November 1, 2004
of the Day:
TAKES ITS TOLL. PLEASE HAVE EXACT CHANGE."
I woke up. But I wished I hadn’t.
just so happens that I had to cover a meeting in Washington
DC. What did this mean? A VERY early departure time, in my Bravos
(tan long sleeve shirt, tie, green trousers, black plastic shoes),
and sitting in traffic. In other words, the exact opposite of
what I wanted to do today.
had to leave crazy early and even so, I got caught in traffic
as I entered downtown. I had to go to the Navy Annex and I was
stop and go for hours. It was almost comical since my body was
screaming at me for what I had done to it yesterday and for
some reason, call it being punchy, I was not irate but rather
amused at my situation.
I got to the Annex, I had to go through security. I had been
through this process once before and last time, it didn’t
matter that I was in uniform. I was treated like a weak sister
and even chastised for only having one piece of identification
(I made sure to bring two this time, as counseled.).
my surprise, I was treated well by the civilian guards. Maybe
it was the difference between cammies (last time) and the dressier
uniform this time. But they saw me come in, took a cursory look
at my ID (calling me “Sir” very politely)
and handed me a badge right away as though they had started
it the second I walked in the door.
lady said I could go through and I didn’t even have to
go through the metal detector as the next guard just opened
the little door for me. It was weird and I felt more special
than I should have under the circumstances. Too bad I was walking
like the Tin Man, though, as a result of my condition.
was there for a meeting and basically had to give an update
of our program. We had been funded by these people and they
wanted a status report on our program to make sure they were
getting their money’s worth.
gave my short update and it was very low stress all around.
As they went around the table, I noticed that everyone who spoke
seemed to defer to the man at the end who I ascertained was
the boss. It didn’t matter to me since I didn’t
know any of them and I was just there to brief.
when the meeting started, someone asked him how he did in the
marathon. He tried to minimize the fact that he too ran the
marathon and I felt a certain bond with him that can only be
shared among people who had suffered the same race. All these
people were treating him like “The Boss” and I knew
I had a different “in” with him, as though my status
as a fellow marathoner was above the roles we had in the meeting
room. The marathon was the great leveler.
the meeting, I cornered him and we talked for a few minutes
about the marathon. I had beat him by a few minutes but that
didn’t matter; we were both feeling the after-effects.
we talked in the hall, about 3 full bird Colonels came up at
different times and I was introduced. Now I’m not intimidated
by rank but in my state, it was a bit disarming to get introduced
time and time again to Colonels. They were all in Bravos also
and this happened to be the first day of the uniform changover.
So everyone was uncomfortable going from the open neck of the
Charlies to the long-sleeve and tie of the Bravos. I noticed
all the necks of the Colonels were chafed and that they didn’t
bother wearing either shirt-stays or ribbons.
was ready to get out of the Navy Annex, away from the meetings,
and away from the Colonels. At least I could sit in traffic
going back to the office.
a parting shot, I asked my fellow marathoner if I could ask
him something. “What time will you be going home today?”
I got meetings all day so it will be a normal working day.”
I was hoping this man of position would feel as I did: desiring
to take off a little early since my body was severely upset
at the events of the last 24 hours.
the time I got back to Quantico, I was convinced that it was
a very good idea for me to go home. I had been up early for
this meeting, spent several hours on the road, suffered immeasurably
through a meeting in an uncomfortable uniform, and my body was
going downhill fast. I didn’t care about the rewards,
albeit limited, of hobbling around the office while people knew
it was a result of a marathon.
went in to talk to my boss and I was hoping, really hoping,
he would just send me home. I briefed him on how the meeting
went and afterwards, when it would have been the perfect time
to cut me loose, he said nothing.
started to walk away and then realized I really had to say something.
how about and early birthday present?”
smiled slightly and responded “What’s that?”
about you let me go home a couple hours early. I’m hurting
looked at me and it was almost like he knew I had wanted this
from the start but wanted to see if I’d asked. Well, I
asked and he agreed. Then, for good measure, he says to me,
look swollen. Your face if puffy.”
he really knows how to compliment a guy. I knew I wasn’t
feeling all that good and I knew I needed some rest, but I didn’t
expect him to comment on my face. I looked in the mirror and
I didn’t see it which meant he was either seeing things
or I was missing something. Neither explanation made me feel
drove home in a daze. All I could think about was getting into
bed and the warm ride home didn’t help things.
then something weird happened. You know when you are so tired
that you are not sleepy? I got some crazy second wind when I
got home and as celebration for all the training, I invited
my wife to lunch at the Olive Garden. I think I had earned it
and I wasn’t about to watch what I ate after what I had
been through the day before.
had a good lunch but there was no third wind. When I got home,
I hit the bed at mach 2, telling my wife to check my pulse every
later I awoke and felt like a new man. I was so tired that I
ate dinner later on and went to sleep without as much as a hesitation
before I fell asleep. My body was soaking up rest like a sponge.
big, swollen, puffy sponge.