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Location: Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rude Awakenings

Friday, September 21, 2007
USS Cole – Isle of Lewis, North Minch 58°13N, 005°33W

The ship is awakened by a loud rendition of a crappy rock song via the lousy fidelity of the 1-MC, in place of reveille this morning. The experience is not inductive of a pleasant mood. I’m told it’s the choice of the bridge watch and apparently the captain allowed it to be known that it was all right with him. Too bad.

I watch all alone, from the starboard bridge wing, the shifting headings of several of the ships in the group, including the unusual profile of the French destroyer La-Touche-Treville. The oiler Laramie is serving as the “protected asset” for the next couple of days, so the Cole bridge team works to match her speed and headings. I watch a gull skimming about the bow and another trawler working its way south, plying a difficult trade in the midst of these war games.

I think about war when I’m down in the fitness gym, attempting to keep my balance on the treadmill as the hull rolls 10° or more to port, then back to starboard. I’ve found that one of the attractions of the elliptical trainer—there are two of them on board, too—is that you can maintain balance better with your shoes in their foot cradles. Plus they do get your heartrate up. What’s war got to do with workouts? Last week, walking along the pedestrian mall in Glasgow, watching the strollers and and shoppers, I thought, “These people aren’t killing each other.” Sectarian strife and factional violence resolved by shopping? Think about it.
...jb

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