Monday, January 24, 2005

Inauguration Day, Military Retiree Style

Well, Mr. Retired Army Officer scheduled his asshole scope for this Very Day! It was to be a real colonoscopy with knock-out juice, color photos to take home, things cut out for Lab Rats to cut up and look at, everything! And - he scheduled it for - 6 ayem. So he gets up at 4;30, wakes me up at 5:00, fully dressed, the paperwork in his hand. While I take a shower, he is sitting there, paper in hand. Nervous. Very nervous.I notice at the guarded gate to the Army post that a number of vehicles are being very thoroughly searched, but I have no worries, I have Military I.D.! And so, predictably, we arrive at Military Hospital # 3 at 5:45. The regular doors aren't even open, so he goes in the ER, waving me off irritably.I drive back home, wake up the 16 year old who was supposed to have set his alarm, gotten up, run, showered, and been ready to eat the Krispy Kremes I so thoughtfully bought on the way home for him. The way I wake teenagers up is way worse than any alarm clock. I begin by pounding loudly on the door, opening it screaming, throwing water on the sleeper and sending the dog onto the recumbant figure to lick his face. I was pissed, and I guess he figured that out, because he got up right away, ran to the shower, took a record short stay in the spray, and left with his girlfriend who is called Shawnee Woman in our house.After about another hour, I get a call from the nurse on the Asshole Wing telling me the Gas-Passer and the Ass-Master have released Mr. Retired Army Officer, so I head over there. By now, there is so much color commentary on the Inauguration Festivities, that I realize Inauguration Day is the reason for the "enhanced security" at the gate to Military Hospital #3. So I pull up to rescue My Man from the Ass- Master; and, yes, sure as shit, wouldn't you know MY CAR is "selected" for a "random check". I sigh, pull over, get out my ID card for which I had previously attested in writing that I understood by entering a US military installation I was giving up my rights to not be searched and seized. I am instructed to turn off my vehicle, get out, and surrender my cell phone and anything else with a battery in it. Because this is a loaner car, while mine is in the car hospital, I feel quite smug, for there is virtually nothing of mine in the car except my wallet, my garage door opener, and my cell phone. "This will be a piece of cake. That's why they picked me", I say to myself with an easy-going tiny smug smile. Well, they take said ID card off to a little hut, hustle me out, instruct me open every car door, which I do quite calmly, then proceed to take apart my garage door opener and my cell phone, punching buttons on each. I'm thinking, "Dumb Ass, that's a great way to blow yourself up if there are explosives in this vehicle", just as the bomb dog comes out of the little hut and "alerts", by standing at the rear of the rental van that doesn't even have a gum wrapper in it. So there is a bit more urgency to the voices now, and more guys come over with more mirrors and a walkie-talkie - not the cool Secret Service type that discretely come out of the left cuff, but the big, clunky, old, scratched ones they give the soldiers - you know, the ones that are sorta like the old, ragged, non-kevlar, woodlands patterned vests they give the soldiers in the deserts of Iraq? - and I begin to lose my little smile. A guard asks me in a very urgent voice, "Ma'am, Ma'am what do these keys open?"; and I look and see two strange, squat keys in his hands, which he is trying in the ignition, in the glove box, anything with a keyhole. I told him I had never seen them before, and he said he found them in the compartment under the front passenger seat. Then began a sort of flurry of walkie-talkie-ing, mirror looking, and whispered conversation. They took out the rear seat, pulled up the carpet, and looked for a lock box welded into the car body, ideal for hiding drugs or plastic explosives. Now, remember, there is a nurse waiting with Mr. Retired Officer for me, I can't call the clinic because they have my phone, and I am beginning to be rather urgently questioned about why I have a rental car, my purpose for entering the installation ("Because my husband just had a colonoscopy and excision of multiple polyps by your boy Ass-Master who looks younger than my 16 year old who doesn't get out of bed in the mornings, Moron."), and I am being approached by two MP's who are getting out of a black SUV, who are handed my ID card - remember my ID card? - the one that was to get me out of this Inaugural Security Circle Jerk? Well, it was EXPIRED. And I was the Major Excitement for the day. "Ma'am", I am told, "we need to see another form of identification. Your ID card is expired, and we have confiscated it. You will be issued a receipt for it, and you will be escorted to the clinic to pick up your husband. If you do not have a valid driver's license, your car will be impounded." "Fair enough," think I. And after my valid driver's license is validated, I am accompanied by an MP SUV to the hospital door, told to leave my car unlocked, the hazard lights on, and to get Mr. Retired Officer. As I am going in the door, some very old, very shriveled, very disabled old bat with more wrinkles than a 5-year-old dollar bill harrumphs, and says to nobody in particular, "How does SHE rate parking right up front?

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