So, this was my view late on the 27th: knitting on the Clapotis, chatting with Ang. and watching a movie. I think it was Enemy at the Gates.
Now, I watched E@tG because That One recommended it to me. Well, recommended is not exactly the right word. What he actually said was “if you want to see inside my head, watch E@tG and Apocolypse Now.” Because I want to understand his ticking, I said I would, and I put them in my Blockbuster Queue. I’ve been waiting months for them to become available and will likely have to borrow Apocolypse from him if I ever hope to see it.
Now, this is not a “pleasant” movie. It is a brutal and gruesome movie. In fact, both of these are probably ones I’d rather just read the books for. But, then I would not have seen what he saw, only for real. The folks in his “movie” never get up and walk away after the director yells “cut”.
Most of you know I am a veteran. That is, I served, during peace time, and mostly in the reserves. Getting to know an actual combat veteran, it gives me a totally different sense of appreciation for what these folks have truly done for us. Every Veteran’s Day, people say stuff about thanking a veteran, and the other 364 days a year, we tend to forget them. That’s a shame, because combat vets, they carry it with them forever. Forever. It’s never truly over for them, because you can’t unsee a thing, can’t get a do-over.
One of the things that most disgusts me about our country is the way we handle vets. We teach and train them to kill and destroy and then, once they have served our purposes, we turn them loose to try to live normal lives, with a set of life skills that they are then forbidden to employ. We ought to be ashamed. And if I ever get around to being politically active, this will be my issue.
And while I am at it, there ought to be some kind of something for folks who purpose to be life partners with combat vets. Writing this post has made me realize some things. My first husband was a combat vet. Looking back now, I can see that part of his “craziness” was due to that. The thing was, he never trusted me enough to talk about his experiences very much, so I had no idea what was going on in his head. I don’t know if that was because it was fresher for him, or what. Nor do I think it would have made much difference in the eventual dissolution of our marriage. I was much younger and much less patient, way more ignorant and certainly unable to see beyond the end of my own nose. In retrospect, I probably pushed a lot of buttons for him, unintentionally.
So here’s what I have learned:
1) it’s not about you. It’s about a nightmare, lived once in life and over and over again in dreams.
2) it’s not about you, you didn’t do it, and you can’t change it.
3) when he talks, listen. Just shut up and listen. Nod and murmur occasionally to let him know you are still there, but be quiet.
4) when he shuts up, respect that.
Come to think about it, that’s pretty good advice for anybody who thinks they love anybody to follow. We all have our demons, now don’t we?
Oh yeah, one more thing: be careful touching a sleeping man, it can get you hurt.