One thing I’m pretty sure we can all agree on is that the military life is a bubble, a strange microsystem of a society — and a weird one at that.

After all, how *normal* is it to be married to a person whose job requires moving every two to three years?

…Who wears a uniform more complex than an undergrad math problem?

…Who gets invited to fancy-schmancy balls and dinners on an annual basis — and that you’re expected to dress up like a celebrity for?

…Where life stops, briefly, twice a day, to the sound of a patriotic anthem (and you sure as hell aren’t in high school any more)?

The list could go on. And think about it: It’s pretty darn weird, when you look at it objectively.

So, yes. It’s no secret that the hashtag-military-life is a strange one, when you look at it objectively. But only recently have I begun to notice all the itty-bitty details that, out of context in the civilian world, would just be plain awkward.

1. You feel totally comfortable asking someone where they live.

After my husband and I moved on base, I found myself taken back by participating in a perfectly ordinary behavior that, quite frankly, would seem downright stalker-ish ANYWHERE ELSE in the world.

I began asking people where they live. 

It started with a customer at work whose loyalty card told me she lived one street over. “We’re neighbors!” I exclaimed, then immediately regretted outing myself as an ultra-creeper.

To my surprise, she was thrilled, and we’re great friends now.

From there, it’s happened again — in different settings, of course — and each time I’m objectively bewildered by how utterly ordinary it is to “come out” as a weirdo, only to then be met with a perfectly pleasant answer.

Now, obviously in the “real” world, this would be a HUGE red flag.

Here, on base? Not so much.