07 December 2008

Do better.

For those who know me outside of the blogosphere, they are familiar with my favorite go-to phrase for folks who are either lame, incompetent, greatly lacking in a trait deemed necessary or just plain stupid. That phrase is this: Do better. (Generally said in a defeated tone with loads of exasperation in your voice. It's more effective that way.)

It actually works in many situations. Someone cut you off? Do better. Incompetent co-worker? Do better. Get the wrong order from the drive-through? Do better. Dog has an accident in the house? Do better. It works for just about everything and I find it quite handy. Plus it helps me reign in my cursing.

I hear you asking why the dissertation on my catch-phrase of choice? Aaah, because we had our first unit event. It was a Hail and Farewell held at a very classy location. Think wings, cleavage and tight orange spandex shorts. Swiss and I get there early and meet the man of the hour who was more busy programming his new cell phone than talking to people. Do better. Then we meet the guy who Swiss is replacing in a few months. Now that is one squared away guy, he was cordial and inquisitive and very polite. 1-1. Not too bad so far.

Here's where it gets interesting. The fellows with wives start showing up. We all do our polite introductions and everyone knows that Swiss is the new guy, ergo I am the new girl. And you know what? Not a single wife came over to talk to me. Not one. There were 7 of them. Yes, in fact that would be 7 Do Betters. (1-8) Now I certainly wasn't looking for new best friends or even someone to have coffee with, but I did expect some amount of interaction. Maybe I put them off somehow, but honestly I think I am pretty approachable and rather friendly. There were even 2 moments when Swiss went to the restroom... and I sat there by myself and not a one took the opportunity to talk to me. Even the Senior guy's wife didn't even try to strike up a conversation... and she's been to school for this stuff... etiquette courses and all! But I digress.

We lasted all of about 2 hours (which was honestly about 1 1/2 hours too long) and only Swiss's replacement talked to us and seemed to be the only one capable of talking about anything other than riding motorcycles. We don't ride motorcycles and we don't have a Harley-Davidson so we weren't cool enough to participate in any conversations. I wish I was exaggerating. And heaven forbid we talk about anything else. In fact at one point, Swiss's replacement asked him why/how he got into writing. The senior guys says, "You're into riding!?!" Swiss says "No, writing." Response? "Oh, never mind, I don't want to talk about THAT." Do better.

Final tally? 15 Do betters. (out of 16 no less)

I think more than anything, I was a shocked at the complete lack of couth. The lack of social skills, the lack of friendliness, the lack of effort. Swiss and I left and on the way home we talked about how disappointing it all was and how un-welcome it made us feel. How am I supposed to count on these women during the deployment if they wouldn't even talk to me? How are we supposed to form a well-functioning unit at work and in the homes if people aren't even willing to extend basic politeness?

So yes, it looks like as far as an Army based support group for this deployment? I'm going it alone. Thank heavens for my friends, my family, this wonderful thing called the internets, and you dear readers. I know there aren't many of you, but you are very much appreciated!


kimba said...

Hi there! I just found you this morning & I'm making my way through your blog now.

Oh, and I'll throw this out there - your experience last night, sadly, is absolutely typical from where I sit. Those events really are almost always horrid. I avoid them when I can - which, thankfully, is almost always. I haven't been to one at Hooters, however. Are the wings any good, at least? ;-)

And what is it about the military and motorcycles? I don't get it either.

I won't bore you to death with my opinion on "support" during deployments, especially since I ranted about it on my blog for months while my husband was away. It isn't pretty. In the end, though, I found bad support is not better than no support.

I'll be a regular reader for sure :-)

Tucker said...

Kimba- Thanks for stopping by! I am sad to hear that these experiences are common but it is good to know I'm not alone! And I really don't understand the motorcycle thing either. strange. I have already checked out your blog and I like your style! I'll be a regular reader of yours too! Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

I have this vision of you and Swiss in the corner with the nice guy, and everyone else off in their own little world.

I hope it gets better. I hope they do better!

Tucker said...

Claistalee- yes, that is pretty much how it went down... Only we were surrounded by Hooters girls. My fingers are crossed that it gets better though. Luckily (ha) we have a formal ball thingy to go to next month. Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

First, as Fabul-O would say, "Hootuhs?" Okay.

Secondly, I know all about being in the corner. I had my first FRG meeting yesterday since the unit mobilized. I was one of two wives whose husbands didn't go...the other is on rear det and she was about as pleasant as a bad rash. Talk about odd man out. My very first meeting ever I had a fairly warm welcome into the group, but since then, it's been lukewarm at best. We don't hunt, skeet shoot or think Myrtle Beach is the mecca of vacation spots. Hygiene is of utmost importance and my child uses manners in between her making everyone aware of her displeasure of being in any place other than home. Unit functions? Puh-lease. I haven't been spoken to at one of those in three years. We didn't go to the send off this week b/c we were told we "weren't invited because you weren't at the head count on Monday." No head count b/c he's not deploying. Hullooo??? Anyway...I got 3 snide remarks and one was from the training NCO's wife, who is the one who told us we weren't invited. Grrrrr...

Sometimes it's the way it is. Sadly, for our group, it ain't gonna change. So, I'll do what I need to in support of our unit because it's not their faults the wives are a white hot mess. I'm an outcast b/c my husband isn't going. Trust me, it's not pleasant on our side of the deployment, either.

Hang in there, sister. Yes, you have the internets. I'm not there, but I certainly have a lot of self-proclaimed wisdom...I'll be glad to support you. Heck, if I find myself in town, I'll even pick up pizza and bring it over.

slightly salty said...

That's a serious shame. While I don't think we need to invoke the 1950's military back into present day, a few good old-fashioned manners and courtesies would be welcome.

I like the do-better phrase. I should try to remember that instead of my usual litany of profanity. Thanks! :)

liberal army wife said...

Oh honey - this sounds like OUR unit. NO ONE will come over - and if I go over to someone to say - you get the look... you know the one... who are you, and why are you talking to me...

as DH says when we watch Animal Planet and see the abysmal conditions some pets are left it... "people suck".

I think the Red Headed [word missing, begins with B, means illegitimate birth] Step Children are going to go digital. seriously.

and as to why the word is missing, I had a General tell me he just couldn't introduce our group in a meeting if I used it... so... in the interests of those who are squeamish (and the questions of various 5 year olds...) we left it out.


liberal army wife said...

Oh - my DH rides a Yamaha... so we get that look too!


Tucker said...

LAW- I am so game if you are! Go SHBSC! :)

Tucker said...

That was supposed to be RHBSC. Oops!

Anonymous said...

Do better. I love it.
I'm having flashbacks from my one Navy Ball experience before my husband deployed. Red wine. Lots o' bad red wine made it better.
The upside of not having a good support system is that you get to create your own - we'll all be part of it!

Tucker said...

That is so the perfect way to look at it Lopsided! :) Thanks for the great story... I have a ball coming up soon, I see a lot of red wine in my future too!

Smiles said...

My only comment would be that instead of sitting in the corner, try to walk over and introduce yourself. I'm horrible at this but my husband has a knack for it. Apparently it's an acquired still that takes practice. Yes, as the senior members, it would be more polite for them to contact you but you might give it a try from your end before writing them off for good. Then if you still get "the look" that LAW described at least you've tried. From your post it didn't sound like the dissed you directly, just that they didn't make an effort. As scary as it is as a new gal, it's scary for the seniors too. What if the new gal is a weirdo? What if she latches on as your new best friend and won't go away? What if she ends up being 100% cooler than the established folks and steals all the cool friends? None of these are good excuses but playing devils advocate, you might walk a mile in their shoes too before passing judgment, as it can be scary on their side to approach new people. Just a thought. I'll get to try this perspective out myself next weekend at my first Christmas party with my husband's new unit! Hope your next company function is much more fun!