For all y’all who think that being an Israeli army hero- in real life and on Facebook (aka“faayyce-boook”)- is an everyday thing, then you be mistaken. Most days the IDF, at least in regular infantry, is shmira.
(Did I really just use “all y’all” and “you be” in a sentence? My english degree just checked into ReBar and plans on spending the rest of the afternoon alone, watching Lifetime)
Shmira is guarding over a designated area, usually in a post, usually by yourself, usually not when you want.
Things you’re allowed to do on shmira:
5) Look around
6) Drink water
Things you’re not allowed to do on shmira:
So naturally, playing with your phone and watching movies became synonymous with shmira since the moment they could be played with or watched.
But it’s risky as hell. Commanders and officers spontaneously come to check and if you’re caught sitting, on your phone, listening to music, or doing anything besides guarding/existing militarily, you could get a 28 day detention on the spot. Given that we’re already here for 17, staying 45 days on base is as appealing as spending the night in Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station.
But if you don’t want to start carrying pictures of non-green clothing to remember what it looks like, do you honestly have to rely on all the aforementioned otherwise essential life functions to pass four never-ending hours? You can at least rely on #4.
Shmira is an opportunity to think about those experiences you didn’t have time to. But here, too much time to think means attempting to get lost in thought without losing your mind- which only gets exacerbated when your buddy doesn’t switch you on time.
The “emdot”- guard posts are spread out, so according to kinematics and/or my legs, some take much longer to get to. Since the soldiers coming to switch those currently guarding leave at the same time from the same place, you can almost always expect a “tfira”- to be left hanging. There are few moments in life as awful as being “tofered,” watching the minutes inch while the guy supposed to switch you is still nowhere in sight and it’s unclear when or if he will be. That kind of uncertainty should get its own DSM entry. Put yourself there: Thursday; 6:47 am; 2-6 shift all week; frictioning your hands to stay warm; slapping your cheeks to keep awake; vest digging into your back, weighing down your shoulders; the two much-needed hours you had to close the eyes you didn’t get to last night dwindling painfully into nonexistence…
WHERE THE @$#% ARE YOU?!?!
Unlike in training where my guard posts were perched atop bases situated somewhere in the opening scenes of Aladdin- I now guard a yeshuv in the West Bank and I’m getting to know its citizens. One guard post is even in someone’s backyard- like you’re basically in their pool- and the conversations we have and the wafflim/coffee packages they so generously donate are always welcome and enjoyable.
Until the emdah invaders show up.
Growing up, I, along with many, shipped off each summer to camp- where they unabashedly attempted to brainwash us to make aliyah and join the IDF, Bnei Akiva 1 Meir 0- but that’s not the case here. The kids here don’t go to summer camp- not for two months at least- which means that they have nothing to do. Except bug me on shmira:
“Can I touch your butt chin?!?!”
“I’m putting on your helmet”
“What happens if I press this on the radio?”
“Bring me an army watch cover!!!”
Can’t wait till it’s their turn 😀