Now that Osama is dead the biggest question is: who has taken his place as America’s greatest threat?
Apparently? It’s me.
Ever since those, now infamous, Navy SEALs stormed that mansion in Pakistan and took out the most wanted man in the world, the television has been flooded with military programming: covert military operations, how they got Saddam, taking out the Somali pirates, etc, etc, etc. My favorite? The “training program” shows, particularly the Navy SEAL BUDs program.
Some of you are probably thinking, “Ooh, yeah, watch a bunch of tough, sexy, hard-core dudes do a bunch of tough, sexy, hard-core stuff, yum-mee” and while I suppose that has a certain appeal, that is not even close to the best thing about this show.
The best thing? Watching the instructor/drill sergeant/guys-with-the-mustaches-and-way-too-short-shorts-and-jacked-up-legs yell at the BUDs trainees. These guys go through hell. They even have a whole week named after it. To start the day off good and proper, they run into the ocean fully clothed – boots and all – get soaking wet and roll around in the sand. They paddle around in rafts and get pounded by waves. They run up and down sand hills lugging a 150 pound log and then for shits and giggles, lift Old Misery, a 450 pound log, over their head. They lay in 56 degree surf. They swim a mile in 56 degree surf. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Naturally, the trainees are going to feel a little sore/tired/ hurt/like death at some point during the day. But if they say this to one of the instructor/drill sergeant/guys-with-the-mustaches-and-way-too-short-shorts-and-jacked-up-legs and expect sympathy? For. Get. It.
Trainee: My back hurts
Instructor/drill sergeant/guy-with-the-mustache-and-way-too-short-shorts-and-jacked-up-legs: Oh really? Your back hurts? What do you want me to do about it? What would your Mommy do? Would she rub your shoulders?
Half-way through the mile swim in 56 degree water one of the guys is in the beginning stages of hypothermia. They drag him on the boat, throw a towel over him and place an aluminum shower cap on his bald head. This guy looks around trying to figure out where the hell he is. He doesn’t know his head from a hole in the ground. Time to test just how far gone he is.
Instructor/drill sergeant/guy-with-the-mustache-and-way-too-short-shorts-and-jacked-up-legs: What’s six times three?
Instructor/drill sergeant/guy-with-the-mustache-and-way-too-short-shorts-and-jacked-up-legs: Good job genius.
This type of “sympathy” goes on all day, and It. Is. Funny.
At least I thought so. However, I never once saw the Navy SEAL BUDs trainees laughing, and as it turns out, it is not I who would have the last laugh. Cause as they say, payback’s a bitch.
The husband and I are in “Larryville” to visit J, P and C for P’s birthday and to see the in-laws (we are also celebrating the M-I-L’s birthday. guess what I got her? a chicken coop. shh. don’t tell her; it’s a surprise.) Apparently the husband and I think gas grows on trees and decided to take two cars. He left in the morning to play golf with the F-I-L, during which I’m sure they engaged in very stimulating conversation: “you’re breaking your wrist, keep your elbow in, take a smaller back swing, did you see my new driver? Ooh, can I try it? don’t use that club; here try my three-wood hybrid.” Riveting.
I left later in the day because I love work.
I pulled into the “Larryville Navy Base” at approximately 10:00 p.m.
Yes, Navy Base. The F-I-L is retired military and they are here with friends who are active military (I think) and so we are staying at these little cottages on base. The husband tells me to pull up to the gate and say, “I am here for a pass,” and that I will be instructed to pull into the parking lot and wait for the husband and the F-I-L to come and do whatever it is they need to do to give me clearance.
That was what was supposed to happen.
Here’s what actually happened.
I pull onto the base and am instantly nervous. This is the U.S. military. They don’t screw around.
The check-in resembles the drive-through at the bank. There are two green lights indicating those lanes are open and one red light indicating if you choose this lane, you will be shot. I choose the open lane on the far left because it has men in uniform standing there looking official.
I pull up and roll down my window and do as the husband instructed. “I’m here for a pass.”
Guard: Do you have a military i.d.?
Me: No. My father-in-law does. He’s coming. He told me to wait here.
I say “father-in-law” like this gives me all the clearance I need. As if they’ll say, “oh your father-in-law? Well come on through little lady.”
Guard: Yeah, I can’t let you through.
Me: Oh, I’m sorry, you probably know him as the father-in-law. From my blog. Look, he’s right here.
I hold up my phone and show him my blog page.
Guard: Ma’am, I can’t let you through. You’ll have to wait here for him to come get you.
Me: Yeah, yeah, that’s fine. I’ll wait. Isn’t that what I said?
Guard: Ma’am, go wait in that parking lot over there.
Me: Over there?
Guard: Yeah, follow the barricade.
I start to drive. The parking lot is to my right. There are some barricades. And more barricades.
There’s no way to get into the parking lot. The barricades continue straight ahead. I follow the barricades. I think I’m going too far.
I stop. I look in my rear-view. No one with guns is chasing me.
The barricades veer to the right. Up a road. Or is it a sidewalk? Road? Sidewalk? ROAD? SIDEWALK? ROAD? SIDEWALK? I DON’T KNOW!
I stop. No one with guns is chasing me.
I go straight, past the barricades. I get to a light. I know I have gone too far! What do I do?! I’m not supposed to be here! I’m illegally driving on a military base! I haven’t consulted the Larryville Navy Base manual or anything, but I am pretty sure this is really really bad.
I wait at the light.
No one is coming.
My heart is pounding.
I turn right. I hope I see barricades, a parking lot. But no.
I keep driving. There’s nowhere to pull off! No place to turn around!
I call the husband at the same time he is calling me.
He is in the car with the F-I-L and the F-I-L’s friend, the active military guy (AMG). The husband saw me at the light when I turned. He said to the F-I-L and the AMG, “there’s K, she’s turning.”
The F-I-L: No way. There’s no way she could have gotten through.
The husband: That’s definitely her.
The F-I-L and AMG exchange a look.
AMG: Call her and tell her to stop; tell her not to go any further!
The husband calls.
Me: I WENT TOO FAR! I WENT TOO FAR! I’M HAVING A PANIC ATTACK! THEY’RE GOING TO COME AFTER ME.
The husband (trying to be reassuring): It’s okay (it totally was not okay, I just blew through military security y’all), pull over and stop driving. Stay where you are.
I stay. I am talking to the husband. My good friend Anxiety sits next to me in the passenger seat.
A car pulls up.
Navy guy: WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHY DIDN’T YOU PULL IN THE PARKING LOT LIKE HE SAID?
Me: BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’M GOING!
Navy guy: MAKE A U-TURN RIGHT NOW AND GO BACK! TURN OFF YOUR PHONE FIRST AND GO BACK! TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!
Me: I HAVE PLANTAR FACIITIS!
Navy guy: TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!! RAWWWRRRR!
Navy guy: MAKE A U-TURN!
Navy guy: RIGHT HERE!
Navy guy: YES!!
Navy guy: YES!!
Me: In the grass?
Navy guy: YES!!!!
Clearly this guy didn’t go to The King’s Academy or he would know doing anything other than look at grass is a cardinal sin. It is permanently ingrained into the very core of my being to never even walk on grass, and this guy wants me to drive on it?
Me: Um, sir, if I could just show you the TKA manual here, you will see that I –
Navy guy: TURN THIS CAR AROUND RIGHT NOW OR I WILL –
Me: Alright, alright. Relax.
Allow me to say that that’s not exactly how the conversation went. That’s pretty much how it went on Navy guy’s end, but I wasn’t quite so sassy. In fact, I wasn’t sassy at all. I was scared out of my freaking mind. If I wasn’t such a lady I would have doo-dooed in my pants. I am not, however, exaggerating, when I say I asked him multiple times if he wanted me to U-turn in the grass. And may I just say? That grass looked terrible. I always thought King’s was a little extreme with their Stay Off The Grass Laws, but the Navy could stand to take a page from their book.
I U-turned on the grass, got to the end of the road and flipped on my left-turn signal. I’m not sure if the Navy has jurisdiction on giving you tickets for turn-light violations, but this guy clearly didn’t get enough MRE’s today, so I wasn’t taking any chances.
You know how I’ve told you that me driving at night is sometimes a very bad thing. Well me driving at night after being yelled at by the military and in the throes of a full blown panic attack apparently causes my mind to just stop working. I turned left and thought I was suddenly in Japan. Which is to say, I started driving on the left hand side of the road. Technically I was driving in the middle of three lanes, but I wasn’t sure if that lane belonged to me or to the on-coming traffic to my left. I started to straddle the middle and right lane, weaved back and forth a bit, and finally realized I was probably giving off the impression, to the Navy guy following me, that I was drunk.
If I could make a recommendation to anyone blowing by security on a military base, causing a military officer to hop in a vehicle to chase you and tell you four times to make a U-turn on the grass, it would be to act As Sober As Possible.
Thankfully he did not pull me over for suspected drunk driving and I made to the safety of the husband, the F-I-L and the AMG.
The husband: Are you okay?
Me: No! That guy was mean!
The F-I-L could tell I was upset and offered to drive my car. Being the AWESOME guy he is, he tried to make me feel better by putting on a one-man play. He got in the driver’s seat, put the key in the ignition, yanked on the steering wheel and was all, “how does this thing work? Is there a special trick to it? I flew fighter jets but I can’t work this tiny Corolla. K, you’re smart, can you show me what to do?”
Oh, it’s one of those audience participation shows.
I hopped in the driver’s seat, put the correct key in the ignition, and turned on the car.
The F-I-L’s play did the trick. I felt much better.
That was six hours ago. It is now four in the morning. Everyone else is asleep. The cabin is quiet save the rhythmic tap, tap, tap of my typing. Even as I write these final sentences I know that I am being watched. The cabin is surrounded with armed rifle-men. Waiting. Ready. For me to make One. Wrong. Move.
If I may say one final thing, our military - Navy, Navy SEALs, Air Force, Army, Marines, Coast Guard, and anyone I may have left out - are amazing. Yes, I thought the Navy guy was mean, but I'm pretty sure your don't catch terrorists by being nice. I was probably the smallest, most non-threatening "terrorist" they've ever caught, but they were just doing their job. So mad props and respect to all of them. And also? I was just kidding about the Larryville Navy Base grass. It's not terrible. It's lovely. Sincerely, it is.
And one more thing, I wasn't disrespectfully laughing at the BUDs trainees, it was more laughing-because-I-can't-comprehend-anyone-being-able-to-withstand-the-insanity-of-this-training-program-and-also-be-mocked-and-yelled-at.