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PCSing and the Stereotype Machine

I'm an experience oriented person.  When I go somewhere new, I eat the local food, attend local functions, listen to local music (within reason), and expect the locals to generally behave like whatever TV show introduced me to them in the first place (small note:  we have not yet been stationed in Alaska.  Perhaps Northern Exposure doesn't relate the local experience well, but I'll still look for it).

This works really well during PCS season, which for us is almost every December.  Since 1998, we've managed to move a total of seven times.  And when we move, we don't move down the street.  No, we enter whole new worlds.

It's also a way to look at PCSing that, for me, takes a lot of the moving from "home" stress off.  Rather than seeing leave as our vacation time every year, we have begun to look at where we are stationed as our "vacation".  This also meshes well with the fact that while most people take cruises and head for exotic locales during their time off, military people tend to just go "home."  Somehow, the boring "going home" routine is more palatable when you live in exotic vacation climes.  Or when you manage to make where you are living temporarily an exotic vacation clime.

So, when we were stationed in New Hampshire, we ate lots of lobster.  We went sledding.  We ate clam chowder in Boston.  It was great.

And on our weekend drives, I quite often had to remind myself that, despite the fact that there was a graveyard of six headstones in the middle of the KFC parking lot, and we found two gravestones under the front porch of our Mexican War era rental house, this was not a Stephen King novel.  It was fun to pretend it was, though.

In Texas I automatically insinuated myself with people who used "ya'll" in every other sentence.  I tried to have friends who wore clothes with sparkles on them (my school principal corrected me when I used the term "sparkles" and said in her best Texan accent, "Those thar are rhinestones, honey!").  And you simply can't live in San Antonio and not go to Fiesta.  I think I gained fifteen pounds in one night from the amazing Tex Mex.

I was lucky enough to follow hubby on a TDY to Ft. Huachuca one year.  Tombstone, Bay-BEE.  I so wanted to wear a hoopskirt get-up!  Hubby made me settle for a t-shirt, though.  What's the fun in that?  But we did get to eat at Big Nose Kate's.  After a few hours, hubby made me leave because he got tired of me running ahead and turning around and telling him to "DRAW!"

And now we are on one of the bases on the East Coast.  The upper East Coast.  We have discovered the joys of spending Halloween at Sleepy Hollow (the experience of a lifetime!).  We visited Niagara Falls.  And, just today, the ultimate experience in local stereotypes.

I was buying sourdough bread at Panera, minding my own business, when three men in suits came in the door.  Two of the larger men sat down, revealing what seemed to very obviously be gun bulges (they may not have been, but I'm experiencing here, people!).  The skinny, rat-looking guy was sent to order.  When the two large, be-suited men started talking, I was absolutely tickled to hear something that could have come right off the Sopranos.

"Heya, Anthony, whattaya got goin' for tonight?"

HIS NAME WAS ANTHONY!  AND HE HAD A GUN!  AND HE SAID, "HEYA" AND "WHATTAYA"!!!

It was like watching an episode of the Sopranos.  IN PANERA! 

I LOVE moving to new places!

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