On the rocks
Saturday I was invited over to a coworker’s house for a little Veteran’s Day barbecue. He’s an older cat, three kids, the whole deal. He and one of the other sergeants in our unit are both former drill sergeants, airborne and all that, so they’re pretty close. I’m just the guy who keeps ’em all in stitches, so I’m always included, even though I’m just a dirty leg (i.e. not airborne).
I came around dinner time. The sun was still around, behind the nearby houses. It had taken to autumn in the past couple of days, breaking from the high 80s we had at the end of the week and actually getting into jacket weather.
On the menu were fajitas, rice and beans–home cooked, mind you, none of that store-bought crap. I helped my host with the meat while we waited for our admin friend to show up.
Both guys were having tricky times with their families. My host started explaining his story to me as we let in the evening. Basically there were some cheating episodes by him in the past and old hurts were were finally starting to break things apart. You could tell things were tense in the house, among the wife and kids. Still, everybody was polite and courteous, no outright fights or anything.
We had been trying to call our missing party member, but no luck with his phone. He arrived alone after we had finished eating, talking about how his wife had snapped is cell phone in half, and how he barely escaped a bludgeoning from a furniture leg by the woman.
He was having quite a time with his family too. This one was on him, as he was openly pursuing an old flame, and was working to ship his current wife back to Germany. He told us the stories, laughing it up, and gave a few chuckles myself…
…But it still floors me how flippant most soldiers are about the fidelity thing. Officers, enlisted, civilians–everybody is always getting with everybody, married, single, with kids, whatever. It’s a sexual free-for-all.
I was having another conversation with that cat I met at our laundry building a few days ago, talking about using personal sites to try to meet people outside of the military ring.
“It’s just so toxic around here,” he said. “My first wife was a crazy bitch and was just looking to get someone to knock her up so she’d have some money coming in. She just had twins with the guy she has now. That poor bastard doesn’t know what he has on his hands.”
And it’s true, it’s a big joke when someone talks about how their current interest is from some obscure town, “Had to get one that wasn’t poisoned!” people say. Even the towns near military posts are notorious for gold diggers, clingers, and overall damaged and crazy relationships–men and women, now, I’m not singling out any one gender, I just have more experience with looking for lady-types.
“Everyone’s having marriage problems,” my Veteran’s Day host said as we drank some Crown on the porch after dinner. He rattled seven or eight names of people we worked with who were getting divorced. “I’m going to stick with mine, though–see what happens.”
“F*ck that,” our admin friend said. “I’ve got mine a flight already. She’s out in January.”
I just hope he fares better than my old drill sergeant did. He was having trouble too and three weeks after I graduated basic training, his wife shot him.
Makes you want to become a monk.