Worlds & Time

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Leavetakings

Last night I went to dinner at my brother's house. My brother's roommate cooked, and there were a lot of people there.

My mother, my father, Makoena and I all drove down together. My brother's roommates were both there, as were both of their significant others. Marge stopped by after work, and Piper's father stopped by as well. That's eleven people, if I'm counting correctly, and two dogs.

Today my brother is driving toward California, and tomorrow (Wednesday) he'll check in at the base in San Diego. Within a few days they'll fly on a charted commercial airliner to Kuwait (usually by way of Germany) and then wait for a flight into Iraq proper.

So last night was the last time I got to see him before he ships out for Iraq.

Last time, my brother was so horribly overqualified for grunt work that they assigned him to something called Force or perhaps FORCE and his job was to drive around the city at night and break down people's doors and search their homes.

This time apparently he's going to be a sniper. He's a darn fine shot with a gun, even though he really hadn't handled one with any regularity until he joined the military. I do remember playing GoldenEye on the N64 with him back in the day, and he was an unreal shot in that game. I lost to him 99% of the time, and that last 1% happened between the time that I memorized the layout of every level and before he managed the same thing.

He's an inspiring person to watch playing a strategy game. I tend to be extremely focused on my own personal situation in video games and I don't focus on winning until after I've maxed everything else out. I tend to play on the easiest difficulty on games like Civilization and Alpha Centauri (and nearly everything else). I'd much rather be city planning than leading troops (although I suck at Sim City, bizarrely).

My brother is action oriented. He leads his troops, doesn't emotionally connect to individuals, and focuses on achieving the goals of the scenario.

Back in the day I would occasionally watch him play games like Shogun: Total War for hours. I don't have to play myself, and I don't get bored either. I simply watch my little brother's actions, and try to understand the bigger picture of the impact of the battle and why he's making the decisions that he's making.

If I ever engage in territorial dispute, I'd choose my brother to be the general of my forces.

When we were driving back home, my mother spent the entire hour crying. She tends to be a wreck when my brother leaves, and apparently this isn't going to be an exception. We tried to point out that as a sniper, my little brother will be defended by an entire team of well trained marines who's entire mission will be to protect him, but she can't find consolation that being a sniper isn't all that most dangerous that an accountant.

I get pissed off at this miserableness. I don't really understand why completely. After all, I worry about my little brother too, and I don't like thinking about it.

I think that when I see my mother in shambles, leaving the porch light on as a vigil and avoiding news, it reminds me of my brother. I can put it out of my head as long as I don't see her moping around the house and worrying to the point where she's physically self-destructive.

I get angry at her when she's like this. In the car last night I wanted to slap her and yell "Don't you think you should be strong for him?" or "He needs support right now, and crying isn't f***ing helping him." Really though, it's about me. The crying isn't helping me.

The problem is that there isn't anything that we can do to help him. We can't keep him home unless we shoot him in the leg ourselves and apparently we couldn't bring ourselves to do that to him. He won't see us anyway, so she doesn't have to be stoic for him. She can do whatever she wants, and she wants to spend all of her time crying.

So he's off to Iraq.

Last time I asked him to keep a journal, and he didn't. We got a few letters from him, which was nice, but I did buy him a really nice journal and a couple of pens before he left. He said he'll probably write more this time, and I hope he does.

One last quick aside about him, he reads when he's in Iraq. He takes Proust and Nietzsche with him, and we ship him Aristotle and all sorts of other classic works that I couldn't sludge through even if I was stranded in the Iraqi desert. I've tried, and I think the two most classic works that I've read are Catcher in the Rye and the 1001 Nights. He's a much better person than I am, and it's why someday I hope to make him President.

I'm thinking of my own leavetaking, of a sorts. I'm thinking of taking a break from online (and television). I've already been avoiding IIDB due to Stiletto's suicide, and I haven't been to CF at all this month. I don't have any formal requirements to check in at WritingForums.org, and so I could just disappear for a week. I've been thinking about it for a month or so, and it seems like a decent idea.

Oddly, taking a break from television and internet during the day would probably mean that I'd be posting here at (Myspace/Blog depending on where you're reading this) more often.

If you're reading this at the Worlds & Time blog, you may have noticed that I already added a whole slew of new buttons at the bottom of each post. If you feel like it, you should think about hitting one of those buttons occasionally. I wouldn't mind the attention. I know I act sort of shocked when someone reads my blog, but it's actually a good feeling to see that someone is paying attention. I'm thinking of slicing up an image that's not me and putting it up as my profile picture to get the sort of attention that I know that Derrick was getting (although I think that was actually him).

I'm also thinking of trying to start up a weekly feature of my fiction writing. I've been considering journal entries by Jonathan, but I think that might be too confusing unless I start his own blog, and even then there are a lot of choices that I have to make. What stage of his life is the blog from, and is he here in our time or in whatever time period I choose in the future? It wouldn't really help me unless it was in the future, and posting it online would defeat the purpose of trying to get my book published.

The other option is 'Lex and 'Lia, the adorable tormented kids living in a vampire/wereperson/witchcraft novel. I just bought the Anita Blake series but I haven't started on them yet, so that would probably fit in with my frame of reference for the next few weeks.

I'm obviously leaning toward the Lex and Lia stories. I don't know what the format will be yet, so I'll certainly have to consider that. I also want to finish the hard sci-fi short that I've been working on first. So, keep a watch for something.

In the meantime, no one else do any leaving. I want promises from all of you.

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1 Comments:

  • I tend to be extremely focused on my own personal situation in video games and I don't focus on winning until after I've maxed everything else out.

    I'm the same.

    I'm also thinking of trying to start up a weekly feature of my fiction writing.

    Yes yes yes! I am out here and I am listening and I want to read.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 10:55 AM  

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