there are certain things in life that you cannot grow accustomed to. think of stubbing your toe: you could do it every day for the rest of your life and still not get used to the pain. the army stubs your brain weekly, and the dull throb of your aching morale echos in your mind for at least 12 hours. here is a list of things that, after almost 8 years in uniform, i have not gotten used to:
1 - waking up regularly before 4 am. i get out of bed currently at 315 am, and snarl and curse at myself for a solid half hour. i am a morning person. i can honestly say that in my entire life, i have never hit the snooze button. getting up that early isnt the problem, it's the fact that my brain simply does not start up for at least 15 minutes. i often find myself standing in my dark room trying to figure out where i am, and wondering why i'm standing in a dark room.
2 - everyone who outranks me being my boss. it doesnt matter where you go or what you're doing, there is always someone there to keep you in line. i think i will forever be paranoid about doing little things wrong. example: every time i step outside, i always reach for my cover (in the civilian world: "hat."). when i do not find it, i freak out for 1/10th of a second, then laugh at myself.
3 - being away from home. time passes slowly, and you have ZERO escape. i can't hop into my car and go for a drive, nor can i relax with a cold beer after a 16-hour shift. my cell phone has no reception here and really cant pick out clothes to wear. adding all of those things together really tend to fry your brain.
4 - constant changes to the most mundane things. if you think that where you hang your workout clothes in your closet in relation to your polo shirts isn't a big deal, it would be if you were in the army. though i havent really encountered too much of this particular brand of nonsense since basic training, the small changes to things that dont matter are everywhere, and always quite annoying.
5 - the smell of burning feces. this is not meant as a joke (ok, it kind of is). everywhere you go in iraq, you are bound to smell lots of excrement. the overpowering stench of other peoples bodily waste leaves quite the imprint on your brain. think about the worst-smelling public restroom youve ever visited. now magnify that times 10 and make the smell EVERYWHERE. you cant hide from it here. indoors, outdoors, you name it.
this is just a list off the top of my head. i'm sure i could identify 5 more, but really dont feel like thinking that hard at the moment. now i have to start thinking about bed since i have to be up at 315 again tomorrow. pity me!