Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Freda'sMom, Jun 15, 2016.
I read this in the news, and frankly, was not surprised. Her last statement/question was the best, though.
Had a similar situation concerning a handicapped slot when I had a broken knee, with very restrictive brace and crutches...I couldn't even drive at that point. My husband pulled into the parking space in front of a restaurant (rainy day on top of it), and as we were getting out, a man and his wife walked by and said, "you REALLY looked handicapped!" Luckily he was walking slow enough to see when that I got out of the vehicle, I had a brace on and pulled out crutches. He ducked his head down, walked faster, and never apologized.
I - and could safely bet near 100% other active/Reserve/Guard/vet women - have gotten similar comments over the years, in all kinds of situations. I am more forgiving of older generations, for whom the percentage of women in the military was less than 3% for many, many decades and conflicts. I am less forgiving of younger generations, who should know better.
The stereotypes are still out there, sadly. I will wear my Navy vet pin, or a ball cap from a previous command, and I will get asked about my husband's service. When I explain I had a 26-year active duty career, they look surprised. Many then nod sagely and say, "oh, you were a nurse." The ones that crack my husband up are the blessed elder vets who, upon hearing of my service, say things like "well, if my lieutenant had looked like you, I would have stayed in."
I was traveling with USNA women's basketball team, all of us in Service Dress Blue, at the airport, and we were asked repeatedly about airline info. One woman stubbornly insisted I should know the answer to some passport question, because she thought I was with Customs and Immigration.
Active duty women and female vets get this more often than you think. On the USNA Yard, you will hear tourist kids remark with wonder on "girl mids," as if viewing an exotic at the zoo.
Two of my favorite older vets are two Navy nurses, women, who served as nurses in the Vietnam War. They are fiercely proud of their service, 20+ years apiece, making it to the rank of LCDR and CDR. Back then, women were prohibited from being promoted to pay grade O-6, Navy Captain or Army/AF/Army colonel. There was always one captain/colonel, temporarily promoted, who was head of the Nurse Corps for her service, which reverted to O-5 on retirement. There were very few O-5's. These two ladies always have Navy, flag, Navy nurse, veteran pins on. Their stories were legendary. One wrote a book, which is still available on Amazon. I would cheerfully sic these two on the writer of the note left on the car! Sadly, they are no longer mobile, and I don't get to see them as often.
On the funny (?) side...The ten year old son of my husband's niece is always fascinated by his "I love me" paraphernalia from his military career (cool naval aviation stuff), but even when looking at my own stuff, roundly declares "you can't have been in the Navy because girls aren't allowed." The niece and her husband, both modern professionals, are utterly baffled as to where he gets this.
Freda'smom, thanks for sharing.
My first teaching gig after I earned my PhD was at a fairly conservative university in a very dark-red state, which bothered me not in the least - generally, politics doesn't enter into teaching biology or chemistry. But. Shortly after the fall semester started my dean summoned me to his office. I was mystified, but not concerned; I hadn't been there long enough to do anything "wrong!" When I got there, he had a copy of my CV (academic resume) on his desk. He asked me if I wanted to correct anything; now I was baffled. "Have you found an error, sir?" I asked. "Yes, this part here where you claim to have gone to the United States Naval Academy for a year." He looked up at me. "We take military service very seriously around here and I'd hate for you to bring hardship down on yourself because of a misstatement. I know for a fact that's only for men."
I ended up having to get official transcripts from USNA, 20+ years after separating. THAT was a lot of fun, tracking down old transcripts. (Usually, new jobs only ask for transcripts from the PhD institution.)
Last week I was in Target with Sprout. Sprout needed to pee and the family restroom was occupied, so I just took him into the women's room (he's almost 3). As I went in, someone behind me said loudly, "Sir? SIR! That's the women's room!" It was so ridiculous that I didn't know he was talking to ME - apparently only men are allowed to have short hair now. I turned around to face him and said loudly "WHAT do you think you know about me? LEAVE MY SON AND ME ALONE!" Got the reaction I wanted, though, as everyone looked at HIM.
Since when has everyone decided they're an expert on everyone else's affairs?? Just makes my blood boil. Try knocking off your veteran-, women-, trans-, and parent-shaming and work on improving yourself, Mr. and Ms. Busybody.
Maybe I'm alone here, but does anyone else find it sort of silly that at a place out in town there's "Veteran's Parking?" It gets silly enough on base ("E-9 Parking Only" "Col/CAPT Parking" "Parking for MWSS-372 Marines Only, 2016 Biggest Contributors to Navy Marine Corps Relief Society!"), why extend it into town. Yeah, I get it, it's meant to be a gesture of support from the business. I, personally, just think it's dumb.
But yes, I've also dealt with my share of misunderstanding about my extremely limited and completely unremarkable service. "Oh, women can only fly cargo planes right?" "No, I fly that helicopter over there, with the rockets and guns on it..."
I don't think those people have evil intentions, just ignorance with a dash of (if I can use my millennial buzzword of the week) institutionalized sexism. Whatever. I don't take it personally and figure that since I'm probably the only female skid pilot they'll ever meet* the best course is just to politely correct them.
* (except only 1 dozen)
+1 to Capt MJ and Hurricane. I can't tell you how many times I have heard or been asked about my husband's service when wearing a USNA, USMC shirt. The one that always got me were the older ladies who wear their husband's class miniature rings as engagements rings. As a grad the standard female ring is pretty large. None of the my female friends at USNA would get a miniature because we didn't want to think we hadn't earned it ourselves! I can't tell you how many of these ladies have asked me over the years at football games what year my husband graduated. I always responded, 'I don't know, haven't met him yet. But I graduated x year and here are my room mates from USNA.'
I agree on the veteran parking. Nice gesture, but I would never use it. No one owes me anything or do I expect special treatment.
Agreed on the veteran parking. Well-meant but not necessary. But the shaming note - argh.
Hoops, that is a CLASSIC retort! Brava!
I tend to think these supposed notes, like the "look what was written on this receipt!" stories, are generally BS.
Could be. The original note poster certainly received 15+ minutes of fame.
If we're going to discuss unnecessary parking privileges...
Handicapped - I have absolutely NO problem with this when used by truly handicapped - my 96-year-old grandmother uses a walker to still get around, but walking from 100 yards away would take all day. She needs something closer.
I recently witnessed an AF CMSgt park in one at the grocery store in uniform. He was alone and driving a very nice $50K+ truck with permanent handicap plates, only purchased a small bag of items. He seemed to get around just fine.
Senior citizens - I don't know about you, but I can walk just fine from a distance, and can use the exercise at 55+
Mothers-to Be (at Walmart) - some may disagree, and that's fine, but the first time I saw one of these I was insulted! Pregnancy is not a handicap!!! As far as I'm concerned and from personal experience, we need the exercise and extra walking at that time of our lives.
^^ One of my grandfathers had polio as a kid, and the arthritis caught up to him in old age. Gemma and Pop-pop had handicapped plates as a result, but Gemma was aghast at the idea of parking in the handicapped spot when Pop-pop wasn't along for the ride. The only handicap she admitted to was her golf handicap.
My father has a handicap tag. When they visit I would never park there if he wasn't with me. My mom does the same. If there is a close up spot I will always take that with my dad if his bad wheel is feeling up to it instead of the handicap. My dad isn't ancient yet, but he has a badly messed up leg from a childhood accident. Some days the limp and his get up struggle and others it's decent.
Yeah that letter could be fake. I think it circled around awhile ago. Regardless it gave me a good laugh of all the times it's assumed it's my husband or boyfriend. Next you tell them Marine and it just perplexes them. Some guys in the dating game have been extremely threatened by it and so I just move on.
Oh another good one. I work for a large fortune 100 company. Our dress code is business casual for employees with a few items such as cargo pants banned (thank goodness). Nearly the entire Info Assurance team are former Army guys. They all wear what we used to call contractor overseas Uniform of bad cargo pants, polo shirts, riggers belts, hiking boots and Oakley glasses with lots of belt attachments. Remind you we don't work for the DoD in any way and are desk warriors straining ourselves with pushing paper. I always get a chuckle about it... Like what are you wearing? Can't you just get slacks or khakis and wear normal clothes? I always joke and call them the tactical IA team.
A veterans parking spot is as dumb as that Purple Heart idea that was floating around.
Veterans can walk a few more steps to park. If they're disabled, there are handicap spots.
I have a handicapped tag. I appear to be a perfectly healthy mid-40's woman. I am not, and it rankles a bit to be visibly judged by others in the parking lot. Believe me, I'd trade in my placard in a heartbeat for the ability to walk, pain-free, from the car to the store. I don't find myself qualified to judge who is and who is not "truly handicapped".
Agree with Jcc123. I have pleaded with my wife to apply for a placard but her pride refuses to allow her to do so. Nonetheless, you CANNOT always judge a person's handicap from the outside. Pain fluctuates back and forth and can spike suddenly without warning. Also some pregnant women are at high risk for spontaneous miscarriage and should also minimize walking, but again you can't SEE that on the outside.
Me, I'm a heart patient, so I try to park as far as possible away from the store so I am forced to walk more.
I expected these type of responses and totally agree with both of you. I knew it would come across wrong. My point was that someone on active duty in uniform, if they have those kinds of health issues, I would expect to be medically retired. Maybe not these days, As I sort of mentioned, without a long description, his stride, manner of carrying himself, etc. did not indicate a problem...just seemed to be in a hurry. But you are both correct, we should not judge a book by its cover.
BTW - the normal parking was only 15 feet difference in distance to the store. This parking lot is rarely busy and was not on that day.
Be as insulted as you want, but nobody cares. My pregnant wife spent 11.5 hours on her feet last night, didn't pee until after her shift (at 7 months pregnant) and literally saved four lives. She appreciates the ability to park close to the door as she waddles to get groceries on the way home.
I'll tell her she's lazy on your behalf.
Having been pregnant five times myself, I also really appreciated those close parking spots for pregnant women. I only parked there a few times, but when I was heavily pregnant and also pushing an overstuffed grocery cart with four other kids under the age of 7 years old....that extra fifteen feet is a gigantic help.
To each his/her own. Seems like with so many threads, some folks are always ready to "pick a fight".
I was not bashing anyone for using the reserved spots for parking, if needed. I worked up until 3 hours before I had my second child in my late 30's. Also, with my doctor's blessing, hauled hay during the first few months, 100's of bales. I recovered from delivery quicker than my first with all the farm activity to the amazement of my doctors.
Very few women are "comfortable" in the last trimester and waddling farther than we have to is not fun.
I concur with EOD/SEALmom, though, I consider trying to keep young children corralled or in tow when shopping is when I would prefer to have closer parking, pregnant or not.
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