Requiem. This is the last time that I am going to have to do this, a certain air of resignation clouds around me to taint pulling into Australia for the second time. Long way home from where I was before, from the first trip to Japan and the innocence that I assume has somehow been lost. Either the experience has changed who I am or I have altered who I am to fit the environment around me. Beyond all of four hours to midnight and the rest of my life, another unwritten day will dawn. What lies ahead is more than simple redemption or some intangible complex change gone through once and then discarded. It is life, it is freedom and more than that it is mine to with what I please. The inherent randomness of reality will provide some measure of entertainment, or at least that is the wish as of the moment. Need not worry about this sort of thing.
Looking back in a sort of brief retrospective on the three cruises I find it a little difficult to separate the significant from the mundane. In a way there is no distinction between the three as a complete whole, the some of the parts run together and form one very altering experience. Traveling back over the old paths as the ship slows into the first moments of a twelve-hour transit into Sydney harbor for a view on perspective, a voyeuristic peek in on the future and the past. A return to my old self where I am not forced to confine to the dictate of the occasional idiot dictated to lead the collective of enlisted subalterns around by the nose. (Not all of them are idiots, just a significant fraction of their numbers.) I remember childhood and growing up in the shadows of the two largest national labs in the country. I remember Edward Teller's vengeful glee when Star Wars (or more officially the Strategic Defense Initiative,) first started, the menacing shadows of the Wen Ho Lee trial exposing a world of physics gone slightly awry when mixed with patriotism and politic. I remember filling the pages of the Creepy Green Book on my second cruise, recording in careful detail the overwhelming apathy and hatred toward the system that has now waned into something a sort of trite cynical respect.
The vignettes, the way I write. There was a question asked of me by someone that I work with as to why I write why I do and where the style comes from. These memories circle around and I have got to share them with something lest I wind up like Rutger Hauer at the end of 'Bladerunner:' "All of these moments, will be lost." I keep trying to convey the twenty-minute walk from Sagamino train station to Atsugi Naval Air Facility, the sense of coming home and the smells of Japan, without failing to do the perception on this side of the screen justice. This is the most difficult task, to allow anyone and everyone to walk in my boots (as they are battered, worn brown through the black dye and the right one stitched with thin green nylon thread to close a two inch hole,) for a mile. There are so many people that I want you to know, so many minutes lost to history that I cannot resurrect.

Just to have my senses back fully again after being beaten so dull over the sand, better than running about like an idiot grunting at the wires every now and again. (This is the point at which Guy would tell me that I am selling myself short for a very good reason that only he could explain.) Really, I suppose that I am but in reality any well-trained monkey not currently hammering out Shakespeare on a typewriter in a room full of other monkeys could do this. It came to me the other day that it is not that a monkey or horde of monkeys for that matter could do my job, it is just that I understand it that well that I can afford to denigrate it to that level. Guy, as usual, is right and I don't even have to talk to him. The competition to be the best, to be the motherfucker of all motherfucking technicians has exacted a fair penance in the process. One of the most crushing moments that I have ever endured was the opinion of one of my Chief's who knew and worked with Guy telling me that I was better than he ever was. The seconding of someone who was friends with him, (Chief no like Guy, for the Guy hath made much mirth at the expense of the Chief,) that it was true. It has been six years on the job. They keep telling me here that I can fix anything, that they would have never had to call a tech rep for the IFF gripe had I been here instead of the tech that I replaced in the Gulf. More than anything else I had an axe to grind when I came here, I wanted to prove that I was worth what They Were Saying When I Was Not Supposed to be Listening. This was supposed to be a trial and now I find that it was more of a trip to traffic court. It was supposed to be harder than this, it was supposed to be the end. It turned out to be significantly more than I could have covered the tab for if the bartender had decided to serve notice. This job does however take a certain amount of madness to do it with the fervor that I have and here there is absolutely no use in denying that to any degree. Droll gallows humor for what essentially is the winding seconds before the executioner finishes fiddling with the ropes and the fates are finally sealed. Hell of a difference between now and then, between the first day I walked into MEPS with a head full of idealism and the adult cynic. So hard to find that child now, finding the hours passed and the paces taken along the way.
In a way the undermining ambivalence in the background is something that I am wholly consumed with. The notion that I am actively attempting to avoid making a decision isn't a factor I think, not so much as say the need to accept the one that was already made. What and where are laid out and it solely up to a pair of slightly hesitant hands to put them finally right. Just under six months ago I was bouncing in the opposite direction toward a future that if I did not understand then at a bare minimum I feared. The fear is gone now yes, leaving behind a cautious apprehension about acting without thinking. To jump without looking to press forward on faith alone has advantages, however it also holds the certainly large drawback of being a dumb idea. To hell with it, not worth expending too much energy trying to discern which of the thousand paths is the right one. Trying to give the system the benefit of the doubt in the end simply leads to being shafted more often and more efficiently. If someone is going to do something irrational then it might as well be me. This also provides a worry in that if people like Guy had not given me the benefit of the doubt I would never have survived this long or something of that nature. Having come full circle this last time I will pick it up and head to this amorphous 'home' I keep trying to find. The end seems so far off sometimes yet the minutes and hours pass just so quickly, now as they will short moments from the end of it all. Finished, done, complete, this is what I am and what I have done. I survived at least. Just so quiet here on the other side.