Chapter 2: Really, I am all that and a bag chips! No? Damn.

Is this really what I signed up for? Where are my flannel pajamas and fluffy socks? I miss Seinfeld and eating popcorn right before falling asleep. Instead, I am dancing around in a circle after taking a shower, in my bra and underwear, telling my Drill Instructor that I have "No new injuries to report at this time" (except my pride, which was pretty injured).  Trust me, I would rather be at home watching Elaine Bennis determine if a man was sponge-worthy or not. But no, instead I was enlisted as the laundry recruit.
Laundry. Hmm.
Up until Boot Camp, I had never done a load of laundry. I knew that Maytag made the washer simply because the commercial came on during Seinfeld. I had a laundry fairy growing up. I know, her name was Mom, but still, when I threw my dirty clothes in a pile, they came back clean. Now I would stand in the back of the squad bay staring at a pile of dirty clothes that belonged to perfect strangers. What was worse is that these "strangers" would leave their, let's just say, used feminine products, attached to their garments. Nastiness.  My recruiter never told me about this but I assumed that karma was behind this.
It amazed me what was considered important during Boot Camp. The Drill Instructor would flip out if we couldn't find our stupid ATM card. Seriously, Fort Sill National Bank lost our money more than we lost our ATM cards, but we were punished harder than the bank was, and they were governed by the FDIC. We were governed only by the UCMJ or the sand pit, mostly the sand pit.
The night ritual was unbelievable. After snapping your head back in forth until you had whiplash counting out loud your "number", you finally got to close your weary eyes...until it was your turn for fire watch, also known as laundry.
Our identity was just ripped from us. I was Cox, laundry recruit,  number "8" in the Squad bay, bag nasty; you name it, I was it. It's amazing how under pressure you forget how to count though. You would think with Bert and Ernie on my face I could snap my head and yell "8" at the same time. Nope, I was just special. Instead, I was thinking, "C is for cookie" since I was hungry because you can only eat so much Turkey a la King or veal. Ugh. But luckily I wasn't special like those who had red lines spray painted onto their sweats to let everyone know if they were overweight, underfed or pasty white. Nope, I just had BCG's, a fro and big ears. Oh, and sand flea bites everywhere. Even in places where you wouldn't think sand fleas would bite. And yes, it was embarrassing to scratch there. I figured you were wondering.
The women of my boot camp series with came from all over the US and were unique in their own way. It was the first time that I met people from different backgrounds, yet felt like they were my family. Yep, you guessed it, we were dysfunctional.
We didn't like the scribe. Okay, maybe I didn't like the scribe. She was a good person, but you always felt like she was out to get you. You see, she was in charge of the fire watch schedule and I seemed to have it a lot. Instead of being negative, I always thought that maybe I was stuck on fire watch because I did the laundry well. But I did have it a lot. Of all people, white girl with the fro and BCG's needed her beauty rest, but instead, all I got was a face full of acne from not sleeping much. Great. One more item to add to my list of awesomeness. I was a walking, oops, I'm sorry, marching mess. How did I ever get a date?
The weeks flew by in Boot Camp. It started to feel like second nature. All you had to do was follow directions and do what you were told. I was great at that.
One night, a fellow recruit had a seizure. I wanted to jump ship and get a change of scenery, so I volunteered to accompany her to the hospital. Who would have though that a ride in an ambulance would be like heaven? This.Girl.Here. Until they forgot about me. I followed orders so well that I waited in the waiting room until mid-morning. I was starving and stayed up the whole night. Not one person had asked me why I was there. I just sat there watching CNN the whole night. Wow. This is how it feels to be home without a date. I guess that acne and fro kept the typical ER creeps away. Nice.
I finally got the courage to ask the person at the first desk if she knew what I should be doing. She looked at me in disgust (again, the hair and BCG combo was pretty bad) and said, "The Depot forgot about you." Wow. Now I was unforgettable.


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