I’ve taken to counting Sundays. Well, I guess I don’t count them, but do notice them when they pass.
Sundays are seafood days at the dining facility – a good a marker as any. Every Sunday, when I walk in to get my fried shrimp and scallops to go, I say to myself, “Wow, Sunday again? Another week gone. Nice.”
The ritual is completed when I get to the office.
The captain in the office (who, incidentally, bears the same mental lapses as a veteran glue huffer) will ask me, “They have seafood today.”
“What else they have?”
“Shrimp, scallops, crab legs, and t-bone steak.” (The Sunday menu never changes.)
“I don’t like seafood.”
“My mom always…”
And she’ll go through her story, like she does every week, without fail. Florida. Mom liked it. Dad didn’t. Forced to eat…. All very dramatic stuff.
All that to mark the passing of another calendar cycle. Like the ratcheting of a lever on a great, spinning gear. We watch it climb from the groove and slide along the gear tooth for six days, before falling with the great “clunk” that is Sunday. There! Another notch achieved. Can’t reverse it. It’s locked in. One week closer to going home.
Every day here is the same – save for seafood day. The tired joke is that deployment is Groundhog Day – “You know? Like that movie with Bill Murray!”
“Yeah, yeah. Bill Murray. I remember that one. Funny.”
“He’d wake up and every day was the same. It’s like here.”
“Yeah, got it. ‘Groundhog Day.’ Funny.”
So when you have established something like a seafood ritual, it’s easy to look back and see nothing but seafood rituals. In fact, I can recollect about eight or nice rituals – the days the scallops were over done, the days they had crab bites instead.
Eight or nine? Hell, that’s two months. Boom! Ha ha! Gone. Over and done with. That many closer to home – well, Fort Hood, Texas – as much as that’s home.
Surprisingly, not having weekends or breaks in work helps. Normal work weeks are like heart palpitations – you go for five days, have some sort of hiccup where you break into another rhythm, then are jolted back to the patter-patter of the march.
I’m going to need a complete re-education as to what a weekend is, and what I’m supposed to do. It’ll take some getting used to, but I think I’ll get it eventually.