In what is probably my last post before we take off for three weeks of R&R (I know, I know, some of you figured we must already have left since it’s been so long, but not until Thursday!), I wanted to mull over the importance of those unspoken rules of social etiquette that we don’t notice until they’re violated. It’s weird how many things I just take for granted are universally accepted norms until someone disregards what I consider to be a given and I’m totally taken by surprise. Perhaps an example would help illustrate…

I had to get patted down the other day (don’t ask, it comes with living in a quasi-military state more often than you’d like to think about). My hosts had courteously provided female as well as male searchers, so I figured it would be no sweat. I held out my arms and mentally left the building to go to a happy place somewhere with no razor wire for the duration of the search. Until, that is, she broke the rule. No, this is not going to become an R-rated story, no worries.

Out of nowhere, my friendly security lady started commenting on what a great figure I had, how she wished she could have such a figure, etc. All the while, mind you, she is carefully checking to make sure I have no hidden contraband anywhere on my person. This was a very disconcerting experience for me. I had sort of assumed that these security checks were like being at the doctor’s office — they didn’t comment on what they were doing and I refrained from commenting on their technique or how cold their hands were. Apparently this norm is not as universally accepted as I would have liked to believe…

At any rate, there’s no real point to that story, I just thought it was funny because it was such a strange little moment for me. I imagine some of you are probably thinking by now, “Man, she REALLY needs to get out of there and go somewhere more normal!” Well never fear, I have three weeks of freedom to look forward to, starting Thursday morning. Only one more day of work to go…

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