Mine need some work...
A wiry, early-forty-something man in civilian garb strides up to the USO desk like he owns the place. Before I can even consciously categorize him as the naval officer (pilot?) he obviously is, he has already read my nametag and issued more a command than a greeting: "Evening FbL, CDR Owens Theplace. I need to arrange transportation to [near a Naval Base]."
We clarify exactly where he's headed, and I explain the options, then ask to see some ID (I'd neglected to do so immediately). He bristles slightly at that, but after a moment's hesitation covers it with a smile, and I apologize for not having asked earlier. He still has to pick up his luggage, so I invite him to come back to the desk when he's ready to go and we'll call a shuttle. He asks for the USO phone number and writes it on his hand (no ring) before smiling warmly and assuring me he will be back.
Ten minutes later, I look up as a jovial voice loudly broadcasts, "FbL, I'm ba-ack!" I consider replying with a friendly but sarcastic "My life is now complete!" with hand clutched to chest, but bite it back; suprisingly, I behave myself in the face of such a provocation, haha! So instead, I throw my hands in the air and let go with a friendly but slightly ironic "Yaaay," eliciting a chuckle from him before he ostentatiously displays his ID again. I cringe slightly as I assure him that's unnecessary, and get a teasing grin in return.
Much conversation ensues. He manages to use my name repeatedly, smile continually as he makes dominant eye contact... and reveal almost nothing about himself. We discuss his new duty station's excellent locale, the joys of seagoing vessels (he's good friends with a local ship's leadership), and the challenges of finding housing. In answer to my only direct question--"Temporary duty or new duty station?"--he replies with a grin that he's here for "temporary 3-year duty."
He inquires as to local amenities--including the ferry schedule, which he acts impressed to discover I have at my fingertips. Every bit of info I supply, and every mention of the USO's services elicits more fulsome praise and smiles. When his shuttle driver arrives quickly, even that is somehow to my credit. I would roll my eyes were he not so charming and so amazingly good at shoveling the BS.
Striding out the door, he bids goodbye with great enthusiasm, "I hope to see you again very soon!"
Caught off guard and a bit puzzled, I holler after him, "Hoping those three years go fast, hunh?" He pauses for a moment of puzzlement himself, before laughing as he turns away.
Seconds later, I realize what I should have shot back with a teasing grin: "Hah! If you really meant that, you would've asked for my phone number."
Apologies to my dear friends, but...
Naval Officers... Pfffttt!
Bet he'd make a fun date, though. :D
P.S. Google + name + rank + service branch = CDR Owens Theplace's photo and his new command. Google is a scary thing.
29 December, 2007
Mine need some work...