Here's a little oneshot of fun. I remembered Christopher's comment to Lorelai regarding the armed forced application in her graduation basket he sent her and decided to have some fun. This is loosely based on my boot camp experiences in the Navy some twenty years ago. Enjoy! please leave a review and let me know how you like it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Amy Sherman Palladino does. The following experiences were based on real experiences in the military. I am a proud veteran!
In The Navy
It's three a.m. It's three a.m.!!! It's three a.m. and I'm in the back of a government sedan on my way to the Military Entrance Processing Station. I think I've lost all sanity, either that or I REALLY want to get away from Emily and Richard. Yeah! That's it! I'd rather go into the Navy than deal with them anymore. Wow! On second thought, I HAVE lost my sanity. Too late to do anything about that now: I'm on my way to be sworn into active duty.
Oh my god, I'm so tired. I didn't sleep a wink and I haven't had any coffee either. I barely had time to pack the required necessities in the one duffel bag I'm allowed to take. I can't see straight. I'd kill for some coffee. Maybe I can convince mister uniform to make a pit stop for some.
"Excuse me, uh, Petty Officer Samuels? Do you think we could stop somewhere so I can grab a cup of coffee? I could really use the pick-me-up," I say to him as I lean forward from the back seat.
"We don't have time. We have a lot to do today," he says shortly.
No coffee? Hyperventilating beginning… feeling faint…breathe Lorelai. Not even the infamous Gilmore pout could change his mind. So I have no choice but to suck it up and deal. I wonder what Navy coffee tastes like? I guess I'll find out soon enough. I sit back and play with my hair, wrapping a lock around my finger. I can't believe I had to cut it so it would be above the collar! My beautiful long locks are gone. At least I should thank Emily for taking me to her hair stylist. I've heard getting a Navy haircut is brutal. My hair is short and it curls in big ringlets now. Mom said she hadn't seen my hair looking so cute since I was a little girl. Thanks Mom! Yes, I'm being sarcastic.
We finally pull into the parking lot of the MEPS. There's a lot of activity going on for the middle of the night! I get out of the car, grab my bag and follow Petty Officer Samuels inside. Then I'm ushered to a waiting area to sit. There's a lot of sitting and waiting. I had to be here at an ungodly hour to sit and wait? Do they know I don't do the whole sitting and waiting thing? They are so lucky I haven't had any coffee because the semi comatose state I'm in is the only thing keeping me in one spot.
After hours of filling out paperwork, getting yet another physical, which by the way was no fun, I've finally been deemed fit for service. I sit and wait again to be sworn in, along with dozens of other men and women. This is it! There's no turning back now. As I raise my right hand and repeat the oath, I realize I'm in the Navy now. Breathe Lorelai. There's more waiting before we are all loaded onto white school buses like cattle heading to the slaughter, or the airport. Not that cows would be flying on a plane, but we're about to. Gah! I'm so tired I'm delirious. Still no coffee or food for that matter. It is almost MIDNIGHT and we're finally boarding the plane! I can't feel my ass anymore from sitting so much. Orlando Florida here we come!
Kill me now! Please! After arriving in Orlando, we are stuck sitting in the USO, waiting again! I watch whatever is on TV, I'm too tired to even focus, and it occurs to me that this is probably the last TV I'm going to see for the next eight weeks. I've already got a serious coffee withdrawal headache and now I'm going to have to give up my TV addiction! Hell, party of one! I have officially lost it. I'm in hell, deprived of sleep, coffee and all of my favorite things, for what? For my freedom of parental tyranny of course! This had better be worth it.
"Alright recruits, muster up," barks a man in uniform. "From now on you will speak only when spoken to. You will address your Company Commander, and anyone in authority, as SIR or MA'AM. You will do as you are told and obey all commands. Fall in! I want two lines! No talking! Welcome to the United States Navy."
The Navy Recruit Training Center in Orlando is huge! We pass rows of buildings before pulling up to a building that would be our temporary home until our companies are fully formed. More paperwork and sitting around. Yay. My duffel is checked for contraband and I actually have to send stuff home. I am so not looking forward to having to wear the white granny panties I had to buy! I just found out the only set of civilian clothes I have, which are currently adorning my exhausted body, will also be sent home. I'm too tired to even contemplate the magnitude of it right now. I just want to sleep.
I finally climb into an upper bunk, sorry 'rack', and lay there listening to companies marching outside. It's after four in the morning! I just close my eyes when the lights in the barracks go on in a blaze of headache worsening reality. NO! It can't be time to get up! I just lay down!
"Rise and shine ladies," barks the Company Commander of my company, K078. "I am Petty Officer First Class Million."
"Like as in dollars," I inquire in my sleep-deprived state. I instantly regretted opening my big mouth.
"What is your name recruit," she barks, walking up to me.
"Uh… Lorelai Gilmore," I say, then remember, "Ma'am."
"Well Gilmore, since you're such a Chatty Cathy, you can drop and give me twenty!"
"Twenty what," I ask, cringing as the woman gets in my face.
"Twenty push-ups smart ass," she yells, spitting as she speaks.
I immediately drop to the linoleum floor and do push-ups. I'm gonna die! I don't exercise and my screaming muscles are reminding me of that fact. After I finish, I stand up, panting from the effort, and get back into line. From now on I'm keeping my mouth shut! My mouth has gotten me into trouble enough in life, but now I need to get through the hell that is Boot Camp. Since I laid down fully dressed, all I had to do was pull on my sneakers and I was ready for the day. I hope we get to eat breakfast. I'm starving! I wash my face and brush my teeth quickly before we have to muster for breakfast or 'chow' as meals are called. It's still dark outside as we head to the galley to eat. God, I hope they have coffee!
After waiting in long lines, we get twenty minutes to eat. I scarf down some rubber scrambled eggs and cold toast while trying to consume as much coffee as I can. It tastes nasty but if it'll help keep me awake, I'll drink tar. I think tar would taste better than this crap. I didn't even have enough time to drink enough tiny cups of coffee to keep my eyes open. It's gonna be a long day.
Over the next three days my company fills with seventy-eight women. Seventy- eight women who all seem to be PMSing at the same time! I thought I was cranky! I haven't slept but a couple of hours in the past few days. We continued processing in. We made our way along lines to get our uniforms, white t-shirts, socks cotton and wool, belts, a raincoat, a black cardigan sweater, a jacket, dress uniforms in summer whites and winter blues, which were actually black, go figure, and of course the lovely steel toed boots! We had two fabric marking pens in white and black to stencil our names on everything, including the green sea bag. Once we finished stenciling, we got dressed in our dungarees and blue chambray, long sleeved shirts. I wasn't thrilled about wearing two pairs of socks, including a wool pair, but I did as I was told.
We've now begun our first official week of training. It's all so overwhelming. There are lessons in how to make a rack according to military standards, how to fold our clothes properly, how to line up in formation according to height. How did I end up in the back? Oh that's right, it's shortest to tallest. We are drilled on everything. There are inspections every day. I haven't been doing as well as I'd like. Either I don't fold my clothes right or my rack is sloppy or my uniform is wrinkled. What do they want, it's summer and like a hundred degrees every day! I'm sweating in places I didn't think could sweat!
"Reveille! Reveille! You have two minutes to be ready for inspection of your rack," Petty Officer Million barked as she flipped on the light switch in the barracks. "Today is one five day."
I scurry to make my rack neatly, folding the wool blanket into a perfect square and folding down the corner as instructed. One five day? Oh crap! I remember other recruits talking about it one day in the Mess Hall as we ate. The first week, fifth day was a day of inspections and physical torture by the Company Commanders. It was the day that would break many a recruit. Well, they wouldn't break me. I grew up with Emily Gilmore! I could handle anything they dish out.
We all wait for the torture, knowing the 'cycling' was to begin. We go to chow and classes this morning, anticipating the worst when we return to the barracks. We have no idea what's ahead, but as I catch sight of a mattress on the roof and another one on the ground outside, I have a feeling this isn't going to be pretty! We march up into the barracks and my jaw hits the floor! The room looks like a tornado hit it. There are beds stripped of sheets and mattresses thrown around. Clothes are everywhere and lockers are in shambles. We go to our own racks and stand in front on the line. I think my mattress is the one on the roof because it isn't on my bed. There are Company Commanders from other companies in our barracks, yelling and screaming at us to clean up the mess.
I've never been one to be organized, and I could never keep my room clean enough for Emily's standards, but this would make my mother proud! I can't believe I'm ironing my underwear and measuring corners to make sure everything is folded perfectly. I thought I had it down, the whole anal folding thing! Apparently Emily must have trained these people on the art of inspection, because here I am pulling my mattress off the roof and dealing with the Armageddon that was my locker. I barely have time to refold everything and make my rack when the CCs yell for everyone to fall in on the line in front of our racks.
"Since you have no idea how things are done around here, you will learn the hard way," a big gorilla of a man in khakis barks at us. I could swear that bulging vein in his neck is going to burst, spewing a geyser of blood all over the waxed linoleum floors! And guess who would be stuck swabbing the deck? Yours truly! After being inspected on our racks, lockers and uniforms numerous times till we get it right, it's time to pay the piper.
"Since you can't comprehend the concept of team work, you will be cycled together," Petty Officer Million snarled at the trembling bunch of recruits. Please! I've seen my mother treat the maids far worse! Maybe Emily should have been a Company Commander! Petty Officer Million continued. "You will do all exercises together! When one of you screws up, you ALL screw up and you will begin AGAIN from the beginning! We will do this over and over until I hear seventy-eight voices in unison, performing as ONE! Do I make myself perfectly clear?"
"Ma'am, yes ma'am," we shout back, although not in unison.
"I can't hear you! Do I make myself clear?"
"MA'AM, YES MA'AM!!!"
"Fifty jumping jacks! Begin!"
"One ma'am! Two ma'am! Three ma'am! Four ma'am…" We continue to count until someone calls out off beat.
"And halt," gorilla man yells and we stop. "Be-gin!"
We do over a hundred jumping jacks. Then we have push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, leg raises, and let me tell you… keeping your feet six inches off the floor while laying on your back on a hard floor until the CC says "Down" is brutal! We do squat thrusts and jog in place. So this is being 'cycled'. Now I know what it feels like to die! Shit! I feel like I ruptured something or maybe I'm finally having that stroke I've threatened my mother with so often! I can't breathe.
The torture is over and the lesson is learned… TEAM WORK! We're all too stunned to do anything but pant from exhaustion, as we get ready to head to evening chow. I'm too tired to eat anything, but I know I need to. If I lose any more weight, I'm gonna be mistaken for a mast and someone will try to climb me. Ooh dirty! And so not even funny. After some tasteless food, it's back to the barracks for some free time before hitting the showers. I don't want to write home. I just want to sleep.
As I lay in my rack after lights out, I can hear the sounds of sniffling and quiet sobbing coming from all around the darkened barracks. Every muscle in my body hurts! Hell, even my HAIR hurts! I have a splitting headache and huge blisters on my feet from these damn steel toed boots. I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry! The pain is so bad that that it hurts to breathe. The tears start sliding down my cheeks anyway. Dammit! Suck it up Gilmore! You've put up with worse head games from your mother. I can't stand it any more: I'm lonely and I want to go home! I pull my pillow out from under my head, cover my face with it and cry like a baby. One five day is over, but the memory will remain.
I'm starting to get used to military life, or at least the constant state of exhaustion I'm in. Today after enduring early morning drills on the grinder, which is basically a huge asphalt field used for marching and drills, I fell asleep for a second during class and someone threw a shoe at me! I hate having physical readiness training at the crack of dawn. I hate running, although learning water survival, such as how to turn your dungarees into a floatation device in the huge pool, was kind of fun. We took turns jumping into the deep end of the pool with our clothes on and we had to undress, and yes we had bathing suits on underneath, and tie the legs together while floating. Then we had to give the pants a heave over our heads to fill them with air and then hold the waist tightly together. You put the tied inflated legs over your head and voila, instant life jacket!
The one thing I really hate is the bathroom, sorry HEAD. Can you imagine what it's like to get seventy-eight women to use the toilet in ten minutes? Ten stalls and no doors! At first I was like no way am I taking a pee with the whole world watching me, but I had no choice. When you gotta go, you gotta go! The showers are three poles with four showerheads on each. We have twenty-four women in the shower at a time. There are plenty of sinks and even counters to scrub our spats nice and white on.
Now I can honestly say I've seen more naked bodies than I've ever wanted to! I don't like showering with groups of women but I have no choice, so I figure I'd make the best of it. The head has great acoustics so, whether you're showering or polishing your boots to a mirror shine, singing definitely relieves the daily stress. Normally you'd have to get me drunk to sing in public, but these acoustics are so awesome I can't resist. Besides it's either sing or scream and I figure singing is more acceptable.
So here I am, getting the girls going with a rousing chorus of Livin' On A Prayer. Oh! We're halfway there! Oh-oh livin' on a prayer! Take my hand and we'll make it I swear! Oh oh livin' on a prayer! Everyone is singing and laughing. This is great! Suddenly the door to the head flies open, hitting the wall.
"Company K078 fall in!" Oh crap! All the girls are giving me you-are-so-gonna-die-for-this-Gilmore glares as we hurry to dress and get out there. I throw my t-shirt and shorts on my still wet body, slide my feet into my flip-flops and scurry out to muster with the rest of my company. We have to drop and do push-ups for being so loud. My wet hands and feet kept sliding, making it even harder. So much for relaxing.
I couldn't sleep all night, thinking I was about to get a blanket party from my fellow recruits during the night. I knew they would get their revenge somehow and I was going to have to take it. This morning we sit on the deck, hey I didn't call it the floor, and wait for instructions. It totally sucks not being able to sit at the table and benches that filled the middle of the room. This was a privilege to be earned and apparently we are nowhere near that level of privilege.
Today they are looking for volunteers for the drill teams and recruit choir. One thing I've learned in the two weeks that I've been here is that you don't volunteer for anything! You never know what kind of scut you would get stuck doing. So I keep my mouth shut as people raise their hands to swing state flags around or march with fake rifles while doing all kinds of maneuvers with them. All of a sudden, my worst nightmare becomes reality.
"Hey! Gilmore can sing! She should be in the choir!" I don't know who said it, but a bunch of shouts go out and some cheers too. Please don't make me sing. Please don't make me sing. Please don't make me sing!
"Okay, Gilmore, since your peers are so confident of your singing ability, let's hear you," Petty Officer Million said.
I swear I could see a wicked paybacks-are-a-bitch look in her eye! Gah! They're actually gonna make me do it too! Well it was either this or wait for some other crueler form of revenge. Anyway, how bad could it be? So I stand up and sing a chorus of You Light Up My Life. You Light Up My Life? The scariest moment of my life and all I can recall is a sappy Debbie Boone ballad? Oh I could hear the mocking now! Wait! They're not mocking but applauding?
I am an idiot! Really. I should be locked away in one of those love-me jackets, in a padded room, drooling as I sing Debbie Boone songs! Sure being in the Blue Jacket Recruit Choir has it's benefits, like not having to do rifle drills at the crack of dawn and we don't have to do mess cooking in the Mess Hall during work week We don't have to participate in most inspections, like rack, locker and uniforms but that's where the fun ends.
We have to get up earlier than everyone else and we have to pass the third physical readiness test in the third week! Everyone else gets to undertake this physical torture in the seventh week! After doing like forty-five sit-ups, and as many push-ups, we had to run two and a quarter miles around an indoor track. Twenty-six laps of agony! I hyperventilated the last ten laps, and nearly passed out at the end, but I did it! I've had more exercise in the past three weeks than I've had in my entire life! Now I won't have to do PRT any more during boot camp. I'm so done! I'd do a happy dance but as I can no longer feel my feet, or any other part of my body for that fact, I'll have to pass. I'm dancing on the inside though. I still don't like having to go to choir practice every day as the sun is rising in my face, blinding me from the glare, and the gnats are flying into my mouth as I sing!
The fifth week is Work Week. There are no inspections, no classes, just work. Most people go work in the Mess Hall. We call them 'mess cranks'. There are a few who get to work other places. The drill and choir team members get to work in the barracks, cleaning, doing all the laundry and standing all the watches. The best past is there are no Company Commanders around to constantly freak over everything!
Standing barracks watch at night is interesting. Sure you have to constantly walk around and fill in the logbook every hour, but it's quiet and you get a chance to be alone with your thoughts. I'm making my rounds again for the umpteenth time, flashlight in hand, making sure everyone is asleep in their rack. I thought I went into the Navy to get away from my parents and see the world, but I'm beginning to think this may all be part of Emily's big plan. Holy crap! I think she blackmailed me into this!
"Since your whole life is miserable, you might as well go into the military so you can get away from your horrible parents and see the world," Emily said to me during one of our many fights.
"Fine! Maybe I will!" What the hell was I thinking! She WANTED me to go in the military! I thought I was getting independence. She knew I was going to get structure and discipline! I was going to learn to be anally neat and detail oriented and… Emily-like! Oh she's good, that mother of mine. I'm brought out of my reverie by the sight of an empty rack. I shine my flashlight around and catch a glimpse of a sight that would give me years of mocking material! I have to suppress my giggles as I stare at a young recruit curled up on the floor, under her rack, her thumb in her mouth. It's going to be a long night.
I haven't felt this wild since high school! Today while most of my company is sweating in the galley peeling potatoes, I am swabbing the deck in the barracks, dancing around with the mop as we sing whatever we feel like. After we wax the deck to a brilliant shine, we decide to skate around in our socks to make sure it's slippery enough. Then we have the joy of ironing everyone's clothes that we washed. We figured we'd be nice since the rest of the company was jealous of our barracks bound status. They thought we just sat around and did a little cleaning. We work our asses off and get no appreciation for it! The lack of supervision makes working in the barracks less stressful and more fun, but it's just as hard work.
It's almost a shame that work week is over because the Company Commanders are back and ready to inflict more sadistic training sessions on us. The sixth week is called 'Hell Week' and I just found out why. This is the week where we have fire training and other stuff that's a joy to do in hundred-degree heat and tropical humidity. I've lost so mush weight from sweating that my uniforms are now hanging on me. During class we learn all about how to handle fires, how to deal with radioactive materials drills or Radcon drills as they're called.
We have to put out a real fire. After putting on a flame retardant suit, gloves and helmet, we line up on the fire hose and take turns until each person has had a chance to be on the nozzle in front, moving it from side to side at the base of the flames. I've watched more than one recruit pass out from the heat but I didn't. We Gilmores are nothing if not determined! The smoke makes my eyes burn even with the mask on. Crap! It's hot! When we've all had a chance at the nozzle, we get to rest for a bit in the shade and have a drink of water.
Next we learn all about chemicals we'll be dealing with while in the Navy and how to deal with them. We learn how to put on or 'don' a gas mask and how to use it. I stand in line outside a small building that was no bigger than a typical garage and watch groups of recruits exit the building, their eyes red and full of tears, as they cough and gag while carrying their gas mask. I try to fight the panic that is setting in as I walk in with the next group.
We stand in three lines with our gas masks on and activated, as tear gas is dispensed into the sealed room. Each recruit, one at a time, has to remove their mask, say their name and rank and exit the room. What am I doing here? I'm sweating so bad. Why did I leave everything and everyone I love? I'm beginning to hyperventilate. I'm next. I remove my gas mask. Oh my god! My eyes are burning like they're on fire. My throat feels like someone shoved a blowtorch down it and lit it! I can't breathe!
"Seaman Recruit Gilmore," I choke out, gagging. I want to run but I can't!
"Rory!" Suddenly I bolt up in bed, gasping and coughing. I'm in my own bed, in my own room. I'm sweating from my panic and my scream has brought my daughter running to my side.
"Mom! What's wrong? Are you ok," she asks me? All I can do is cling to her, shaking. It was a dream, just a dream. God, it seemed so real!
"Oh sweets, I'm alright. I just had a dream," I tell her. "I was in the Navy going through boot camp. I joined to get away from my parents. There were inspections and marching and I had to do millions of push-ups and sit-ups and running. I got in trouble for singing in the showers and had to join the choir and I had to put out fires and the tear gas! I couldn't breathe!" I was totally rambling.
"Whoa there Popeye! You're not making any sense. Wasn't Richard Gere there to sweep you off your feet and take you away?" She giggles at me. I'm traumatized and my only child thinks it's funny!
"No!" I pout and pull her close. "Please stay with your deeply traumatized mommy tonight." She sighs and snuggles up next to me in bed.
"Wait! You joined a CHOIR," Rory asks suddenly, the realization finally sinking in.
"Yeah and I auditioned with Debbie Boone's You Light Up My Life!" She looks at me for a moment and then the two of us burst out laughing.
"Only you Mom! I want to hear all about it tomorrow." We lay there still giggling.
A/N: Yes I was in the Blue Jackets Recruit Chorus and I sang You Light Up My Life to audition! Lol! I hope you enjoyed this. Please press the pretty purple button and let me know. Thanks. :D