Air Force Guy often becomes annoyed with the amount of time it takes me to leave certain places of business. It's not that it takes a long time to conduct business, necessarily (although sometimes it does), it's that I have a real issue with chatting people up.
You see, I chat everyone up. I talk to the ladies at the Post Office. I learn great things from the waitstaff at new restaurants. I even make friends with mechanics (do you know how tough that can be when you see those darn bills for car servicing? I just got my brakes done and *OUCH*).
This drives AFG nuts. What I try to explain to him, however, is that it is a completely necessary survival mechanism.
For example -when we moved "home" over AFG's first deployment I was having tremendous trouble trying to get the local phone company to hook up my broadband internet. We weren't even talking wi-fi at that time, I just wanted to be able to get online without sitting through those horrible dial up sounds. Plus, I get antsy - I need fast.
I was transferred and transferred and put on hold and hung up on. Finally, I got to speak to the nicest lady. She was very active in her church (which was in Sacramento) and had three grandchildren. Oh, and wasn't it a nice coincidence that her son was also a military member? He was stationed in Korea, but she gave me several, "God bless your husband," comments as we talked and talked. AFG was distinctly irritated that I spent 45 minutes on the phone chatting with Belinda, but by goodness I finally got my internet! It wasn't even her job to hook it up, but in the course of our chat as she was running records and such she took pity on my seemingly endless struggle and got the problem taken care of.
See what I mean? It's a survival mechanism.
During AFG's 6 months of TDY training the year after he returned from his first deployment, I had the distinct pleasure of mentoring a new military spouse. I took her to the closest base (her husband was at Basic Training), showed her how to get an ID card (which required some firm talking) and introduced her to the commissary and Base Exchange. While in line at the commissary, I struck up a conversation with the person in front of us who turned out to be yet another new wife whose husband was currently at basic training. And, there we go! Instant support group for those two!
Ashlee was quite taken aback at how I just struck up a conversation with people around me, but I told her that within the next couple of years she'd be doing the same thing. And guess what? She is.
We have to.
My parents are convinced that this behavior is something that is just connected to my personality, but although I think I may have been born with tendencies in this direction, being a military spouse cemented them in stone for me. I mean, think about it. If I don't talk to people, how will I EVER find friends every time we move? If I don't chat up the Post Office lady, how am I ever going to find out where the best local parks are? If I don't find a way to be friendly and appealing to the mechanic, how will he ever feel too guilty to cheat me on the price of my brakes?
And most of all - if I don't chat people up, how will I EVER find a decent hair stylist? I probably won't. And the hair stylist can seriously be the gateway to all other local knowledge you need. Plus, she can make you look really good or really awful.
I personally think finding a good hairstylist is one of the premier important events of a move.
The first time I met most of my fellow SpouseBUZZ authors was at the first SpouseBUZZ Live in Killeen, Texas. You could not shut us up. Seriously. The conversation was constant and it was wonderful. The same thing happens every time we get together with other military spouses at SpouseBUZZ Live events - there is talking and laughing and exchanging of recipes and phone numbers. It is wonderful. And I think it is because we all have learned the same lesson from living the military lifestyle - you never know where you will find your next best friend, so it's best to talk to everyone.
I've found the best information at the Post Office and from my hairstylist. But I'm wondering - what sources am I missing? Where is your favorite place to chat people up when you move?