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May 6th, 2005

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08:17 am - Unconnected events
Dear Miss Manners,
I bought a present for my sister-in-law yesterday and the shrink wrap on the package is torn. It was a special order, so I can't just pick another one. Here's my question: Do I leave the torn shrink-wrap on, or can I remove it (thereby allowing me to glance inside at the present very carefully)?

So the night before last, I discovered who the new enemy is. When I had dreams of persecution in the past, they were always blonde NAZIs. Now they're Arabic terrorists.
In all of the these dreams that I'm about to describe, I'm a soldier of some type.
In the first dream, we were escorting an orphan boy to a medical facility. It was be the last military installation he'd see before being moved into a normal child's environment. I didn't know what they wanted with him, and I didn't ask, but I'd been his escourt for awhile, and I liked him, as I liked most kids. His English was improving rapidly, and I thought we had decent rapport. Such decent rapport that after the doc was finished with him, I let him go around by himself and say goodbye to people as we prepared to leave. When he came out of the secure lab, he was carrying a cellphone which he then returned to the GI who'd given it to him with a wave and cheery "bye."
I froze cold. As command leader I had to decide the next course of action. Had the boy called a terror cell and prepared an intercept and a "free" for himself which would return him to the terrorists who would use him again for their own purposes? Or had it just been an innocent thing, maybe he hadn't made a call at all, or had called another friend, a child just to catch up, (Why it never occured to me to check the cellphone logs, I'll never know, of course that wouldn't have helped if it were an innocent child.) I had to quickly measure motivation and response: If it was a call to a terror cell, wouldn't he have tried to hide the call so I wouldn't suspect? Or maybe he wasn't thinking that quickly? Or wanted to give me a chance to change the outcome? A thousand thoughts and senarios passed through my mind. I decided the safe course of action was to leave, but to take an extra team of combat soldiers (a sweeper team, I called them, shades of The Pretender). I explained my actions to the boy; explaining it wasn't because I didn't trust him, but I was concerned that they could triangulate the cellphone even if he hadn't called them directly. My impulse was to stay there overnight and prepare an ambush, but I thought leaving with the extra manpower and a warning to be careful was the right course of action.
I woke up.

When I went back to sleep, I returned to the dream, but stepped-ahead to the next day. We returned to the medical facilitiy (with the boy) to help with final cleanup. They'd emptied the lab over night and honestly, I have no idea why we were back. I stood around while "they" did whatever they needed to finish up. The place was stripped pretty bare, including the removal of the time and pressure locks that had provided a sterile, contaminate-free medical lab. We left one at a time. I sent the boy out before me, and there were two other people, including Ann, the QA Goddess (a soldier in this dream) and another female soldier. Suddenly felt wrong. I didn't get the signal to come up fast enough, or something. It was off. I broke off my conversation with Ann and went into super soldier mode, pricking up my ears for sounds. I didn't hear anything, so no one was coming in. Whoever it was was waiting for us to come out. I motioned for the other girls to stay with me and they followed me into what had been the medical lab. There was a door which had been barricaded (all the other exits had been barricaded when this was our medical facility), but was now free. I pressed the lock quickly back into the door, so it looked like it was locked, and we went out of the back door, locking it behind us. the building was an L shape, and we were behind the long side facing a pleasantly grassy hill. We climbed up the hill moving towards the front of building. I looked towards the building and didn't see anything out of place. I checked my radio, clipped to the front of my belt. No response. "Jammed." I said to the girls.
We moved further towards the front of the building, trying to see around the long side to the front of the building.
Then I woke up.

When I went back to sleep, I did not return to that dream. I was a solider again, in a team of all men this time, and not the commander this time. I was helping secure the prisoner who was cursing us in arabic, most of them I recognized. (Why is it that swear words are amoung the first you learn in any language, I want). He pricked me with a toothpick on my arms, on or around my wrists. There were three small holes on one arm, and four on the other, right together in a line. I took very little notice at the time it happened, because I was mostly concerned about getting him secured for the interrogation, but afterwards I asked.
"What did you do?"
"You'll know soon enough."
"They'll bleed when they take your blood pressure. The force." He volunteered.
Great. The doctor was already approaching me with the blood pressure cuff to see if he'd poisoned me. The doc hearing his comments. (We were in two separate rooms, solidiers and doctor in one room, and him framed in the doorway of the second, by himself, tied to a chair), she didn't tighten the blood pressure cuff too much. She instead applied it, and went across the room to her desk and consulted some notes. "86 or 87 normal?" She asked me. Waking me has no idea what those numbers mean, circumference of arm, amount of pressure applied? Whatever. The dream me answered instantly, "86."
"Good." said the doctor. She looked up a moment later from her calculations, "130/70?"
"That would be within acceptable ranges for me." I acknowledged.
"You'll be dead in 3 days!" the prisoner cackled.
"Damnit." I said. I started to go on a rant, "You know I joined the miliary so I could die quickly. The idea is..." but the other guys stopped me, saying that I shouldn't give him the satisfaction.
"Fine." I said. I started singing in Hebrew figuring at least I could torture him. I sang one song alone, then started a second one, "Ootzu Eitza" which translated means "Plan a plot and it will be annuled; say whatever and it will not stand, for G-d is with us" He apparently recognized the song, for he sang along with us in Arabic which isn't entirely dissimilar (or at least wasn't in my dreams). Then the entire room was singing along. He was doing it to annoy me, but I wasn't annoyed. I picked another song that I was sure he would recognize enough of the words too to be annoying, "Yedid Nefesh," (Beloved of my soul). It took me awhile to remember the words, I kept visualizing the wrong song. I woke up on the second line of the song, imaginging how long it would be before he broke, and if he got back to his terror cell, refusing to ever use something that didn't kill someone instantly, or at least within the first half hour.

Current Music: Romantics - What I Like About You

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[User Picture]
Date:May 6th, 2005 12:24 pm (UTC)
I'd remove the wrap.
[User Picture]
Date:May 6th, 2005 01:09 pm (UTC)
I guess it depends on how bad the plastic is torn.
[User Picture]
Date:May 6th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC)
I'd just pull the shrink wrap...if I have the right sister-in-law, I'm betting she won't care much.
[User Picture]
Date:May 6th, 2005 04:37 pm (UTC)
Yea!! Thanks guys!
[User Picture]
Date:May 6th, 2005 05:03 pm (UTC)
Dear Marci,

Does the packaging look bad with the torn shrink wrap? Would the package look better without the shrink wrap? Is the item inside typically wrapped in shrink wrap? Is it an item that requires hermetically sealed packaging? Food or medical supplies? Would your sister-in-law look at the non shrink wrapped package and think "Oh no, my cheap sister-in-law is giving me a used present she found on a street corner."?

If you can answer "no" to 4 of these 6 questions, remove the shrink wrap.

Your "not a shrinking violet" friend,
Miss Manners
[User Picture]
Date:May 6th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
1. I think it does. She probably wouldn't notice either way.
2. I think so, but I was having trouble deciding.
3. I don't know. It's a two volume book set so it could go either way. I wouldn't be surprised to see it shrink wrapped or loose.
4. Definitely not.
5. Definitely not.
6. Even used this would be an impressive present. It's a 2 volume set of sheet music for every song Billy Joel has released (excluding the classical album of last year) for guitar and piano.
[User Picture]
Date:May 6th, 2005 07:23 pm (UTC)
Your quiz answers reveal to me that you should remove the shrink wrap.

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