After War: The Weight of Life at Walter Reed
The Extra/ordinary Atmosphere of Walter Reed
This chapter is an ethnographic introduction to the space of life for injured soldiers and their family members. It conveys the unruliness of the injured body and the way it intrudes into daily life, requiring attention and disrupting the normative picture of what counts as ordinary. Examples include the twisted temporalities of rehabilitation, boredom, and friendship and the fragmented presence of war that makes the war zone of Iraq and this state-side military facility seem oddly contiguous. This chapter also introduces the Fisher House, the communal “home away from home” at Walter Reed that brings a generic middle-class American domesticity into this military medical space. This chapter shows what the problematics of sexuality and aspirational domesticity look like for soldiers and their wives.