Saturday, March 20, 2010

Flush with Possibilities

My wife and I take Nigel—on the weekend’s Nigel and Jacari—to the Franklin & Marshall gym with us. The boys play basketball at one of the courts while we run on the upper level track. The track is just over 1/7th mile so we do 20 laps for a 3-mile run and see the kids shooting baskets at the south end of every lap.

Two weeks ago I was running with my wife in the college gym. At lap 10 I told Annalisa I would be turning off at the bathroom on the next lap. I said it in an apologetic way, just because I was slowing us down. She smiled and said, “I’m not disappointed in you but Scott would be.” She was referring to Scott Perry, our battalion commander, who trained himself to use the room with porcelain furniture just three times a day.

If I could ever meet that standard, it has not been in the last 30 years. It made me think about how competitive the smallest details of life in the military can be and how much I thought about trips to the latrine whenever I was in field training or going on a flight.

So I would get up and go to breakfast at least an hour or two before I really needed to get up, because I did not want to be the guy who was praying for the Black Hawk to land or the Humvee to stop because all his bathroom business was not done before the flight. Because every plan needs a contingency plan, I always had an empty 20oz Gatorade bottle with me on flights or convoy training. I never actually used it, but I felt better knowing it was in my right cargo pocket or in my backpack if I needed it.