I typed in her name and it auto-populated her right in there because, don’t you know? We’ve got 3 mutual friends.Thanks Facebook. You’re a gigantic asshole of douche-face proportions, did you know that?

So the question is, now what? Do I shoot her a friend request? Or not? What if she ignores the damn thing? What if she doesn’t? If she approves it, do I say anything? Or should I just let it go?

5 Super Powers I wish I had that would make my life infinitely easier, better & badass-er

13 Jul

1. Dog Whispherishness. Because dammit, SadieDog does not listen to me no matter what I tell her when she’s outside and no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot get her to learn how to shake, even though Luke, the WonderMutt, figured it out in about six minutes. Plus, the dogs, being of the HuskyMutt persuasion, think it’s hilarious to pull when they’re getting walked and it would just make my life so much easier and less stressful and would make me generally less stabby if I could whisper at the dogs all Cesar Milan-like and make them chill the fuck out. Also, the couch? Why do they have to play on the damn couch? All the damn time. And why do they insist on only playing inside the house? We have a yard! A big yard with lots of room to RUN and JUMP and PLAY, but no, those little jerks prefer the couch. And the fur. If I could whisper to their fur and tell it to stay on their little dog bodies, that’d be really, really great.

2. Flight. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I’ve always wanted the ability to fly. When I was a kid, all my dreams were about flying. I’d dream about flying across the playground, amazing all the little snot-nosed brats below with my new-found super power. I’d dream about flying across the countryside, flying to far away places, flying across oceans, flying to the tippy tops of the tallest skyscrapers. And still today, every now and then, when I dream, I dream about flying.

3. Super speed. Think of all the shit I could accomplish? If I could just hit the fast forward button (but not like in the movie Click because that was sad and it just doesn’t feel right when I cry at Adam Sandler movies) and move in some sort of super speed, the house would never be dirty. The dogs would always be freshly bathed. My multi-tasking would know no limits and I could spend a whole lot more of my time resting and playing and laughing and spending time with the Mutts and Andrew. I’d use it solely for those lame, boring and dumb (but totally necessary) tasks like house cleaning and grocery shopping and garden weeding.

4. Cloak of Invisibility. (Yes, it’s not really a super power that I would have but a super power that a thing of mine would have. Let’s just pretend it makes sense, okay?) Every now and then I get all mischievous feeling and all I want to do is jump out from behind places and scare people. Also, Harry Potter is the shit. Just in case you didn’t know and so, for those two reasons alone, I think having a cloak of invisibility stuffed into my cargo pocket would be incredibly useful. Plus there’s all sorts of changes going on at my office lately and it’d be sort of awesome to sneak into a few meetings and figure out what’s really going on. Oh, and since I’m kind of a fan of conspiracy theories (just a little bit) I’d do all sorts of sneaking around and secret spy shit because if you’ve got a cloak of invisibility, you’ve pretty much got to do some spy shit. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to have a cloak of invisibility and not wander around and do secret spy shit.

5. Telepathy. Just a little bit. I wouldn’t want to get too bogged down with thoughts and feelings of everyone around me, but it’d be nice to use a touch of telepathy when I’m in uncomfortable situations and don’t completely grasp someone’s intentions or mood. Plus, and this is corny and cute and vomit-inducing, but I’d really like to be able to communicate with Andrew (who I sometimes call HuggleSnapandFish because I’m crazy like that and also because why not?) with telepathy because then instead of just exchanging looks and thinking we know what the other one is thinking we could really, really know what the other is thinking and then could send thoughts back and forth during awkward situations instead of having to rehash it all later and ultimately it would save a lot of time and we’d able to take the dogs for more walks, so really, everyone wins.