Sunday, January 21, 2007

FEMALE ON THE FLOOR!: Defining the title and the series

Notice the title is in CAPS with an exclamation mark. There's a reason for this.

Due to co-ed barracks, in the Army at least, when a female was about to enter the halls of "Joe" (the Army's name for the male soldier), she must loudly announce, "Female on the Floor", thus warning any possible guy in a towel to take cover, I guess. Thinking about it, the guys never had to holler, "Male on the Floor", but I guess it makes sense. It really was, at that time anyway, a male's world. I'm betting it's still that way today, and frankly, I'm glad it is. There is a difference between the genders, and I'd much rather have someone of Aaron's caliber on the front lines as opposed to someone like the female soldier I was.

As far as work and physical training, I was the best. Bar none. I've always had a strong work ethic and there was a time in my life I enjoyed working-out nearly as much as I enjoyed breathing.

But when it came to the war games and weapons, I was a lost little lamb. I'd never had exposure to anything like that in my life. I'd never played army; I was the product of Thumbelina and Barbie, then make-up and curling irons. I was used to bathing twice a day in my own bathroom.

The photo above is of me, Brasso in one hand and a cloth in the other. I am polishing brass door knobs well before 0800, after PT, after chow, and probably after I'd already brasso-ed the shower drains in the female latrine. The barracks is that of Delta Company at the Signal Corps of Ft. Gordon, Georgia where I attended eight weeks of a sixteen week school to prepare for my job, at that time, 35 Romeo, "Avionic Special Equipment Repairer" (I can't remember the rest of our company's designation, but the huge D in the middle of the entryway, one that was polished religiously and regarded as the unpardonable sin should it dare to be touched or nicked by the heel of a combat boot; this image sticks clearly in my mind.) Hhhmm, wonder why that could be?

Yes, I stepped on it, the big 'D' more than once.

Those are some of the things I had a hard time with. Why would they put it in the dead center of the entryway of a three-story building that quartered over a hundred head ... over two hundred feet?

The other thing I had a hard time with was electronics. The schematics we were required to trouble-shoot down to the component were far, far from anything I felt confident with. Long story short, I was re-classed. At the time, I thought it was the most horrible thing to happen to me, well outside of the fact that I never was able to qualify with the M-16 (that I know of, I'm the only one in the armed forces this has ever happened to, well, it happened to several, but they got sent home). But anyway, when I failed the school that would set me up trouble-shooting radar, I was relieved when they took away what would have been my next school in Ft. Bragg, NC., where I was supposed to become airborne qualified.

Friends at home were relieved in the system; I'd not be near radar. And Dad was relieved I wouldn't be jumping out of airplanes.


While I will primarily be covering my time as Specialist Austin, in Panama, December 11, 1989-November 2, 1992, there is some background that must be covered first. I'll get through it as quickly as possible, with probable flashbacks in the meat of the stories.

Another thing I want to take the liberty with is to use different POV's (point of view) in the posts. In one, I may use the 1st person, the "I" and in another, the third person, the "she" will allow me to step back from myself and narrate from the advantage point of writing about another.

I've given the structure a great deal of thought. I also want freedom with that. While a chronological order would be desired in history, the important pieces of history, and while it may be easier to follow in a book, for the "post" project, I desire the freedom to create it in a collectable form of personal narrative. That way, I can write about the time as it unfolds itself in my days and nights now, without being stuck (as my memory sometimes is) in a chain of events.

It's my hope that you'll enjoy reading, "FEMALE ON THE FLOOR!" nearly as much as I think I'll relish the writing of it.

Much love,

P.S. And on some of the characters, I'll have to give them a new name (to protect the un-innocent).

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