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!