Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Rare Break From All of That

So right now there is a scheduled power outage in the building where I work, so I am on what's basically a forced break.

I ain't complaining. This is the first time I've left my office before 8 p.m., and it feels awesome.

There are many good and bad aspects of what I do, which I'll get into with future entries, but one thing that sort of sucks is that there isn't any time built in anywhere for relaxing, unless that comes at the direct expense of time spent sleeping.

I wake up every day at 0445 to go PT. That usually involves a 40-50 minute 'run-walk' on the treadmill at the base gym. I then squeeze in a set or two of weights before hurrying back to my half-CONEX box of a home and then a shower and shave before breakfast. After breakfast, I'm at my desk anywhere from 0700 to 0800 (lately it's been closer to the latter) ready to work.

And then it starts. I jokingly refer to 'it' as "The Night of the Living Dead" because I picture all the hands reaching up from the ground grabbing at me. As a principal Officer on a staff section, there are lots of meetings to attend, pre-meetings to attend beforehand, meetings about meetings, and sometimes even post-meeting meetings. Then there are all the random 'pop-up' targets throughout the day that suck time away. There are drop-ins. There are phone calls. There are inquiries. Being on a staff means answering a lot of RFIs (Requests for Information). This process basically continues until somewhere roughly around 2100, at which point I realize I'm exhausted and head back to try to get some sleep before starting over the next day.

The couple of times that I've gotten off base so far have been great not only because they've broadened my horizons and knowledge of Kabul, but also because they've snapped me out of the 'Groundhog Day' effect of being here. If I were able to get away more, I would. The other thing I wish I could do more is really think about everything going on, rather than just react to the proverbial alligators closest to the canoe.

Thankfully, all that will change soon. It's a long story that I won't get into (no, really, that one I mean) but while we were at Fort Hood my boss got 'sacked' because of an alleged something-or-other. As a result, I'm now doing what I used to do as well as what he used to do. The Army is bringing in a Field Grade replacement (a Lieutenant Colonel, in fact) soon, so I'll be freed up from nearly all of the interminable meetings that populate our 'battle rhythm.'

I might even get to be a vampire.

What that would mean is that I'd work an overnight shift where all the daytime distractions would be gone. I could actually have time to think. Either that, or I'd be freed up to do more of the liaison work that I love with all of our other American and international parters here.

Daydreaming about that is what gets me through the endless days now.

1 comment:

C R Krieger said...

Yes, flying combat was better than that.  But, a word of warning.  A LTC may not be a worker, but if he does meetings he is a plus for you.

On the other hand, when I was on the Lt Col's list I had to brief a visiting two-star I had known when I was a Captain and he was a Colonel and he mentioned my promotion and I said that the bad part was that I liked being a "worker".  He assured me I would still do a lot of work.

Good luck out there.

Regards  —  Cliff