I realized today that I spend way too much time wondering where I am. Not because I’m getting old and senile, even though I’m wondering about the senile part. More because so many places look like so many other places, and some days it feels like I’ve been to them all.

Scratching My Head

I left the commissary the other day, and couldn’t find my car at first. I know I parked my Impala on THIS ROW! But, that wasn’t the car I was looking for; that one was sold almost ten years ago! Stepping out of that commissary I was transported to another base I had been stationed at, and that took me right back to the car I was driving there. Wait, what state am I in?

My wife and I visited her parents last week. When we were leaving, my heart sank because of the six-hour drive home coming up. Wait, we’re only thirty miles down the road now. What state am I in? One BX looks like another, Walmart looks the same everywhere, and bases are bases: when you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. What base is this, again?

It doesn’t help that I have transited so many more places than I have actually been to. Six, eight, ten hours on the ground for a layover, and it really does start to blend together. Have I been here before? Oh, yeah, I remember that restaurant on the corner. No, wait, was it that one? Nope, that was in Colorado, remember? But wait, aren’t I IN Colorado? Crap, what state am I in? It gets confusing.

But I Really Wanted Coffee!

The other day I searched Google maps for this bookstore I knew. Nothing. I searched high and low around town because I really wanted to go to this ONE bookstore. Then I remembered it was in Shreveport. And I wasn’t. I have eaten in so many good local restaurants, but I’m hard-pressed to remember where they were. The coffee in that shop down the road was the best cup o’ joe I have ever had. Let’s go get a cup! Crap, that was in Dallas. And I’m not.

Army coffee has come a long way with Greenbeans and Starbucks almost everywhere you go. (U.S. Army Reserve Command)

Gotta take my truck in for service. I’ll call Fred and see when he can get it in. Damnit, Fred is in Little Rock, and I’m not. I forgot we moved again. Forgot we moved again? That sounds ridiculous, but it isn’t, and I guarantee some of you are nodding your heads right now because you know exactly where I’m coming from. Different houses, different cities, different states; same traffic, same commissary, same Walmart. So many different cars and registration requirements and insurance premiums. Does this state have emissions testing? Will my car have to be modified to drive it here? Call Fred!

Just Looking For My Car

Just like the parking lot saga from the other day, I sometimes forget what car I currently have. My situation may be a little different than some, but I have friends in the same predicament. I have had so many cars over the years I sometimes look for my old cars in parking lots. I couldn’t find my Impala, because I sold that hunk o’ junk years ago. It was modified to bring to the UK when I was stationed there and was never right again. Still drove it nearly every day for four years, then shipped it back to the states, where I traded it for another forgettable car. (Not really, the new one lasted 12 years and was passed on to my son. He trashed it, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. He DID trash it in another state, though…)

I almost don’t even register the fact it is a new town. We still have to register cars, set up utilities, change insurance over, and learn new roads. Family has to be informed of a new address, maybe a new phone number. The local job market and gas prices are looked at closely. Find the grocery and department stores, the right mechanic, and the bar that is not full of screaming college kids. One that has some Motown on the jukebox. There is one, I guarantee it. It really all does blend together.

What state am I in? What city am I in? What base is this? Which car am I driving? Are these really my kids, or did fairies swap them in the night? And if you are one of the lucky ones who have already retired, congratulations! How many times have you jerked awake in the morning just KNOWING you missed formation? Me? Only about a hundred. Then I remember, pull my DD-214 blanket up, and snuggle back into bed. Still not sure what state I’m in except in a state of rest.

My “get out of formation” blanket. (Task & Purpose)

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