The Awkward Lull and Being Prepared

I’m still a bit hesitant to talk about security and all the bad things that Afghanistan has come to be known for in the western media.  The last thing I want to do is make people back home worried.  But the overall truth is more comforting than the uncertainty of simply counting down the days.  This country has come a long way and the national security forces are light years ahead of where a lot of people think they might be.  That doesn’t mean that things are all happy all the time.  Kabul still makes the news once in a while for attacks attributed to any number of groups trying to gain influence.  Now, that puts me in an awkward position!

I’ve been here for a couple weeks already and all I’ve come to know is the routine that I last wrote about.  I work in an office all day fighting to make MS Office co-operate.  I get to the gym at least once a day (usually twice).  I sit down for a coffee at least once a day and try to get a Skype call through to Kimberly.  And, once a day I lay down in my bed (with huge gel cushion from Costco) and fall asleep.  With no weekends(c’mon, this is war!), this routine has repeated daily, and it’s not bad.  But, in the back of my mind I’m always listening for an out-of-place “boom” or thump to catch my attention and have me either diving for the floor, or running for a bunker. This makes me nervous when I’m in the shower or lying in bed.  It’s different in training because your life is not actually in danger.  But if the alarms go off when I’m literally caught with my pants down, I’m not going to be happy about it.

So, I have a new bit of mental readiness given that I’m literally waiting for chaos to break loose.  If I’m in the shower, I always mentally rehearse running to grab my pants, shirt, and boots.  If I’m going to sleep, I lay things out just right so all I have to do is click on my flashlight, grab stuff, and go.  You might think it’s stressful to be on alert like that all the time, but honestly it’s not that bad.  I’m still more worried about getting some strange lung infection or meeting a scorpion than I am about facing the Taliban.

I hope it’s of some comfort to know this:  It is very unlikely for me to be in downtown Kabul for several months and NOT be very close to a horrible attack of some kind.  I’m OK with knowing that it’s coming at some point.  I just don’t know when.  But like any other situation in life, all you can do is go about your daily routine, work hard, be kind to people, and pray for all good things.  I sincerely hope nobody becomes more worried after reading this.  My message is really that preparedness is better than crossing our fingers and hoping nothing happens.  Be it mental or physical.

Now, I’m looking forward to my morning coffee in several hours and hearing Kimberly’s voice.  Good-night, good-morning, or good-afternoon depending when you read this.

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