Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Raining Men

It's been 15 months since the last of the Humvees, last of the Bradleys were driven off the Barracks. 15 months since the first wave of spouses said goodbye to their loved ones, fought back tears as they watched the bus pull away. 15 months since wives promised to lose weight, be better wives and parents, be sexier. And now, over 450 days after the group of mostly men left - over 3,000 of them - they're back. Well, about 20 percent of them anyway. And already, the difference is astounding. What might usually take 10 minutes - paying the phone bill, buying a plane ticket, buying a bottle of wine - can now take upwards to 30; especially the phone bill part, what with newly redeployed stocking up on phone minutes and all. But it doesn't annoy me. Now the spouses that left for 15 months are a different story. Not that I'm not glad to have them back, or think that I am any better than them for staying, I just think those who havve been here the whole time should get a badge or SoMETHING that lets us cut to the front of the line so that those of us who suffered through the crap with no husband AND no family members get a chance to buy the last turkeys the commissary has because they forgot to buy extras. Oh. Sorry. Got sidetracked.

Anyway. I wasn't sure how this day would feel when it came around. I'd braced myself. Got myself ready for the time when part of the men - sorry, the soldiers - would come back and mine would still be gone. I worked on maintaining a nondescript facial expression for when I saw wives canoodling with their newly returned husbands; made sure I kept my voice measured when other spouses told, how, "Oh my god, it's so great, he'll be here on (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ...), and oh my god, what am I going to wear and should I wear this with these shoes and this" and oh, you get the point.

But it's been two weeks, minus the guys and gals who got sent home for drinking/selling/doing drugs, and I actually feel happy for them. I smile, seeing my friends exit briefings with their husbands. Seeing their faces light up when discussing the aforementioned outfit, and the smiles of contentment when I actually see them with their spouse.

"Welcome back," I call out cheerily to the guys. "Have a good time," I say to their wives, my friends.

15 months is a long time to go without anything, especially a husband or wife. And despite what seems to be the overwhelming public opinion, I do have the ability to empathize with others. And to those who are welcoming their husbands back, I extend a warm and hearty welcome, and just as I have said to my other friends, enjoy yourselves.

And I mean that.

Monday, October 22, 2007

American Gangster

I know it's been a minute, and I still have to blog about my camping trip and my birthday, but I'm in the middle of watching Malcom X on no. 4 of the Denzel Washington Movie Collection and feel compelled to comment on the phenomenon that is Denzel. Now Woodstock, don't go getting all upset, let me explain myself. There is a definite separation between the new and old school as it relates to Denzel - old Denzel v. new Denzel, is he good looking, etc. etc. Malcom X sort of personifies what I think is the whole fascination behind Mr. Washington. It's what the new school calls "swagger" and what the old folks call attitude.

The movie's pivotal moment is when Bro Johnson is arrested and subsequently taken to the hospital on Malcom's orders. As he stands outside the hospital with the police officer (who happens to be Frank from "Everybody Loves Raymond") he dispurses the crowd with a simple hand gesture. Now think back to every movie you've seen. What black actor consistently evokes the type of attitude and persona that just makes people want to stand up and listen? Granted, it's a character, and Malcom X was that type of dude. But it's also the man behind the character - or more appropriately, the actor behind the character, because who's to say he's like this when it's just him, Pauletta and kids sitting at home eating dinner.
Don't get me wrong, he's had some rough moments. For every Devil in a Blue Dress, Man on Fire (yeah, this one is a stretch, but anyone who carries a gun while wearing a suit is alright with me) or Training Day, there's a Inside Man (what was UP with that haircut?), Antwone Fischer (weird mustache) and Bone Collector (I'm pretty sure I saw snot bubbles at one point). But regardless of how he looked, he always has the same commanding presence - even when confined to a bed that he moves by blowing through a tube (which I also find incredibly disgusting. It must fill up with spit, like a woodwind instrument ... sorry, I got off track).

Regardless, I know that when American Gangster makes it over here probably 2 months after its release, I won't be going to watch it to see if TI can really act (though my fondness for southern men, specifically Atlantans is no secret) but to see Denzel.

And I'm sure I won't be disappointed.