I will start this (long) post with a story from Paris. A few days ago, I went to my favorite cafe in Paris. It is next to my favorite parc with the greatest view and a very nice genuine atmosphere (since it becomes more and more crowded I will not say more :-)).
I go very often there (alone or with friends) but I am always "formal" with the owners, although I like them very much, partly because of the language barrier and partly because of my character. I don't know how to explain it but I always keep a distance from any type of "authority" (including bar owners, professors, or military officers :-)) even if I am "allowed" or even encouraged to get closer. I think that one of the reasons is that I don't want to feel "privileged".
But anyway, the weather was good and inside it was almost empty. While entering the people working there (a man and a woman) looked at me like saying "it is being a lot of time to see you". I "said" the same and I thought to order immediately before sitting. At the same time in their above look they added a "What would you like to order?" expression suitable for regular customers. However, for some reason I decided to sit without ordering (feeling guilty refusing them the intimacy of a "regular" customer and for the extra trouble). So, the woman came to take the order (a "cafe au lait"). When she brought my coffee, I realized that she didn't bring water (they often do). When I asked politely for a bottle of water, she told me annoyed that "I should have ordered everything together for her not to have to go back and forth".
I felt very bad. Before she comes, I was thinking how lucky I was to find this place with these nice people, etc. I felt betrayed and I started making bad thoughts and my blood was "boiling". (I was also a little guilty because I the option to make it easier for had passed from my mind). But then I thought of the army and the first, and maybe most important "lesson", I learned there: to completely ignore any type of insult or negative remark.
It is very interesting how bad people feel when they get insulted by anyone (from small kids, to army officers that insulting is their job, to unknown people in the street, to stupid people, anyone). It is not logical! I could write a lot about this but think about it. Why? We could actually adapt one of my favorite quotes: "If it holds why are you offended? If it doesn't hold why are you offended?" :-)
(the original quote says something like "If you can change it, why are you sad? If you cannot change it, why are you sad?")
Anyway, I have already written a lot and I didn't write any story from the army. But instead of telling you about all the insults I received analyzing my reactions etc., I will finish with a nice joke I was told there:
There was a gypsie who made a lot of money and decided to go to live in a rich neighborhood. He bought land besides a doctor's house and build a similar house. One day he saw the doctor and told him:
- you see doctor? We are the same. We live in the same neighborhood, we have the same house.
- No, replied the doctor. We are not the same. I have a ferrari. Look at your car.
The next day, the gypsie buyed the newest ferrari model. He found again the doctor and told him:
- You see doctor? We are the same now. I have also a ferrari.
- No, replied the doctor. You may have a ferrari now, but you don't have a swimming pool!
The next day, the gypsie built a swimming pool in his garden. So, he found again the doctor and told him:
- Now what do you think? We are the same or not?
- OK, said the doctor. You won. We are the same.
- No, replied the gypsie. We are not exactly the same! I have as a neighbor a doctor, but you have as a neighbor a gypsie!