There I was, a brand new military spouse, at the commissary solo for the first time. But where to park my car?
Being Virginia in August, it was sweltering. I didn’t really want to trek from the far reaches of the parking lot to the doors and the repeat with a full cart of groceries. So I circled. And I circled. I circled once again.
Then I spotted it: General Officer Parking.
Perfect! My spouse just got commissioned, so he is part of the officer group, in general. Which is what that parking sign must mean, right? Wrong!
We’ve all done it: made a rookie mistake.
9 Common and Laughable Mistakes We’ve Made As Military Spouses
The Salute. He did it. Do I have to do it too?
It gets awkward fast though when you pop a crisp salute to someone and then your spouse shoots you a side-eye real quick.
Or that moment of indecision when you start to bring up your hand, rethink your choice and quickly brush an invisible hair from your cheek.
Sir and Ma’am. What do you call your spouse’s immediate superior? It feels weird to call them “Sgt. Suchandsuch,” because you’re not in the military. But it’s also odd to be the only one using his or her first name.
Commissary Confusion. Walking up to an empty commissary cashier ready to check out, bypassing all the people waiting in the cordoned off official line, like a boss. Realize your mistake and quickly pick up a magazine to browse as you scuttle to the correct place.
Off-Limit Training Areas. My, what a beautiful road! The perfect place to take a nice long bike ride.
Except it’s an off-limits training area and ammo storage facility. You missed the signs in your haste to zen out for a few and now the MPs have pulled you over (and confiscated your bike). Whoops!
The Gate. Drive up to the base, all ready to drop cash at the PX. Except, who are those armed guards? I have an ID, do I keep driving? Do I stop? Drive, I’ll drive.
And that’s how, “my friend” ended up stopped at gun point on her way to score a sweet deal on designer handbags.
Calling It In. Your spouse has been gone all day long. It’s after dinner. Where is she? So you decide to do what any normal person would do: call the office and find out what’s taking so long.
Except tomorrow your spouse gets assigned extra duty to make up for that phone call, so you’re stuck reheating dinner alone. Again.
Name Game. “Oh my spouse works on that boat over there,” he said, and is met with blank stares or looks of sympathy.
Boats or ships? Weapons or guns? Cover or hat? Blouse or shirt? Head or toilet? Seriously, so many regular things with totally different names. And never mind the acronyms!
Musical Chairs. At an endless ceremony, the music plays and everyone stands. The music keeps playing, but now everyone is sitting except you.
“But the music didn’t stop! How was I supposed to know to grab a chair?” you think.
Now, everyone is standing again and there is no music playing. Make up your minds people!
It’s a Ball! She heard the word ball, and thought: Cinderella! Poofy gown, amazing updo and full on make-up action coming this way!
When she got there, all the other ladies were dressed the exact opposite: sleek dresses, understated hair and basic date night make-up. At least the pictures will be memorable!
Looking back, we can laugh at our mistakes, right?