The battle is over, but have I won the war? We shall see, I suppose. This particular round was interesting to say the least. I engaged the enemy on foreign soil and was pushed to my limits. In times of war, it is useful to have a mantra. This last week, my mantra was: "It is what it is," because sometimes a little existential acceptance is all you need. Call it "rolling with the punches," I call it survival.
I find myself in a parking lot in downtown Los Angeles at 3am. This is the beginning. I am disoriented and scared, but the battle has begun and the troops are engaged. I set up my command center and begin strategic maneuvers. It doesn't help that my superior officer has chosen to sit this one out. I am alone and must make the best of it. Major Toad begins what can be described as a bit of mutiny, but I stand my ground. By noon, the evacuation is complete and we move the entire unit to higher ground.
On the way, I am accompanied by two foot soldiers. One espouses the dangers of mistakenly thinking about Winona Ryders vagina. I don't and we arrive on a snow covered hilltop that evening. I refuse my quarters, as someone has already made use of the latrine. I am in bed by 11pm. Day one is over.
The snow has presented a problem for some of the vehicles and Toad has positioned my command center far from the front lines. My driver cannot get the generator started and I am left without power. Limited communication makes it difficult to assess the battle and my driver (a former underwear model, and merman from Madonna's "Cherish" video) apologizes profusely for the faulty equiptment. "It is what it is," I tell him and he tries to convince me to help make a documentary about people who are eaten by alligators. I politely refuse.
There is beauty all around and depsite the cold, spirits are not yet broken. I arrange to travel to the next position with only one soldier. Don't ask, don't tell. I capture clouds along the way.
We start the day in the rain. By now, the troops are tired and tensions are high. Midday we move to the lakeside and try to work out the plan. It is a long battle and many are wounded. I try to inspire hope. The war is almost over. We shall prevail. I remind everyone that we are on the same side. This does little to ease the pressure.
Early morning miscommunication. The frontline is lost, literally, and cannot find the battefield. Maps are useless and strong leadership is called for. I remain calm throughout. We move once again, to the final batteground, closer to home and the end.
At this point, I am ready for a pint. After returning to the City of Angels, I remedy this longing with some of the soldiers and finally make my way home. It was an ugly war. My skin is tired.
Next time, I hope to make love.