Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Random Thought

Is Wazoo really that high, that if something is "up to Wazoo", it's really a big thing?

Basic Training Month I

I know I haven't posted in awhile, I've been a bit busy. I wonder how many of you still check my blog...

Well, it's been a month from Shabbos. It's been a weird month. Not what I'm used to, let me tell you. However, I'm am getting used to it; not liking it, but getting used to it. I don't like not sleeping, I don't like being tired. The past week though, I was sick and coughing all night every night, hence no sleep. And I'm in the army so it's not like I could just take a nap in the middle of the day. Yet. I'm told actually that in vatikot (after a year in the army when one actually goes on missions), and maybe even in kav (front line -- dong checkpoints and stuff) that if you are guarding at night, you get to go back to sleep in the day. Can't wait.

Everything is timed in the army. Everything. Wake up -- 15 miutes exactly to be outside and dressed. Davening is timed, eating, breaks, sleeping, is timed. And if you're 10 miliseconds late, they yell at you like you have just done the worst thing possible in the world. And it's better to come on time without the mission (batem im mesimah?) then to finish the mission without coming on time. Example: even if you're in your boxers after the 15 minutes after wake up, it's better to come out like that on time then it is to actually get dressed and be late. They're teaching us to be yeckies. I never thought that day would come...

It'd hard. It is. All the excersizing, the not sleeping, it can get to you. And even though you're sore all over, you gotta get up and do it all again anyway. Over chol hamo'ed Pesach, we ran 2 km 2 days in a row. Last week, we did the obstavle course in 2 parts WITH our vests and guns and everything -- including the 500 meter running before the wall, the first part of it. She said that you're supposed to be tired when you get to the wall. And I said, "oy." Before this time, I wasn't able to go over the wall with my vest, but on my 3rd try, I finally did it, thank the Lord in Heaven. and then we did the 2nd part of the obstacle course, running the whole thing and doing it backwards so the the last thing was the halfway mark, the rope. You have to climb up the rope and touch the bar. I still can't do that with the vest on. I think I was able to it without the vest, but not with it. Yet.

And then there's all the push-ups, and matzav shtayyims (m"sh - push-up position in the "up" position) after, and before runs, and obstacle courses. And whenever they feel like it, and when we get punished for something.

And then of course there's shmirah, guard duty. Wake up in the middle of the night to do shmirah for 20 minutes. I don't really get why they do that. I mean, I do, someone's got to watch the stuff, right? But, how are we able to do something like that to 100% if we're so tired?

And then of course there all the short runs they make us do because we don't come on time. Like, from here to that post, 30 seconds ZUZ! And if we don't come on time, we'l do it again, and again, and again.

We also have to keep track of everyone, it's called a matza"l, short for matzeivat lochamim (lit. - sitaution of the fighters). Pretty much just to know where everyone is. And we're at the point where if we don't get it right, we have to do 10 the next time. You'd think it's pretty easy, but sometimes it's hard keeping track of 37 peopl, knowing where everyone is. In the beginning, it was annoying, they'd yell at us because not everyone knew everyone's name. "You've been together one day and you don't know everyone's name yet?!" Something like that.

I wasn't there for this because I was home sick, but I was told that one day, they filled a tent with gas, guys went in with the gas masks, and then after a minute of two they had to take them off and breath in the gas, to know what it's like. I heard some guys threw up...

We actually have quite a bit of classes. We have classes on shooting, balistics. Last week we had a shiur on finding directions, finding north if we're lost. We had, for 2 days, classes on first aid (it was great because in the summer I took the Red Cross one and have my license for that. Thanks Adam!). I got my license here too. And I finally learned how to use the green thing that soldiers have sticking out of their pockets!
Once a week we have a shiur in arabic. I'm supposed to know now colors (apparently green (achdar) is very imprtant to them), directions, numbers (I know now how to count to a million), a few other random things (waqef o ana batuchak!). I actually forgot what the last shiur was on. It's weird, they teach us so much in a short time, expect us to be experts in it after, but we can't even take our notebooks to study and go over it. It's annoying.

We're always supposed to have something in our kotefet (the problem with being in Tzahal is that I know something in Hebrew, but I have no idea how to say it in English. Like this, for example, but it's what the thing on the shoulder is called, what you put the barret in). Either the barret (kumtah), or the hat we wear with our 2nd uniforms. We can't have the hat on madei aleph (the nice unis we wear outside), but we can have the barret on madei bet (the 2nd unis). But if it's on our head then obviously we don't need anything in our kotefet.
I've lost my barret 3 times, I'm on my 4th one. 2 times Everyone was in my tent, it was a whole balagan, and I put my barret down, I thought I had put in in my bag, but I guess I didn't (or maybe it was stolen...?), and it wasn't there. Another time I had lost it in the tachana merkazit in Yerushalayim, so I went to the information booth, asked if they had any spares (which is what I'm told you're supposed to do, they have tons), and the lady said to go to the police station here, so I went, he asked which kind, and he gave it to me, it was great. The one I have now isn't mine, it's a friends spare, and it's too small, not looking nice, I think I'm going to do that again....

We always have to be medugam (um...looking nice, presentable). Shirt tucked in, pants tucked in over the boots (that's why we have rubberbands), something in the kotefet (it has to be the left one). We might have just been running around, doing excersize, push-ups, sit-ups, crawling around, but we have to be medugam while doing it. Theyr'e big on that.

Last week we learned ta"s tasa"ch. That's the whole "Smol, yemin, Smol! Smol yemin smol!" And all that stuff, the special ways we needa stand in ceremonies. We're learning it now because my tekes hashba'a (swearinig in shindig) at the kotel is in like, less than a month, and we have to walk like that, and stand like that to look nice. When you see a whole unit of soldiers doing that, maybe it looks nice, but when we're learning it, it's the most ridiculous thing ever.

Every week when we leave Fri morning we have misdarei rasar (again, one of the things I don't know how to say in English, but the rasar is some big guy on base). He checks over every single soldeir to make sure we're medugam. Also we're not allowed to move. We're not allowed to move in shloshot, 3 rows to be at attention, or in a chet. We have to ask permission to even scratch. But certain people, like this rasar guy, you can't even ask. We have to stand there not moving for a long time sometimes. I'm sure it'll get worse.

Since I'm a chayyal bodeid (lonely soldier, no parents here), I'm told that I'm allowed to leave with the first unit who has misdarei rasar, even if it's not my unit. That most weeks I can skip it. I gotta speak to someone about that...

All this makes one appreciate Shabbos so much more. This past shabbos, with all that, and me being sick, I was so tired, and because of that, Fri night I slept 10 hours straight for the first time in around 2, 3 years, maybe 4. Oh, it was beautiful.

Time for mincha. Til next time...