Dec. ? (Entry 8)
Small puddles spread out. The flat hard land we’re staked down on is a breeding ground for mud. If it rains a centimeter, Camp Leatherneck is suddenly the land of four billion ponds. It took a full night of wispy drizzle, but the sky managed to donate about an inch. Now when the clouds clear up, the water just walks right back to the sky. The Afghan atmosphere has a comprehensive recall.
It also leaves the face and lips and this is why chap stick is my candy of choice. Chapstick. It’s the third box down, with the hand sanitizers. You know, surplus goods. As well stocked as that shelf is, there’s nothing in there to keep my hair within standards. It’s about time to clean-up the scruff on my head. One of the sacraments of the Marine Corps, even (or especially) deployed, is the getting of a fresh, regular, haircut.
At 6:30 in the morning, me and a coworker leave work to get a haircut. Shift isn’t over until 7 am. The barber isn’t open until 7 am. Getting a haircut is serious business. As dusk opens up, the canvas slowly coloring, Marines equally populate outside the entrance, a desert camo coloring the desert ground.
At 6:45, there are seven. One bitterly smokes. No conversation. No one feels like forming a line. No one is going to acknowledge how seriously they take getting their hair faded to the top from zero, (theoretically) once a week, to meet grooming standards, in a combat environment. Then again, I do stress out if I can’t harvest my grapes (farmville).
Seven hits, and I’ve just finished a 12 hour shift when the first barber comes striding around the side of the tin barbershop in her boots with the fur. Really. We pile in and I find a seat.
In the mirror I stare back at a pair of sleep-hungry eyes. It’s pretty hard to look myself in the face without laughing or breaking a grin, even with such a grave matter as getting my hair in regulation, but I’ve got a pretty mean war-stache growing. Some of you may have witnessed my ‘molestache’, but this is different. This is more serious, and less incriminating. Everyone who is anyone who finds themselves in ‘the shit’ and means business, grows a fierce muff of hair under their nose to show how manly they are. And mine cracks me up, but for this occasion I keep a straight face.
Then barber number two strolls in. Ten plus Marines shift positions in the waiting area, eyeing her chair. She goes over to her station and hangs her winter coat up. I’m still staring down my war stache. The buzzer crosses over my ear. From this distance, the tuft is almost one solid mass.
Suddenly an explosion of early 90’s hiphop bellows from station two. Completely off-gaurd, I was down for the count, laughing. By the time I regained my composure, the haircut was about over. Forget the puddles and the chapstick, hell forget my 12 hour shift, nothing else matters.
Because it’s so dry and desolate out here, the smallest thing ignites the greatest interest. Co-barber with the boots with the fur is getting her dosage of poor music. Every hiphop song that never made it, was earning its dollar in the war effort. I’m not the hiphop guru. For that matter, I probably would be in the 15- 20th percentile on my hip-hop education, but I’m positive when I say those were some fresh beats. In 20 minutes when the PX opens, I’m gonna see if they have these quality hits for me to take home.
Continue reading: 5. Webcam starts to capture