Parallel Preparation (Not Really)

If you're a diligent reader of this blog, you may have noticed that I haven't been reviewing many books lately, and that's because I have been reading travel guides and hiking guides and (my favorite) eating guides, in preparation for our cross-country trip, but one writer was able to pull me away from this preparatory research -- the humorous British curmudgeon Geoff Dyer; his new book is called Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush and it is a study in the act of perpetual preparation, because-- as the men on board repeatedly tell him-- the lessons they learn about how to effectively and safely run an aircraft carrier are "written in blood"-- the bad things that can happen on the ship and in the air above the ship are multifaceted and multifarious, and Dyer describes them all (though he doesn't witness anything horrific, but he hears about soldiers being sucked into jet engines and blown overboard and killed by catapulting cables and the variety of ways to crash land, etc. etc.) and the book is both absurdist in its detailed observation and inspirational in how these men lead their lives, and it's great preparation for our cross-country trip, because no matter how claustrophobic it gets in the mini-van and no matter how annoying the kids get, this is NOTHING compared to what men and women have to endure when they are contained for months on an aircraft carrier (which, to Dyer's chagrin, has neither a bar nor a ping-pong table).

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