David Dodd 1:48 a.m., May 18
I stood in front of my rack trying to keep from crying. Having just woken from a nap and ready to leave base for the weekend, I could not find my I.D. It had been on my rack while I napped, though I knew it had fallen out, there was no sign of it anywhere. I searched underneath everything, even pulled the mattress out and the sheets off hoping it would show up. I checked trash cans; maybe someone had picked it up and thrown it out. I checked my lockers; maybe I had put it away and forgotten. Maybe this, maybe that. The only certainty was that it was gone. To think that I couldn't leave the base, or even the barge all weekend, made me so angry at the world I wanted to crawl right back into my rack and sleep it all away.
Trying to keep my wits together, I went downstairs to the security office and asked if anyone had turned in an I.D.? No one had, of course. I knew from my experiences that if it had been turned in, the security personnel would be boneheads about it anyway. First, they would not know they had it until I made them look. Look again. Look again, oh, there it is! Then they would try to ask me questions about how I lost it? They'd lean in to show their outranking crow, and ask who's responsibility is it to keep track of something so important as an I.D.? Then, if I tried to point out that I'm not an idiot; everyone misplaces their keys at some point, they would hold the I.D. in front of me and say something like, "Maybe we should hold onto this until you can prove you'll not lose it again." Oh, it's fun to deal with this caliber of personnel. Give them a bit of power and your day can go downhill fast. The good news, though, is that the I.D. had not been recovered. Wait, how is that good news?
I asked security questions like, "Do you have a rover that walks through the berthings? Who was last on watch?" These questions seemed to bother the guy working in there. For each of my inquiries he asked me a question about my situation that I had already explained. He was slow on the uptake and it was obvious he simply didn't want to actually work. Then I asked him to imagine it was his I.D., and it was he who may not leave base all weekend because it was gone. What questions would he ask? He didn't like this, either. The girl in there understood and tried to help. I appreciated that. What it came down to, though, was that I could only fill out paperwork on a missing I.D. and wait until Monday to get a new one. This had to be done on the ship, which would mean someone would have to meet me on the ship, or walk me over, and verify I am who I am.
I went back to my rack and looked all over again. Maybe I was in such a frantic state of mind earlier that I had missed it? I traced my fingers along edges, used my flashlight to search crevices, dug through to the bottoms of the trash cans, checked yesterday's pockets. I said a prayer in hopes of clearing my mind and remembering where I had put it; some obscure hidden spot that I would never normally put it. No such luck.
Back down to security I went. This time with the intent of being brought onto the ship to fill out my paperwork. This time around only the guy was there. I asked if I could get an escort. Still, he seemed disinterested. Someting in the way he wheeled his chair to the other desk ever so reluctantly, reached out to the phone, and tried to figure out what to do with it. He managed to contact the ship and request an escort for me. While we waited for a response, I realized that instead of having them walk way over here to walk me back, why not have them meet me at the quarterdeck where they will be asking for my I.D.? It would save the trip of an escort, right? Well, the guy looked at me and asked what I wanted? I said I wanted what made the most sense for everyone. He said I should make up my mind.
This is when things got ugly. Being that each and every time any of my belongings have walked off (my chained bicycle on the pier, my Ipod in the secured armory, my under garmets hanging to dry when laundry was shut down for a month, my uniform dress shoes that were placed with everyone else's, my uniform shirt re-labeled with someone else's name, the rocker from my uniform cut right out with the sleeve, my cover, my cover again) has been handled by only a shrugged shoulder, and then this guy had yet to do more for me than wait for me to leave, I could sense the fighter in me rising with clenched fists.
I asked him if he really wanted to help me or not?
He suddenly came alive. Blood rushed to his head, he stood up, puffed his chest, towered over me, and told me to shut the door. I did. Then began the screaming. First he accused me of having a bad attitude. I interrupted him to clarify that I was now frustrated and fed up and yes, if there was an attitude it was right now, but the only thing I was guilty of previously was asking for help. He didn't like that so he yelled about it. I could see that he wasn't high ranking, and obviously hadn't learned yet how to deal with people. Or how to buck up and do his job so that he didn't anger the people coming to him in the first place.
He continued yelling at me and finally expressed his position of absolute power over me when he suggested I be brought back to the ship in handcuffs. Oooh! Can I? Now that would just about solve everything now, wouldn't it? Unfortunately, for him, I've already faced many Chuck Norris wanna-be's and was not intimidated by this. He could tell, I guess, or maybe he knew that he had no cause to put me in handcuffs, so he kicked me out of the office instead.
I was so irritated that I decided to handle things on my own, which is what I nearly always end up doing anyway. The requested escort met me halfway over and though I had a walking companion, and someone to identify me on to the ship, I felt alone in my ongoing battle for genuine assistance. All a person in distress (on any level) wants to hear is, "yeah, I got your back."
I've made it a full twenty four hours on the barge without crying myself to sleep, trying to prank security, or anything else that would only cause me more misery. I had wanted to stand in front of the security window and just stare at them for a few hours but someone talked me out of it. I also really want to do anything that requires me to leave base; watch a finger puppet show, watch grass bowling at Balboa, try to call other people's dogs, ya know, just anything that means I get away from base. I can't, though, I can't taste the richness of a Coldstone ice cream or bask in the sun at Mission Beach (missed that volleyball game) or be generally thankfully for time off and away.
In retrospect, it is my fault for having nothing fun to do this weekend. Maybe I can't leave base, but I was offered to spend time in handcuffs.