Quote of the Day: “A diplomat… is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.”
- Caskie Stinnett
Today starts a tough week.
Because my First Sergeant is going on leave and you know what that means: the training wheels are off and I’m here to drive this Company bike. I still have my Gunny but it’s a little shaky to be without my senior SNCO this early in the game.
But Gunny is great. Great but you have to be careful. You ask for an elephant in jest, you’ll show up the next day with a pacaderm in your office and calls from Ringling Brothers asking WTF?!
Case in point, I said “Gunny, can you get me a fan?”
You see, it’s miserably hot in my office and I didn’t want to drag the fan I have blowing on me all night from my room, hauling it across the parade deck every morning and night. So I asked, thinking there were some around the Battalion.
Within 10 minutes, there was a fan.
A few days later, I’m walking across the way and through the Battalion spaces. I struck up a conversation with the S4 Gunny and noticed she had her window open right next to her but was still sweating like the rest of us most of the time.
“Gunny, you should get a fan in here.”
“I had one, Sir, a few days ago but I don’t know where it went.”
Careful what you ask for, Grose, careful what you ask for.
I told her she could have the fan back but she wouldn’t take it. I asked her how in the world I could even remotely enjoy the moving air in my office knowing where the fan came from.
I decided to take care of the housing office situation I talked about yesterday and drove to 32nd Street.
Coming up to the gate, I was stopped by the civilian security guard, the pompous ass. He was busting out of his “uniform” (I use that term loosely which is more than I can say about his shirt) and I could see through the cheap netting of his baseball cap that he had a Mohawk. A MOHAWK!!! The fat tub had to be in his 40s or 50s, showed no sign of actually being any kind of Native American, and was wearing a figgin’ Mohawk. Unbelievable.
He stops me and says “You can’t come on base. Your sticker is expired.”
“Yeah, I know, I just got here and…” (the whole time he was shaking his head no,) “… and I have an appointment with the housing office in 10 minutes.”
“Nope, you’re going to have to get a pass.”
“What? Look, you can see I have a sticker that JUST expired which I am getting fixed within the next couple of days. I am a Captain in uniform and I have this Armed Forces Identification Card which you’ll notice, is NOT expired.”
“No, can’t let you on. You’ll have to get a pass.”
“Look, obviously I am new or I wouldn’t be going to HOUSING. I have not had a chance to get my sticker fixed. There’s no way I can…”
“OK, write me the pass.”
“I can’t. You’ll have to go to the off base security office. You’ll have to go there, turn around, go left at the light. After you go ½ a mile, you take a right and then a sharp left. Pass the train tracks and you’ll see….” (I won’t go through the entire explanation because 1. I don’t remember and 2. I can assure you it was as intricate as the human genome.)
I was so irate I could have killed this guy with my bare hands.
I sped off really REALLY pissed off but I had an ace in the hole. Yesterday after I followed the Yellow Brick Road to get around the construction, I discovered that at the other end of the base near the PX, there was another entrance.
I zoomed over there and made the best attempt I could. I chose a young-looking guard (in the same cap but sans the Mohawk and maximum density Sta-Puff Marshmallow look to his shirt) and pulled up with my ID card sticking out the window, hoping to distract him.
Damn, he gave me the hand out slowdown move. What if Fat Mohawk jackass called over and warned him?
“Sir, your sticker is expired.”
“Oh, yeah, I know. I just moved here. Look, I have an appointment with housing in 10 minutes that I can’t miss. I promise I will get the sticker fixed today but I have to get on.”
He looked around nervously.
“When is your appointment?”
I looked at my watch, not sure if he was going to buy what I was making up. I didn’t EXACTLY have an APPOINTMENT but was supposed to stop by today.
“OK, look, I’m not supposed to let you on without a current sticker but I can look the other way this one time.”
I was on and it felt like I was the biggest fugitive the Earth had ever seen. But I thought, hey, I’m an active duty Captain. I really am. I am not some terrorist and I think that with a just-expired sticker, a uniform, a current identification card… let’s infuse some common sense in here. What would I being doing here if I didn’t belong here? I knew it, the guards knew it, but no common sense required when the gate guard duties are civilianized.
Once I got to the Housing Office, I parked and went in. After filling out some initial paperwork, I got nervous because I had stupidly parked my car with the front facing the main road. I ran out and parked it near the back where you couldn’t see the sticker. I was taking no chances, at least no more than I already had.
The appointment went as I expected. They used the same database that I found on my own and since I had already scoured it and was using it, the only thing I got is some advice about the different areas. I got my name on the list and finished up the appointment.
As I was leaving, I thought, which gate should I go out?
On the one hand, I could play it safe and go out the back gate and bypass fatass Mohawk. But it was out of the way and my ego couldn’t hack slithering away out the back.
So I went out the front and the thought crossed my mind, I could roll down the window, yell, and flip him the bird laughing. But I was in uniform and anyway, I had already pushed my luck and broken more than a few rules so I let it go.
But I did see Mohawk there. And bit my tongue as I passed back out of the gate.
Epilogue: why was my sticker expired?
Because it was.
Why hadn’t I fixed it until now?
Because somehow, the registration was missing. I am militant about putting the registration and proof of insurance in my car so you can imagine the ire when I took all my paperwork into the MPs (which fall under me, hello new Company Commander) and had an old, expired proof of insurance and NO registration.
I had driven from Seattle Washington to San Diego California without two of the three documents I needed if pulled over. And I drove like an insane moron the whole time.
I could claim luck but I’ll go with “dumbass.”
Free Advice for Today: “Give a trusted auto technician all your repairs, not just the tough ones.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.