Lost in the Desert

It's like 'dessert,' but with one 's,' because it sucks.

six foot skinny

six foot skinny
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
December 31
Dad in Chief
The Man
Six Foot Skinny is a veteran of the war in Iraq who now lives in St. Paul with The Dane and The Dude.


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APRIL 25, 2009 7:30AM

Starbucks in the desert. Really?

Rate: 13 Flag

It is flat.  And hot.  And windy.  The only living thing I have seen in two weeks other than scores of Soldiers and Marines are sparrows.  And flies.  There was a tree, way out in the middle of the desert, and it had a fence around it.  One tree.  Fifteen feet of fence.  It was tragically funny and proud at the same time.  This is my tree dammit, and I am going to protect it.

It is an oppressive kind of heat that brings with it a fine, granular coating of grit that dries your eyes and accumulates in your ears and makes pudding crunchy.  All the fun of the beach without all that annoying water. Too hot to smoke, almost.  Yes, it’s a dry heat. Really though, at more than one hundred and ten degrees or so it doesn’t much matter anymore so don’t try to console me with that fact.  Especially don’t try to console me with that fact if you are in Minnesota and the high today is sixty-five.  Sixty-five glorious degrees and I am sure the trees are budding and the lawns are greening.  

We do have air conditioning, which is different than last time.  I’m not sure it’s a positive though.  At the heat of the day, it is not a good thing to have to endure a twenty to thirty degree change in temperature just to get to the porta-john.  Oh, lest I forget.  We have Starbucks.  That’s where I am right now.  That’s where the best internet is.   Starbucks and KFC and Burger King and Taco Bell in the middle of the Kuwaiti desert.  This will be a different war than last time.  

I suppose this is meant to make it easier to be away for so long.  They give you a lot of creature comforts like fast food and high speed wireless internet so that it’s more like home.  The reality, in my mind, is that it makes it harder.  Just ask the folks we left behind that have to go through normal life with all things familiar except that one person that makes home Home.  Last time, we had nothing.  I think it might have been easier that way.  We were in an alien environment with only the occasional perfume-scented letter to remind us of what we were without.  Now we have things that are almost like home.  Just enough to remind you of what you’re missing.  Like clothes in a closet that won’t be worn for another year or that depression on the other side of the bed.

We make fun though.  We make fun of each other, and of our situation.  Of other people.  I follow the porta-john graffiti the way I used to read blogs at work.  Mostly garden variety high-school locker room crap but there are some gems out there.  Not suitable for a high-class establishment like this, but good for a chuckle here and there.  We work out.  Mostly we fight against boredom and homesickness and wait to move north.  

“North” has become the euphemism here.  No one says the obvious.  They all say, “When you get North.”  So we wait, again.  This time we wait to go north, to the sandbox, to the suck (no one actually says that anymore), to the war. 

 To Iraq.  

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Greeting from Kuwait, Open Salon! Still waiting on a more reliable internet connection, but doing my best to work the muse mojo through the heat.


Hang tough in there, big guy. It is spring and the morels are ready to pop here. In another sign of re-birth, AMO and I are headed to Prom tomorrow night. I'll be thinking of you while I watch all those kids working on their night moves. Thanks for your work and your words.
I am glad to hear you are safe. I wondered what was going on. It sounds pretty hot there so go with a iced coffee drink!
rated for being there and sharing
Do you need a shipment of any of the great novels you never (or since 03) had time to read? Escaping into a different time , a different place might help in these months you "have to serve". you are in our thoughts and prayers many times daily and we follow your thoughts and scribbles and treasure them. love minorm
Mang! Keep up the good work and try to stay away from the sand filled gortitas.
Great post- well written and gave me a little chill at the end. Rated.
Wow, Starbucks is everywhere. I remember hearing about the BK at the base in Sarajevo when I was over there. Wild. And yea, it is too close and yet too far to being like home.

Thanks for posting. Stay safe out there.
we miss hearing from you! It's been 6 weeks. We want to know how you are and your thoughts about what's going on around you and your observations: little things , conversations with your buddies and others, the dust, the weathers...describe, describe please