Tempus per annum
The reference of course is to the Latin term from which English speaking Christendom derived “ordinary time” – that part of the liturgical year during which nothing especially significant happens. That, dear friends, is where your correspondent finds himself today. This is perilous ground indeed, as one is tempted either to flights of speculative musing:
Has it ever occurred to you that it is impossible for human beings to conceive of a potential point of view – as in vantage point - without implicitly imagining a viewer? From this observation proceeds much to do with psychology, art and theology…
or to paroxysms of complaining:
There is something indecent about admirals and generals just walking among hoi polloi as if they were regular people. It is just not right to bump into flag officers without knowing they’re coming. I propose the use of an escort of toga clad lictors, as ancient Roman magistrates with imperium would employ. They could carry rods decorated with fasces as in the example above. I like it…
I sound in the first case like Woody Allen and in the second like Andy Rooney. Sigh.
Well, let’s see. Today is “Taco Tuesday” at the Bob Hope Galley. (23 more to go, but who’s counting?) The dining facility here is, as I’ve mentioned, one of the highlights of the base. The building is large and windowless as most here are – there is simply no visual temptation sufficient to warrant the loss of thermal integrity. This occasioned an interesting discussion at lunch about whether life here might predispose one to seasonal affective disorder – many folks quite deliberately limit their time outside to the minimum required to transit from CLU to CWU to galley to CLU. No data on SAD incidence though.
Anyway, one washes one’s hands at the wash stations outside and enters. The wash stations are liberally posted with admonitions to prevent swine flu (guess they didn’t get the “Islamic country H1N1" memo). In the first room is the sandwich bar – open 22 hours a day with cold cuts, soup, chili, hot dogs, potato chips and cereal along with wall-length coolers full of milk, sodas, water and unbelievable amounts of Gatorade. We go through far more Gatorade than water, juice or soda - semi trailer truck loads of the stuff. The appeal completely escapes me – it tastes like lime flavored sweat to me – and most people are working inside and don’t exactly need the sugary-salty volume expansion. I wonder what the inventor, Dr. Cade, would have thought. Oh well, I don’t get reality TV either.
Presuming a sandwich is not what you’re after, you pass then into the main dining room – roughly square, about 50 yards square and the walls are once again lined with beverage coolers. There’s a salad bar in the center, a fresh fruit cart to one side and an ice cream counter to the other, a “speed line” at the far end with anything from fajitas to crab legs, and then an annex housing two cafeteria lines, each always with a beef, a fish, a poultry and a vegetable dish (often more then one of each). Entrees vary by day – steak, roast turkey, ribs, pork chops, roast chicken and various gumbos and stews are common offerings. The quality – while certainly not any threat to The French Laundry – is good in general. It is in here, surrounded by food, with relatively little else to tempt one, that the real danger of coming home weighing all of 300 pounds looms. Fortunately you have to walk past the gym to get to the galley and it may be that many a late night expedition in search of a bag of Doritos finds its way to the treadmill instead.
Tomorrow we are außer haus essen gehen to meet with our German colleagues (they provide hyperbaric chamber cover for our official and recreational diving activities). They are here on 4 month rotations, and have a small base a bit further north up the small urban peninsula. Their base won't accomodate housing, so they are billeted instead at the Sheraton. I could insert a joke here, but to encourage creativity among the readership I’ll let you come up with your own. Anyway, they’re all nice fellows and we’ll be getting together at one of their favorite hang-outs here in town – a seafood restaurant. More stories to follow.
I reckon I’ll stop there for today...I feel more philosophy coming on!