So, I woke up around 4pm today, which marks the second day in a row I have gotten 8 hours of sleep. After not sleeping more than 4 hours nightly for a few weeks adjusting to the night shift, this was a relief. After waking, I decided to do my laundry. You can drop it off, and KBR will do it for you, but that takes 3 days, and I was plum out of skibbies. So, I elected to do it myself.
I haven't bought Tide laundry detergent in a while, but the 1L bottle I bought was $9.75. That seems expensive - funny how you can get some things cheap here, but other simple items cost a fortune. Anyway, I had to walk a little farther to a functioning laundry as the one within my housing sector had a fire last night. (I heard something about poor wiring, too much lint, and canvas tent). After finishing my laundry, I began the walk back to my "hootch", and realized it was dark and I was without the required reflective belt.
In dim light hours, active duty members are required to wear reflective belts. If they have backpacks, their backpacks need reflective belts also. The army requires reflective belts anytime they wear PT gear - this explains why there is so much reflection of light in the weight room, and watching a basketball game on the court under the lights is little distracting. So, the air force has the wisdom to note that reflective gear is probably only useful at night, but the army has the forethought to know that if you are wearing your reflective gear, then you don't have to rush home at dusk like Cinderella and her pumpkin chariot at midnight. Alas, I completed the laundry and stepped out the tent, into the darkness sans belt. One sargeant approached me to say, "Sir, you are not wearing your reflective belt," to which I replied, "then how did you see me?" He was unamused, but it helped ease my anxiety that I was out of uniform on the remainder of the walk back to my luxury quarters.
Like most things in the military, the reflective belt makes sense, on a population-based analysis. Sure, if we put everyone in reflective belts, then we will reduce auto-pedestrian accidents by 25%. Perhaps, we just altered natural selection, and saved ignorant people who put themselves in front of vehicles (?) Yes, I wear my reflective belt as I am told, and I don't think that it is that big of a deal in it of itself. It is the cumulative requirements of things that I need to have on my person when I leave my hovel to go to work that chafes me. At home this consisted of: wallet, beeper, keys, cell phone +/- briefcase. When I came to the military, it was: wallet, beeper, keys, cell phone, badges, hat, and remembering which day of the week to wear which uniform. Here, I have wallet, beeper, keys, badges, gun, reflective belt, hat +/- extra uniform and shoes. The nurses think it is funny that I never remember all of these items. Don't even get me started about the 9mm I am packing. see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7U38QCRMVw