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I Am Clever


A Fine Line - Between Chaos and Creation

Everybody seems to think I'm lazy; I don't mind, I think they're crazy...

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Sunday, Week 4 - What Cadets/Military Has Taught Me
WL - Lingerie
Week 4 is upon us! Therefore, have two more things I've learned from cadets/the military.

7. To handle [mass]communal living

Those of you who know me (and anyone who's read the bio on my profile page) know that I'm part of a large family; hence the note on the header up there. Living in a house with 8 people (parents/siblings; myself included) is one thing... living with 40-50 people is another thing altogether.

Photos for scale (none of the people are me, and I apologize for the quality/subject matter in advance):

Don't ask for context, because I don't remember it. Anyway, this is roughly one half of the wing I lived in as a course cadet (not the same one every year, but they're all basically identical).

Again...no context. This is the other part of the wing, with me just facing the other way. The photos weren't taken on the same day, though.

Shot of the staff cadet wing; I'm on the second to last bunk. There's fewer people in there, due to the fact that staff cadets get double lockers, but the building is still roughly the same size/layout.

You learned quickly to keep to your own little corner, only spreading out if others were okay with it (read: your circle of friends). You also learned the ability to not step on the people you were living with's figurative toes; nothing worse than disturbing someone's starch-drying shirt, or taking up a shower stall forever (more on that below). Now I literally could live anywhere; in a space as small as being packed in tightly into a corner (I actually was last week at the competition for sleeping arrangements) without disturbing people. Not that I want to live like that, mind you - I'm just saying I could.

8. The importance of showering regularly and how to do it quickly

The cadet program, especially when it comes to summer training, is big on hygiene. And when I say big, I mean big. As in, I'm pretty sure if they could, they'd make us all subscribe to the Church of Showering Thrice Daily and bow at the feet of the patron saint that is the Senior Nursing Officer.

As it is, everyone - from 12YO General Training cadets up to officers coming back for their zillionth summer - has to sit through the "blah blah brush your teeth regularly/use deodorant/do your laundry/shower regularly and USE SOAP [Ed. note: you'd be surprised at the number of cadets that don't] etc etc" hygiene briefing at the beginning of the summer/their course.

Add that to the fact that you're (for the most part; there are exceptions) working away in the hot sun all day, either under training or administering training, and showering regularly wasn't an issue for me - mentally, anyway. Finding the time/shower stalls free was another story; there are 4 shower stalls per wing. Add that to the number of people living in the wing (40-50), and you're not in for a good time.

Granted, the only time we'd all be in there at the same time was the evenings for lights out/bed, but still. You had roughly 4 different divisions (training groups) of cadets living in each wing and what you did, you did as a group, so if you were in there, your division (either male or female, depending on the blocks) was, too. This means that at any given time (depending on training/duties) there were at least 12 or so people in the wing potentially needing to shower. Most times, there were more.

As such, you learned to move quickly - grab your things, prepare to wait in line for 10-15 minutes (or more), and when it was your turn, you booked it. No extra time in there; time was money taken away from your teammates, or other people you were living with. And when you're stuck with these same people for 2/3/6/7 weeks... you didn't want to be That Person.

I now have showering down to a fine art - nobody can accuse me of taking forever or using all the hot water. All you need is 7-8 minutes and to clean like you mean it.

Book-wrecking tomorrow! I'm excited. :D

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I won't lie; some of these skills I didn't necessarily fully pick up from cadets (no way I was going to get away with zero life skills up til the age of 13; not being the oldest. :P but cadets is where I fine-tuned a lot of these previously-known skills and/or learned to appreciate them.

And thank you - I'm glad you're finding these anecdotes interesting. Cadets has played a big part in my life, and I wanted to showcase that, because so many people out there don't know just how much you can take away from these sorts of programs (the mass assumption is future forced military service), which isn't true).

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