july 29, 1999 I got the phone call.
in march of my senior year ('99) I enlisted in the Navy, scheduled to leave in Oct. in may I requested to leave early; asap after my high school graduation. they told me that they would submit this request, under the circumstance that I was ok with having as little as 24hrs notice to ship out. done and done. it was a thursday morning, a month and a half after marking my spot in history as being a part of Deer Valley High School's inaugural graduating class, and my mother stood in my doorway, waking me up to tell me I have a phone call.
"you're recruiter is on the phone."
still groggy, "huh? what? paul?" and it suddenly hits me. I spring out of bed and dash downstairs to the phone on the wall unit in the living room, as I catch my reflection in the mirror, my self-bleached hair (which was more orange than blonde) was every which way but awake. it's about 0730 hours and he asks if im ready.
"um, yeah. yes. yeah I'll go."
"ill be over in twenty to pick you up."
and I set the receiver down on the cradle and looked up into the mirror- I am finally outta here. in twenty minutes, IC2(SW) Paul Breiterman arrived at my house, obviously my mom was awake, but I think that was about it. I triumphantly got in the front seat and we drove to MEPS Oakland. After a little hang up with some paperwork involving my middle name (or lack thereof) I was ready to swear in, this is when they give me the news. I had the choice of leaving at any point that weekend. I didn’t have to go right then, turns out my swearing in was good enough for the numbers game, but I could fly out monday if I wanted to. so I chose monday, aug 2, 1999. I figured, I know when im leaving, might as well take a couple days to say g'bye to some folks, and that’s exactly what I did. I spent very little time in my house that weekend, and well, there wasn’t much notification id give my parents if I was going to, what were they going to do anyway, kick me out? ive already got that planned, thank you.
today is july 29, 2009. this coming monday is aug 3, 2009. almost to the day, ten years ago, I embarked on a journey that would forever change my life. a sense of freedom and independence was given to me in that envelope that carried my orders to NTC Great Lakes, I was 17 years old. that freedom was limited by military restrictions and codes of conduct. this time, im leaving antioch yet again, to embark on another chapter that could very well determine the majority of the rest of my life. there is an even bigger sense of freedom and independence this time around, but im more a master of my wits and desires than I was at 17, absolutely, but this is a different world. In the military if you didn’t show up they'd drag you there, here, they'll let you slide, they'll let you hang yourself. that’s the real stuff right there, the world that needs self motivation and drive. check.
sometimes I have a hard time realizing it has been ten years since then, I know ive experienced a lot, good and bad, tears both of laughter and sadness, coast to coast, sober and smashed, I was there. I often say that going into the Navy was the best decision ive ever made in my life thus far, and I wholly mean that. Going to CSULB will probably rank up there as well, ill let you know in two years when I send out commencement event announcements ;)
if history works in cycles, then ive found when it repeats. ten years. until the next cycle starts, stay tuned, because if this round is even as half as exciting and trying as this past one was, then we're in for a hell of a ride.