Last summer the family traveled to San Antonio for Michael's graduation from basic training. On the road, I made a few short notes on the theory I would flesh them out later. It is now "later". The original notes are in bold, and the flesh hangs loosely beneath them.
Why the females took my attention
A healthy percentage of the trainees are female. Whenever I saw a group of them, I had to stop and stare. My attention was drawn mainly to their faces. It seemed they were all just so damned attractive. (But not in THAT way. It was all in the healthy and wholesome way.) I was asking myself what made these young women grab my attention. What made them so much more remarkable that their sisters who were out infesting the malls and clubs? Then I figured it out...
No makeup. Hair drawn back. Heads held up and eyes forward. I COULD ACTUALLY SEE THEIR FACES.
During one of the events, we were informed that if we needed to use the bathroom, we would be directed to a specified bathroom facility in the barracks. Sure enough, being an old man with a small bladder, I had to pee. So I entered the door. At each landing of the stairway was a trainee directing me to the next segment of my journey and ready to respond to my smallest question or need. I was impressed.
Then I arrived at The Head. As soon as I entered, I saw that every urinal (and sink) was numbered with a sticker like those used to mark room numbers on doors. Only in the military....
Military order and chain of command vs. them damned civilians
A number of the events we attended required large numbers of civilians to organize themselves, whether to settle into a venue or to move from one place to another. Every time, it was chaos, confusion and frustration. How many times does someone have to hear the words 'excuse me' and have someone squeeze past before it dawns on him that he is standing in the middle of the path, and he should move his ugly ass to the side?
I compare this to the trainees and their cohorts. When they did something, it was ordered and precise. And if one of them ever did park his ass in the way, he (or she) was bludgeoned with the club of common sense in short order. How refreshing.
The critical mass of teenage girls
On the flight home, the plane hit rough weather coming out of Denver. It wasn't bad at all, but that didn't prevent the teenage girls around me from squealing and screaming. (It was a Lacrosse team traveling home to Oakland, CA.) Why all the histrionics, I wondered. If it was one teenage girl, she would have been silent - or maybe let out one short squeak of alarm. If two or three had been sitting together, there would have been a few such squeaks or squeals, followed by embarrassed giggles. But when you have thirty of them sprinkled about the aft section of a 737, you have achieved critical mass. The inhibitions associated with being in the minority go away, and their hormone fueled alarm is given full voice.
The beer bottle on the hill
I have no recollection of what this note refers to. But I will let it stand. It seems so "zen".