Saturday, February 10, 2007

Did I say something offensive, to make you defensive?

I'm not an offensive person. At least I don't think I am. I'm curious. I ask a lot of questions. I'm like that 4 year old who asks "Why?" 100 times on the drive to the grocery store. Except that I'm 29, not 4. So, I guess that sometimes my questions can get annoying, but I don't usually offend people. I'm not malicious, or mean in my intentions.
Lately I've found out that, for some reason, it's offensive to ask someone if their husband is deployed. I'm not really sure why. I would assume that being on an army base, we are all in the same boat. We all go through deployments, we all go without our husbands and wives for months and years at a time.
Incidentally, I added up once just how much time I've been without my husband. Including training, we've been apart for half of our 6 1/2 year marriage. So really, we're all the same down here. Just because mine isn't gone right now, doesn't mean he hasn't been, and doesn't mean he won't be in the furture.
Last night, while I'm at the bowling alley with Louisa and her student council group, I sit next to one of her classmate's mom and chat with her. The lady mentions, several times, how her husband isn't around right now. I say, very innocently, "Is he deployed?"
"NO!!" she snaps at me. Then she explains that he's going to a special army school right now, but the rest of his unit is deployed.
I said, "Oh good, you guys missed out on this deployment then!"
"NO!!!" she snaps. "Then he goes to Korea!" Ok.... I didn't know I was asking something that required a snappy answer. I felt really stupid for even mentioning it.
This has happened to me before. I ask, Is your husband deployed, and I receive a snappy, NO! So apparently, you're not supposed to ask someone if their husband is deployed. But then why o why did this woman keep mentioning how hard things were for her with two kids and a job while her husband was gone? Am I supposed to ignore that she keeps bringing that up?
Me, being the overly-nice person I am, always has to inquire and then give sympathy. Sometimes it results in my foot being inserted into my mouth. Other times it results in people following me around telling me their sob story over and over beause if I was sympathetic once, I'll probably be sympathetic again.
I just can't win, can I? (oh wait, that was another question. see, I told you I ask a lot of questions!)


BethGo said...

It sounds like you're encountering a lot of strange people at the moment. I had this happen once while my husband was finishing business school. I just didn't fit with the people we encountered and I always got lost in the town we were living in. That never happens to me.
It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. These people are just touchy.
Life's to short to spend time worrying about offending people with innocent questions.
Just chalk that woman up as a weirdo.
I have a feeling you will find a kindred spirit eventually.

Linda said...

My experience with you is that you're actually really sensitive, so I don't think it's you! Some people are weird, and, as you know, having a husband gone for whatever reason doesn't exactly contribute to sanity!

~jen~ said...

Could it in part be, at least for the one woman at the bowling alley, that she's feeling a bit bad that her's isn't deployed? That maybe all of her friend's husbands are and she's been made to feel a bit guilty that her's is relatively safe at home (or at least stateside)? It's something I've seen here, and may be part of at least her problem. Not that it's an excuse! You're too sweet and caring to be treated like that-and I've always thought that! Don't let a few meanies ruin your sweet disposition- caring about people can be a heavy burden, but it's not a fault:) Keep on being just the way you are;)

scrapperjen said...

Stop asking questions! ;) I'm sorry she was so snappy.

Amber said...

I don't think you did anything wrong by asking... sometimes people get snappy at questions for reasons that we don't know... you where just trying to be nice... don't let snappy people stop you from doing that!

Sandy said...

Well honestly, there are times I think the word "why" must be scrubbed from the dictionary and all minds currently aware of it's presence. But then again, I have a toddler in the "why? Why? WHY?" phase and a preschooler that thinks the bandwagon is quite fun to leap upon. ;)

That said, I think some people get so wrapped up in their own misery they like to wallow in it. You had the great luck to find someone trying to wallow but lapsing into "snap heads off" instead. I'm so sorry. :(