But more importantly over the last week, Cary got e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org.
It all started with a missed phone call Saturday afternoon, when I cursed myself for leaving my phone in the car over fro yo. Yes, fro yo in my vegan belly. But who can turn down Red Velvet? His voicemail said he passed a tough inspection though (really tough according to letter three) and so he'll have more phone privileges and e-mail capability at certain times. He has his own computer in his hatch (er, room), as does his roommate, but it sounds like Internet access is still touch and go. Probably a combination of an ancient computer and limiting their fun moments. However, he was able to check the Lakers site. Of course. And my blog. Of course.
He calls again Saturday evening, (this time I catch it). For seven minutes. Says he can call again Sunday, which was longer. We spend the rest of the day e-mailing off and on since he can send e-mails as a text message to my phone. So every e-mail he sends gives me a text alert, and I can check the intro to the e-mail on my phone and write back some or know to get to a computer next time I can. Confused yet?
So after three weeks without talking, I finally get the lowdown. But more importantly I get to hear his voice. The weird thing is it barely sounds like him. He's hoarse almost all the time, he says. The yelling hasn't yet proven to be unnecessary. But it's still him, and we have some extra minutes and now endless pages of e-mail, and it feels great to just say what comes to mind instead of saving space on a phone card or in a letter.
He's nailing his physical stuff, scoring in the top five on most exercises or whatever they might be called. His uniform is like this guy's, he says, it's the Navy working uniform there to your right. And he polished his boots so perfectly last week (better than the prior enlisted) that he's now the Uniform Body. The drill instructor (DI) basically put him in charge of making sure his group of guys is looking good. Obsessively good. Not a speck of lint on the camo or fleck of dirt on the boot.
RLP (room, locker, personnel) inspection was coming up in his last letter. This is the extremely tough (nit-picky) inspection that very few pass the first time around, but it's what leads to the phone and e-mail privileges. And Lawson passed the first time. Much to his wife's pleasure. His whole class had a high pass rate actually, the highest in well over a year. Much to the instructors' pleasure; it makes them look good naturally. One more phase to go. "Candio" or Candidate Officer phase - three of three. That's when he'll get that ugly gold-encased thing also known as his iPhone clad in a wannabe Laker color back in his hands and basically take over the place as they begin to instruct the newbies. Ah cycles and karma. To top off the lowdown, I got a cherry of a story from him. In drill practice, the DI told everybody to take five deep breaths. The candidates thought it was a relaxation technique. Until he said, "Whenever somebody farts, I'm going to filter the air through your nasty little lungs."
So, good luck, Cary, wherever you are on base right now. Glad the floods aren't a big deal, there's no earthquakes (though we all know secretly we're thrilled by them), and here's to eating without counting one day.