These twelve to fourteen hour patrols offer plenty of time to think. Normally I spend this time in completely undirected musing, daydreams, and mind-wanderings. I have, however, made an effort of late to meditate on particular subjects, to try to explore notions less aimlessly. I fail mostly. And even when I manage to lengthen my attention span a little, the meditation tends not to be very fruitful. What few interesting notions I come up with usually are spurred by either some kind of input or sometimes just spontaneous inspiration (which is akin to divine favor). So that sucks.
Anyway, I was thinking one day about my natural cynicism and my default reluctance to do anything. Because there is a strange thing I have noticed: I enjoy things a lot more than I think I will. Often I will not really feel like listening to a particular album, but I'll put it on for lack of anything better, and end up enjoying it quite a bit. It's the same with reading, video games, movies, bowling, eating, pretty much everything.
I refer to the disparity between how much I expect to enjoy something and how much I actually end up enjoying it as my spiritual inertia, and since inertia is a property of mass, the conclusion I have come to is that: my soul is fat.
To remedy this situation, I'm putting my soul on a healthier diet, and an exercise regimen. I'm not exactly sure what these entail exactly, but here's what I've come up with so far:
- No more (spiritual) junk food. I suppose this means less exposure to rampant consumerism, and more resistance to my own consumerist impulses.
- More veggies. I hardly ever read any kind of nonfiction that's longer than a magazine article, and even many of those I lose interest in halfway through.
- Variety. When I can get the chance I'd like to listen to more classical music, more jazz and blues. Maybe I will even give rap a chance. Not country, though. That stuff just sucks.
- Exercise. I think exhaustively contemplating one subject at a time is a good start, but I also want to generally start assenting to more, to overcome my natural reluctances and just do more stuff.
So, I suppose that's my New Year's resolution. But only because it happened to occur to me this time of year. I mean, it's just as arbitrary a day to start stuff as any other day, right? And if you're going to improve yourself, why not start immediately?
January 1 came and went mostly uneventfully over here. On New Year's Eve, we finally got our two beers and shot of Bacardi as per the Commanding General's Operation White Hoof, which we were first promised sometime in early November, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. I sold mine for Poker money.
The next morning, as I smoked my first cigarette of the year, I noticed a rainbow hugging close to the midmorning sun and I tried to imagine an impossibly high wall of water tearing across the Earth, destroying indiscriminately, killing thousands upon thousands, extinguishing all those tiny lives like candles. I wondered if the tsunami could be seen from space, and I wondered how many of those people went to Hell. I tried to distinguish as many individual colors as I could and it occurred to me how empty God's promise to Noah really was. If you think about it, an omnipotent being promising not to destroy the world in one particular way is akin to a man with an arsenal at his disposal promising not to kill you with one particular weapon: meaningless and absurd.
Every time I hear mention of this event I am filled with fresh amazement, disbelief, and horror. Catastrophe on this scale really serves to put stuff into perspective.
I (again) got caught making poopy when we took incoming a couple of days ago and I could actually hear the mortar round whistling as it hurtled toward me, but I couldn't manage to work up any strong feelings about it. I considered the physics of a mortar round for a while, imagined the simple and clean parabola, full with latent violence, connecting us with the enemy in a fourth dimensional kind of way. In the context of a world that will wreak so much death on a whim, us trying to kill each other a handful at a time just seems silly, like children bickering over some trinket.
I wiped my ass as if in a dream, went inside for cover and dozed off to the Eels' Daisies of the Galaxy, punctuated by the bass-drum thumping of our return fire, thinking about our mortarmen retracing the insurgents' parabolas with outgoing, and dreamed an insane dream about cutting my chest open to look at my heart.