The tiny island of civilian life on the Greyhound bus gave me three hours to stare out the window and think about the past eight weeks, about my life prior to those eight weeks, and how strange it seemed that things I had nothing to do with and had no control over placed me on this bus headed south to some damned place no one seemed to know anything about.
Once in Baltimore, I dragged my jam-packed duffel bag off the bus, and asked a few people where I could catch the bus to Fort Holabird.
More importantly, however, the trip meant three hours alone – away from other soldiers and drill sergeants for the first time in more than eight weeks.
It had been easy to forget that the world did not stop at the Fort Dix gates, but rather it was humming along quite nicely.
The trip from Fort Dix to Baltimore lasted approximately three hours.
It had occurred to me that it was the first time in eight weeks that I actually was sitting in a relatively comfortable seat. True, one sits in training rooms and in the mess hall, but those chairs are built for function, not for comfort.
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The uniform again provoked stares, smiles and glares from the other passengers. Besides, I was tired, and I just wanted to get to wherever the hell I was supposed to be.
â€œHereâ€™s the base, son,â€ the driver said, as he stopped the bus by the gate, in front of a guardhouse.
Shortly thereafter, duffel bag and I boarded the local bus that would take us to the base.