I've been enjoying having a standard schedule, but I ended up going on various convoy missions today, instead of my planned quiet day. Se la vie.
I was bemused, but not terribly surprised to discover that the vehicle I was in had neither a headset nor a seat for the turrent gunner, forcing me to stand all day in the turrent. (Fortunately, it did have both tunes and AC.) I was forced to sacrifice one type of security for another today, since I was more at risk if hit by IED, but had more visibility to deal with other threats.
As we rolled out, The World I Know was playing from the MP3 player. The world I know is full of bitterness, hate, and strife. It is also filled with soft caresses, love, and beauty.
I hate to sound cold, but this country is full of people who are both ignorant AND stupid. People here will walk across, into, or even down the road, in traffic that would make a New York cabbie cry, often without even looking first. I yelled at a woman today who was about to walk in front of my HMMWV today without looking. Downtown. On what may be the busiest road in the country. Without looking. She probably would have lived, but the man who almost rode his bike in front of us a little later (my yell stopped him, as well) would not have. Amazing.
I saw my first accident in country today too, which is a miracle considering how these people drive. Wasn't even a serious accident. They say something like "God protects fools and drunks." Well, I don't believe in God, but I believe in fools.
In the United States, one common garment worn in warm weather to cover a concealed handgun is the "photographer's vest". Wearing these has become cliche' enough that some folks humorously refer to them as "shoot me" vests, since the observant among the criminal element have probably learned that the wearer is a potential threat, and should therefore be addressed first.
Afghans wear a lot of clothing, and I can't say I understand. It's very common, and even typical, to see these folks in HOT weather wearing their traditional baggy shirt and pants, a vest, and often a shemaugh scarf and sometimes even a "sleep shawl" (light blanket) wrapped around them! Well, the photographer's vest appears to be well liked here, to the extent that it has been accepted as an "Afghan" garment. There are almost as many photographer's vests are there are the older traditional style. It does make some sense, as the baggy pants the men wear aren't really equipped to carry much without falling off.
I saw a Hind attack helicopter today, falling slowly apart next to a disintegrating attack bomber and a rusting cargo plane, all sad remnants of a crumbling empire. I had always thought of the Hind as cumbersome and bulky, but at close range, I could see it is sleeker and smaller than I'd always thought. How have the mighty fallen...