Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Can't I Just Not Think About It, Please?

I'm sending a box of goodies to the Big Cuter's college-and-beyond roommate.  He's a first lieutenant in the Army National Guard, which up until the last decade (I shiver when I remember how long it's been) used to mean helping out in hurricanes and riots.... used to mean that your biggest foe was a college girl sticking a flower in the end of your rifle...... used to be you were called in to help your neighbor instead of being deployed for a year at a time to fight our wars, alongside regular army recruits.  Our first looey knew what he was getting into when he enlisted in General Lee's Army, but now he is in Iraq, riding shotgun on convoys through the desert, and  I worry about him night and day.  I know it does no good but I am doing it all the same.

Filling the box has been an interesting experience.  I have to find things which are individually packaged, which won't melt or get crushed in the shipping, and which actually will be useful.  Today, my shopping spree took me to the Vitamin Warehouse, on a search for protein and whey powders and other nutritional supplements.  It seems that when they are not protecting loads of canned goods and toiletries on the trip between bases, they are in the gym, lifting weights.  They requested supplements, so supplements they will receive.  Sitting at the counter behind the register was a 9 year old girl with long straight hair who listened to my story about night time convoys and sleepy soldiers with a most serious expression on her face.  She didn't know what IED stood for, and she wasn't that amused when I described it.  She suggested a product called "Happy Camper" since it's what she takes when she's cranky.  The grown-ups suggested whey powder and blueberry flavored drink enhancements, and they threw in a plastic mixing container and some other samples, too.  They wanted to do something, after all.

And I started to think about Nance's lament over at Mature Landscaping:

I find myself wondering lately whether it is better to keep recalling the sorrow of the spill or to do my best to think about it less frequently.
Will I be of the most use when I force myself to keep the Gulf in view?  And, if I can't go there to clean the beaches and volunteer right now, how can I be of use?
Am I accomplishing anything by keeping this front and center in my brain?  The rest of the country seems to have moved on from Iraq. We are barely thinking about Afghanistan.  There is nothing that I can do to affect the outcome of the situation or to force a change in the politics of it all.  I tried.  I elected a Democrat who was going to fix things.  And still the kids are dying.  I listen to political candidates without opinions on the subject and wonder why in the world this wonderful young man is guarding supplies in a country most Americans can't locate on a map.

Yet I need to "be of use" - so I send snacks.


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