storm chasingPosted: April 28, 2011
One of my old professors labeled me a “storm chaser.” She gave me that moniker after she pointed out that many of my jobs were located in fairly dangerous or unhealthy work environments (such as the 9th Ward post-Katrina, submarines, boats during hurricane season, Iraq, and so on). I never saw it that way until she made note of it.
I always thought I took calculated risks. High percentage risks, actually. I’ve thought I was actually a little skittish with most of my endeavors. I was never in the first wave of any of those “dangerous” jobs, save the one time that I was on a crew boat that beat Hurricane Ike’s landfall by six hours or so. Parts of post-storm New Orleans were still scary when I got down there, but you stayed away after nightfall. Iraq could still be pretty hairy at times, but it was nowhere near as rough as it was in 2004 or 2005. You get the point.
And there are still plenty of crazy things that I won’t ever do, like gator rasslin’, skydiving, bungee jumping, or dating a woman who belonged to a sorority. So I actually think I’m a bit a milquetoast, when you get right down to it.
Additionally, I have no interest in outstaying my welcome or putting people I love in an uncomfortable position. I’ve been living with my grandmother since I came home from Iraq. I help out with the expenses, buy groceries, etc. But my presence and my opinions have grown so loathsome to certain people that it’s put her in a terrible position. They want me gone. She’s been firm in her resolve, but I know it has to exhaust her.
I need to get out of here. But there’s not much of anything in Alexandria. Besides, it appears I need to be far away from certain people, lest I have a repeat of this morning’s ordeal (which involved being blocked in my driveway and screamed at). Baton Rouge has gridlocked traffic, violence on par with a Third World nation, and too many reminders of past failures. I’ve had my fill of New Orleans. I’d rather visit it occasionally and not grow to hate it again. Working offshore again holds no allure. Iraqi jobs are drying up rapidly; the pullout there is all but complete by year’s end. So I went ahead and applied for some jobs in Afghanistan. Maybe I’ll get some calls. Maybe I won’t. But it’s painfully obvious that I don’t fit in around here anymore. Maybe it’s time to start chasing storms again.