Friday, March 4, 2011

Return to MEPS part 1

Oh what fun MEPS (Military Entrance and Processing Station) is.  Basically a place where prospective recruits or those re-enlisting from all over the state go to get physically examined and take tests before getting shipped to bootcamp or returning to active duty.  I've been talking to a recruiter about switching from reserves to active duty and a trip to MEPS was planned on my second meeting at the recruiter's office.  The last time I went to MEPS was three years ago, and after the fourth and final visit, I was always told I'd never have to go to MEPS again.  I mean, I'm already in the military, they know I'm healthy.  My dad said in his 31 years of service that he's only been to MEPS once.  I, on the other hand, have been four times before I went to bootcamp.  This trip would be my latest (and hopefully last) since June 2008.
I left on a Thursday night at 6:00 PM 1800 hrs.  The fifteen passenger van arrived but there were only two passengers on board, from Waco.  I handed the driver the ticket but otherwise didn't say a word to anyone.  The busdriver had some awful pop music on to break the awkward silence. We arrived at the hotel about an hour later.  We checked in, got our meal tickets, and our room keys.  As soon as I got checked in, I headed downstairs, knowing I had been roomed with the drone behind me.

I made the mistake of entering the hotel restaurant when another group of three MEPS'ers wandered in, so we ended up getting seated together.  No one complained or protested, though.  We made stupid smalltalk, discussed sports, made sure noone was THE GAY, and asked each other the usual questions. "What service you going?" and "You've been to MEPS before?", etc.

I saw my roommate enter the dining hall, so without saying another word, I quickly finished my meal and creeped my way out of there.  I took a sleeping pill so I would fall fast asleep before my roommate came back.

The next morning, I woke up before the alarm clock rang.  There was a buffet of scrambled eggs, potatos, sausage, cereals, orange juice, and bacon.  It was delicious.  Everyone was fiddling with their handy-dandy Smartphones until the bus arrived and off we went.  Smartphones are great.  I can't remember what humans used to do without smartphones.

It was a ten minute drive to the San Antonio MEPS from the hotel.  The security guards didn't even bother looking at each and every ID card.  I guess checking IDs wouldn't do any good if someone decided to hide a bomb in their bag.  We lined up, waited in line, got our papers, lined up in medical, and waited some more.  Got blood tests, physical exams, urinalysis, and other tests.  We were the last group out at 1200 hrs.  We got meal consisting of a 6 inch sub, a bag of chips, small cookies, a can of soda, and an apple.  The waiting room is just a medium sized room with about fifty chairs in front of a television.  As usual, the TBS channel was on showing a bunch of 90's sitcoms that haven't really aged well.

I waited until about 1600 hrs when my name was called.  I met with a representative and I was told they were closing up shop for the day.  We discussed when the best time would be to get interviewed and we could talk about what rate (job in the Navy) I could be (I got a 95 on my ASVAB, just sayin') and when I could finally go active.

I got on the van and was home by 1800hrs.  24 hours of my life basically to go to San Antonio to confirm I was already healthy.  I could have told them I didn't have aids.  Hell, the local NOSC has my health records up to date.  At least I got three delicious meals out of it.

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