I've been home now for 2 1/2 months. I've spent a lot of that time traveling and visiting friends and family. I think I'm doing pretty well readjusting to living here- it doesn't bother me anymore when I drive at night, and I don't swerve away from objects on or near the road (though I do tend to follow them with my eyes). Crowds and people never bothered me after my return, and sudden noises only did so occasionally.
Iraq did change my driving habits, though- I've always been a bit more of an aggressive driver than most, and I'm worse now and more vocal about it. I think living in Idaho makes it particularly bad- drivers here are some of the worst I've seen, and I don't react to them particularly well.
For a week or so now, I've been noting all the stupid things I see while driving. The truck that made a right turn from the left turn lane during a red light was notable, as was the truck that tried to turn left during a red light, got caught in the intersection and still tried to creep through the stream of oncoming traffic. I noticed the van that turned from a cross street into the turning lane, because the driver got impatient with the car in front of him that was actually trying to turn and pulled into oncoming traffic to pass.
The worst incident for me occurred while I was traveling towards Oregon, heading for my parents house. I was the second car in a stack of five or six when I noticed a small white car parked by the side of the freeway. Suddenly, he pulled out into the right lane, and nearly caused a pileup.
The last time something like that happened, I was gunning on a trip from Falluja to Ramadi. We were passing by a "named area of interest"- a hot spot known for multiple sniper, grenade, IED and VBIED attacks. When the little white car suddenly edged into my truck, he was too close to bring the machine gun to bear.
I was tightening my finger on the trigger of my M4 and wondering idly to myself if I was too close to fire a 40mm high explosive grenade into him with being hit by the fragmentation when the driver looked up. I saw in his eyes the terrorized realization of the dumbass move he had just pulled, and how close it had brought him to death.
I remember that Iraqi driver every time I see stupid maneuvers occurring on the roads at home, and I wonder if the American driver sporting the yellow "Support Our Troops" ribbon understands that his driving would literally risk his life at my hands in another country.
I know he doesn't understand, and so I am angry once again about the blissful ignorance of my countrymen.