Here are just a few unapologetically tongue-in-cheek (but still accurate!) personal reflections on base life:
1. Acronyms don’t save time. In fact, I think they’re actually an outward sign of how seemingly simple processes get way overcomplicated. (Like, for example, when J and I *finally* managed to track down the status of our household goods by looking up telephone numbers and–wait for it–CALLING them! Let’s use our words, people!)
2. There’s no such thing as customer service. The notion of being friendly and attentive to the people you serve for fear of getting fired doesn’t seem to apply here. Military offices seem to only follow their own internal systems, slogging along through inefficient procedures regardless of obvious facts as well as the desperate people standing in front of them.
3. Getting mad only gives you bruised toes. Yes, I had a little hissy fit after talking to the Transportation Management Office (TMO here in acronym land), and I may or may not have kicked the car a few times in my flip flops.
4. Constant vigilance is always necessary. This is because you can never trust that something will actually get done the way that you think it will. As per items 2 and 3, you are better off bypassing the stagnation and doing people’s jobs for them on your own.
5. Babies and toddlers are everywhere. A word of caution to any other married but childless 29-year-old women who enter a military base: people will want to hand you their babies to hold. A lot of them probably think that you want to hold them. They may even just hand them over without saying anything, so you should be prepared. (Note that babies are slippery when they’re slathered in sunscreen…)
6. There are lots of large and growing families here. Personally, I think it may be due to the fact that certain military members want to feel efficient and productive in at least one aspect of their lives. 🙂
7. Kidless couples are few and far between. They’re also quite young, and many of them won’t be kidless for long, as per item #6.
8. Book clubs are complicated here. I’m now a bit nervous for when my time comes to suggest a book after having heard the titles that a few folks found too “racy” to read. I just kept my mouth shut during that conversation while wondering how in the world they coped with their high school required reading lists…
9. It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. (i.e. Let your dogs run and play in fenced-in ball fields until someone can come up with a decent reason for why you should not. So far, no one’s said a word–probably because no one knows what the rules actually are.)
10. Always check to see when your car pass expires so that you don’t get stuck unable to drive your car off base on a long weekend. Ugh! Then remind yourself that the Byzantine and Roman castles you were planning to go see will probably still be standing next weekend.
That is all for now.