Well, about living in Okinawa as a military spouse. Today, I went to the Marine Gift Shop over on the big base to hand in my application to join the Marine Officers' Spouses Club.
Ok, some weird things there, but not the one from the title. The gift shop doesn't sell Marine Corps-related gifts, it sells Asian stuff. But it's run by the spouses club, with all profits going to charity. The Navy and Air Force spouses have them too. And yes, I joined the Marine club, not Navy, because it's much bigger and thus has a lot more activities and potential for making friends. And yes, I paid a $25 membership fee in an attempt to make friends. Among the activities listed: book club, gourmet cooking, and wine tasting. Enough said.
I had checked that I'd be interested in volunteering in the gift shop. (Another weird thing: they advertise that a benefit of joining is the opportunity to volunteer there. Which sounds strange until you know that if you volunteer, you get a discount. There's the real benefit.) So the woman I'd given my application to went and got the volunteer coordinator, who started chatting with me. One of the first questions, as always, was whether we have kids.
Volunteer Woman: I don't have kids either!
Volunteer Coordinator: Our stockroom girl doesn't have kids either!
Me: Oh, wow!
Those exlamation points are not ironic. This is what being a childless military spouse on Okinawa does to a person. It's that rare to meet another one of us. The discount and first crack at new merchandise were going to be nice benefits to volunteering, but you're telling me I can meet not one, but TWO women who don't have kids? Hot damn, sign me up!
It's not just me. That woman was looking at me like I imagine a panda does upon spotting another panda in the wild. Who knows if we'd have anything in common out in the real world, but who cares? On Okinawa, this one thing is pretty much enough to make you want to say, "Well hello, new BFF!"