The Fifth Estate Examines the Fourth Dimension in the Third World in the First Person…Got a Second?

There’s no such thing as Kandahar Airfield Standard Time. I think everyone here counts the time in theatre and, more importantly, the time until they go on leave or leave for good in a different way. But you can bet they’re all counting it. Some people think my methodology is a little too obsessive rigid. I’ll let you decide.

Time has very little meaning here. As I think of earlier events I can’t tell if they happened yesterday, last week or in 2009. If you wanted to make a movie about this place it would be a freaky hybrid of Apocalypse Now and Groundhog Day. So, you need to do something to mark the passage of time.

When the Canadian military was here there was a “circle of freedom” excel program being sent around that graphically displayed how much time had elapsed/was left in a pie chart. The Ops officer was pretty proud of the way he’d managed to configure it with his dates. He was a little disappointed that I had produced my own spreadsheet/pie chart 6 months before he even got here. Damn Newbies.

Shave off the time

While I love Excel to an extent many wrong thinking people would consider irrational, I’ve developed a much more sophisticated way to measure time. The base unit in my system is the “shave”.  I shave exactly every 4 days. As an aside, when a senior Canadian Chief Warrant Officer (AKA Master Chief, Sergeant-Major…the disciplinary guy) of my long acquaintance visited, he noted my scruffy look and suggested I shave. “Know why I didn’t shave today, Chief” I asked. “No”. “‘Cause I didn’t fuckin’ feel like it”. I love being a civvy.

The Quaddiurnal Shaving SystemTM will soon, I’m sure, be comparable to the Dvorak keyboard in cultural impact and popularity. Every two shaves is more than a week! We usually do an 8 week (56 day) rotation in KAF. I shave at the hotel in Dubai before my flight here. I then have exactly 14 shaves/rotation. 14 is a lot lower number than 56 so I have less time here than if I shaved every day. Get it? Simple eh?

It’s also very important to have milestones. A lot of people talk about months or weeks left and get all happy when they have, say, 3 weeks left. Others rejoice when they reach the half way point. I say, “Why not have more milestones so that happy feeling happens more often?”. Here are the milestones I rejoice in although I only do it silently in my head as many others just don’t seem to get it:

Days Left/Milestone
52/13 shaves
49/<50 days+7weeks
48/12 shaves
47/Awesome prime number I have always liked
44/Eleven shaves
42/Six weeks + of course, the meaning of life, the universe and everything
40/The same number of days Moses, Jesus or Wiley Coyote (I always get those guys mixed up) wandered in the desert or something + Ten shaves
37/Another cool prime number but not as cool as 47
36/Nine shaves
35/Five weeks
32/Eight shaves
28, 29, 30 or 31/ One month left
28/Four weeks + Seven Shaves + Half way
24/Six shaves
21/Three weeks
20/Five shaves
16/Four shaves
14/Seventy-five percent done + Two weeks
12/Three shaves
9/Single digits
8/Two shaves
7/One week
4/One shave

Any blog readers that are in KAF are welcome to tailor my system to their rotation schedule. You’re welcome.

Bottom Line

I happen to be doing a non-standard 58 day rotation and it’s fuckin’ with my system.

“Time is the longest distance between two places.” – Tennessee Williams

“I’m not insane, my mother had me tested.” – Sheldon Cooper

9 thoughts on “The Fifth Estate Examines the Fourth Dimension in the Third World in the First Person…Got a Second?

  1. I may try to go one better, especially as my rotations are quite a bit longer than yours.
    3 (months) – 3 shaves
    2 (months) – 2 shaves
    1 (month) – 1 shave
    D-Day (departure day) – 1 shave

    3 is a much nicer number than 52 or 56 or 13 or whatever !

    • Kerry,
      That’s a crazy system! Months aren’t all the same size! How can you have a unit of time called a shave that is not consistent? That’s a recipe for chaos and anarchy.

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