A Day in the Life
Basic training is awesomely cool meets incredibly boring, where jingoistic dreams have menial nightmares. The shooting, crawling, trekking, baus-like army stuff- it’s all there. But in this transition from citizen to soldier, you also earn yourself a ticket to a highly pooped after-party.
My sleepy subconscious becomes huh?!-what?!-what’s-going-on?! conscious each morning around 5:30 when “ONE MINUTE EVERYONE OUTSIDE!!!!” cacophonizes my eyes open. After making sure no one’s left in the tent (“nono I promise I didn’t hear anything”) we form a line to check that there are no bullets left in our guns. Since we sleep with the guns in our sleeping bags it would prrrrroooooobably make more sense to do this before we went to sleep. The gun line- prikat nishakim (lit: breaking apart the guns)- is Rambo meets Dance Dance Revolution, as those (aka all of us) who haven’t gone to the bathroom pivot, hop, spin, twist, bend and snap and march in bladder-filled anticipation as we wait for commander Sasson to clear us. Next we have 7 minutes to get into our uniforms and if one person isn’t properly dressed or shows up late then Sasson blames all of us for not being properly dressed and showing up late and afterwards gives us 2 minutes “fixing time” to finish. 6 minutes is then given for “Galchatz panim v’ naalayim”- polishing our shoes and shaving- and since I’ve practically been shaving since the womb I almost always have to do the polishing during “fixing time.”
No task is complete until we stand in 3’s and receive the commander by calling out “Attention!” This makes raising tent curtains super annoying. Because he can, commander Sasson gives us times which make as much sense as Israel’s decision to package milk in bags to tie up the flaps. And, because he can, if they’re not up in time (this means tying them up, standing in 3’s and calling out attention) they all go down again. Since my tent actually survived Vietnam, the original strings have been replaced by an assortment of UNtieable fraying fibers, cords, ropes, and threads and in a race to get back on time you often watch that curtain you worked so hard to tie unravel, tongue-like in mockery.
Unlike in real life, your food options here are chosen for you. And since you’ve got to eat you get creative, fast. Here are some combinations that I willingly- slash unwillingly- put into my body:
Soupy Israeli cheese and apricot jam mixed then tossed with pasta- my old food standards de-friended me.
Shoko b’sakit poured over cornflakes- think Cocoa Pebbles but not at all!
Strawberry jam swirled with sugary porridge- consult your local dentist immediately after eating.
Baked beans and chocolate spread, sandwiched with past-the-date bread- consult your local bathroom immediately after eating. Actual sand included.
When we’re not drilling in the field, the army often uses its trainees to do tasks on base that are as exciting as an amish prom. Some memorable ones:
Washing dishes- #prunelife #wellIthinkplatesdonthaveabottomso
Squeegeeing- I totally didn’t mean to not get your not uniform not soaked with this not nasty bathroom water 🙂
Picking up casings- meet the founder and commissioner of the Israeli Army Bullet Shell Basketball Association.
Straightening rocks- hey, it could be worse. Actually, no. It couldn’t.