Monthly Archives: August 2011
Yesterday, I drove up to Rainbow Falls, where my BF and I sometimes go offroading, to visit some friends who were camping there. These friends of mine are soldiers that are also getting out of the Army on medical discharge, who were there with their significant others. One of the soldiers, who was having a birthday this week, had asked me to camp out with them. As my boyfriend was working and could not come and I would have felt bad camping without him, I answered that while I would not stay overnight, I would come and visit.
As I was driving my Aveo, one of the soldiers picked me up in the staging area. It was a fun ride in his jeep to where they were camping out. Once there, I was introduced to the SOs and regaled in the tales of what had missed. Apparently, the soldier who picked me up had to be rushed to the hospital last night after severely cutting his hand on a piece of metal he’d found on the ground, which caused squirting arterial bleeding. As this soldier was, apparently, the camp chef, breakfast the next day wasn’t that great. At some point, someone tried to fry beacon on a machete.
That’s something else that I noticed right away, the group was very well armed. The one who cut himself had with him a machete, an axe, countless knives, and probably a few firearms. Other soldiers in the group were also packing. Before lunch, the man with the cut hand tried to cut wood with his axe one-handed, much to the amusement of his companions who cracked jokes but didn’t help. Eventually, he got the wood split and made some nice steaks.
I asked them if they were allowed to have a fire, as there had been a fire restriction and there’d been a major fire north of the Springs lately, but they said it had been lifted. Of of the SOs was a firefighter and said she’d checked with the appropriate service.
Later, the one-handed soldier and I, and later a few others, searched the forest for more dead vegetation to burn. They’d decided to have a bonfire. I gathered a few large sticks while they cut up a dead, fallen tree. I helped built a tepee style burn pile, at the location they selected. I was very proud of our work and excited to light it. Although I didn’t think it needed it, one soldier sprinkled some gasoline around the base of the pile. He told me to light it by throwing in some paper, miming a trowing motion towards the fire as he spoke. As he flicked his wrist, the whole pile suddenly caught ablaze to the surprise of both of us. Apparently, the fumes from the gas caught from the nearby cooking fire.
The fire was much larger and hotter than we expected. We had to move some the the vehicles and a tent. As for ourselves, we all stood far back, about 20ft as it was too hot to get any closer. “Great, how are we going to cook now?” The laughing birthday soldier asked. The flames were so high that when the breeze blew, the flames can disturbingly close the to branches of a pine tree we thought we were far enough away from. We watched intently as the fire died down a bit to a more manageable size after about half an hour, relieved that no significant incident had occurred. Colorado is highly flammable.
I’ve written about this once before on my old blog, but a recent twitter conversation has caused me to think about it again. He was one of those theists who liked to use his religion to try to interfere with human rights. Today, he was on the atheist tag on twitter, trying to talk about the science of god. Not surprisingly, when asked for proof of god, he had nothing apart from saying that he experienced god, something he could not prove and did not elaborate on at all. So I told him that I once had an experience, and, unlike him, I did elaborate.
When I was 11 years old, I got sent to a foster home after catching the falling bullet belonging to someone somewhere in town who was celebrating New Years the very, very wrong way. I’d been taking all pretty well, waiting for the whole mess to be cleared up so I could finally go home to my innocent parents. But as the weeks went by, as I was isolated from my parents, siblings, and friends, I began to despair. Maybe I would never go home.
Then one night, something happened. A person, who I instantly recognized, appeared to me in my room, at the foot of my bed. I sat up in my bed, back resting against the headboard. I never questioned how or why that person was there, I merely accepted it. Of course it had to be real. The person and I had a long, tearful conversation about my situation. The person told me not to lose hope, that I’d go home soon, among other things that I don’t remember. Then, slowly, the figure vanished right before my eyes. I was alone again, sitting on my bed in my dark room, my face wet with tears.
I could have seen a number of things. The person that I saw could have easily been Jesus or an angel, especially as I was still Christian at the time. If that had been the case, I might have gone on believing that was real and would still be a Christian, calling that experience proof. But that isn’t what I saw. The person that I saw was my mother, who could not possibly have really been there. So I guess my experience is proof of ghosts? Maybe I would think that, if it weren’t for the fact my mother was still very much alive and well. What I experienced was not a supernatural visitation, but a very vivid dream, maybe even a stress-induced hallucination.
So, what does my experience demonstrate? Not gods or ghosts. What I learned from that experience is that not all experiences are real. Just because someone believed that they experienced god or something supernatural doesn’t mean that the really did, however convinced that they are. I learned that someone claiming to have experienced something is not actual evidence. What I learned was the auto-deceptive power of the human mind.
On the 23rd, I passed the two-week mark for daily good deeds. At the time of writing, I’ve completed 16 daily good deeds.
Recycling – Most of my deeds were simple. On Aug 18th, I brought soda cans to the local recycling center. I got $1 in return. I spent some time chatting with the gentlemen there petting their dogs. On the 20th, my BF and I had a chat and decided we’d recycle our cans at our new home (the cans I had before I’d collected while living in a barracks room by myself.) On Aug 22nd, I used two large paper grocery bags to make a bin for collecting cans (yay, recycling to recycle!)
Transportation – On the 22nd, I gave a solider in my platoon who had run out of gas rides to and from work and to an appointment at the hospital. The next day, the 23rd, I happened to pass a female soldier from another brigade walking along the road. I picked her up and gave her a ride.
Activism – On Aug 17th, I did something I really shouldn’t have had to do. I defended a woman’s maternal care rights to a group that claims to be about just that. I suppose the people there were so busy fighting for the right to have vaginal births and not have non-medically indicated cesarean sections forced upon them that they forgot that there’s nothing wrong with someone choosing to have a cesarean, if they want one. It was hard to get that point across with all the people too obsessed with birthing their way that they couldn’t imagine anyone else choosing another way.
Misc. – On Aug 19th, I bought an extra can of soda from a vendor because he was short on one dollar bills. I then gave this soda to a thirsty soldier. On Aug 21st, I attempted to bake cookies to share with my boyfriend. … Didn’t quite turn out. It’s the thought that counts, right?
Today, Aug 25th, I spent most of the day helping a female soldier from my platoon who I’ve known from my old unit and deployed with. She’s was having some serious financial trouble that wasn’t her fault and couldn’t afford gas. I spent the day giving her rides and gave her $10 to buy a few gallons. I brought her to a facility that could help her work out her money problems and, as she told me, are supposed to give her a gas card tomorrow. Later, I took her to the finance office and while she was in there, I went to Green Beans coffee to buy her a “happy drink.” Apparently, she has a favorite drink that she treats herself to once a month, but she feared she would not afford it this month. It’s the little things that cheer a person up, I think.
I LOVE using Craigslist to shop for second-hand items. For me, it’s right up there with Freecycle and Geartrade in awesomitude.
I’ve been able to furnish most of my home either cheap or for free using the sites above as well as thrift stores. Not only do I save money this way, but the bit of me inclined to be green likes reusing things that might otherwise end up in a dump.
But there’s one thing (OK, more than one) I would never buy used – mattresses. Why not? Nasty things like this:
Lady, maybe your homebirth was special and magical (or whatever the hell else the natalist nuts like to call something that happens 340,500 times a day and is a matter of simple biology) to you, but your sentimental value of a gore-stained mattress does not translate into actual value. Blood stains aren’t designs, nor are they romantic or good luck. What it is is stinking gross. It doesn’t matter how you try to dress it up, no one wants your little biohazard for free, much less for $500. You can’t even appeal to my love of being green. Just burn it.
I’ll keep sleeping on the couch for now, thanks. I’m not nearly that desperate.