I don’t know if there’s something in the air or what’s going on, but it seems like this week has been the week for bad comments/questions. Have you ever had weeks like that, where people just have no filter whatsoever? I mean, we all have our moments, but these are things I would never say or ask someone. First off, I’ll give you a little background story as to how this all began.
Kyle and I applied to get a rental (and have since been approved!) and had to go through an interview process with the landlord. It wasn’t my first time going through this, so I expected the general questions: Where did you live previously? Where do you work and for how long have you worked there? Do you have pets? and so on. We exchanged questions for a while and we were beginning to feel pretty comfortable.
The woman interviewing us started to get into the deeper questions, which is to be expected when we’re going to be living in a condo that they own. She eventually turned to Kyle, and asked him some basic questions about his military service thus far. I figured my part of the interview was pretty much complete, when she turned back to me. She folded her hands in her lap, a calm expression on her face, and asked a question I didn’t think anyone would ever ask.
“What if he dies?” she asked. I blinked, and was immediately aware of the look on my own face. I felt Kyle stiffen a little bit, but he stayed silent. She continued on, as I stared at her, to say that she would need to know that I would be able to cover Kyle’s half, and keep the 1 year lease until expiration. In some ways I’m ashamed that I managed to gather myself, and come up with a response. I’m ashamed that I didn’t demand that she have enough respect to refrain from asking that question so bluntly. I’m ashamed for the way that it must have made Kyle feel.
Am I wrong for feeling like that question could have been avoided? Am I wrong for thinking it’s absurd that she directed it at Kyle’s lifestyle; our lifestyle? When did things go from, “Thank you for your service, we would be honored to rent to you.” to “Well that’s great, but are you still going to pay if he dies?” I understand, to some extent, why she felt she needed to ask what our plan was. It is something we have talked about, only because every military couple needs to. We talked about it early, because chances are, if you don’t talk about it, your next opportunity to do so will be when a deployment comes around and you’re going over the Will. Yes, we have to do that.
I never would have expected the amount of insensitivity that came with her question, nor did I expect her to ask it. I tried to picture myself looking at a military couple and saying those same words, with no regret in my tone. I couldn’t picture it, because it would never happen.
Military couples and families discuss death long before many people even think of it. We approach those difficult topics with as much courage as we can, and even then, we are barely able to scrape the surface of what it would mean. But that discussion is a private one between Kyle and I, not one that I plan to share with some lady that’s now going to be my landlord. And it wasn’t like it was a friend asking me, out of worry, what I would do if things were to come to that. She didn’t ask because she cared, she asked because it would be financially worrisome for her.
I’ve had a lot of strange and ridiculous questions over the last couple of years, ones I saw coming and ones I didn’t. I’m sure some of you can relate. Here’s a few of the most common ones:
How do you do it? I just do.
Does he kill people? That will never, under any circumstance, be okay to ask.
Don’t you want to have a family some day? Oh wow, I can’t now?
Aren’t you worried about something happening to him? Yes, everyday. Does that mean I should tell him to be someone else? No.
Aren’t you worried about him finding someone else overseas? I trust him entirely. And I’m confident that those who are in healthy, loving relationships have WAY more important things to deal with over there than “finding someone else”. Get real.
I know the risks that Kyle has taken on, especially with his MOS. And I know the strain that it sometimes has. But I don’t need someone I barely know to remind me of what those are. No one needs that. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had friends, family, strangers even, make comments about “what I’m getting myself into.” News flash, I knew before I “got into it” to some extent. And I still did it, didn’t I? So what satisfaction is there in reminding someone about their own choices.
I chose Kyle, and with that came the Army; something he’s immensely proud to be a part of. With Kyle, I get to be a part of a whole family of people from the same situation. I get to belong to a community that is full of pride and support for each other. And despite the efforts of those who think that him and I stepped off the “right” path somewhere along the way, I am exactly where I want to be.
What are your thoughts? Was she completely out of line, or am I overreacting? What would you have done/said? What crazy questions have you gotten?