Well, the honeymoon is over.
I guess it was only a matter of time. Most U.S. military deployed locations gradually become more repressive over time, and I've experienced this first hand at both Manas and Al Dhafra (though on the strength of climate alone Manas will probably always be the most desirable deployed location, at least for my money). The current place has been pretty loosey-goosey in some respects, while still making room for a number of inane restrictions. Still, this is what I'm used to and so it wasn't that big a deal. I can deal with some of the restrictions here in exchange for some of liberties we've enjoyed.
Foremost among them was the ability I had to check my email and update this blog from work. Generally I write posts (like the one from this morning) ahead of time and simply upload them at work, although there have been slow days where I've had time to write a post or two at my desk in between other things. That said I don't have a problem with uploading posts at the MWR tent.
The gmail thing is a bit of another matter. I shouldn't be that concerned about it. I can't check the account at work in Florida so being able to do so here was a bit of a gift. I've enjoyed it. I have literally hundreds of minutes of downtime during my shift at work and am not frankly wasting the government's time by checking email at work any more than the government is wasting my time by making me be there when there isn't anything to do. It's tit for tat.
Well, the tat got taken away today. This is especially vexing as I'm expecting word in the near future about a new addition to my extended family--two of them, actually, although one is two months away--and the going on that front has not been especially smooth lately. Since I can't take phone calls from home I've been looking to the webmail to keep me up to date if anything develops during the eight hours a day I'm at my desk.
Oh well. Might as well get used to it now. The policy isn't going to change. I can hardly wait for October, when yet another new restriction is put in place, namely one requiring all Air Force members to wear the Air Force PT uniform at all times except when in another uniform. I'll have to wear the PT uniform to go take a piss in the middle of the night (oh, you can bet I won't actually be doing that). I only have one pair of shorts and two shirts; I can buy more, but since I'll be getting out of the service in a few more months it's an utter waste of money. That and they aren't actually selling the PTU in the exchange here. I don't plan to stop going to the gym every day, so it will be interesting to see what happens given the three-day laundry turnaround in this place. Bad policies sometimes cause unfortunate side effects, and one of those will likely be the rankest pair of gym shorts anyone has ever seen. Perhaps I'll spray them with Lysol every night. I plan to burn them before I come home regardless.
This is how my life has felt for the past five years in the military. None of the petty restrictions put in place are of the sort that make existence untenable or life not worth living. Instead, they're small annoyances that suck joy from existence, that make each day just a bit more drab and lifeless. At least I have only a brief time left in this small space.