I was going to do a post explaining the difference between officers and enlisted soldiers, but it got bogged down in details and acronyms and so it’s on the shelf for another day.
Today I am going to talk about something else: The Walk.
Now, I don’t know how it’s perceived within the military. I highly suspect that once it’s learned it’s not even noticed. And its existence makes sense, and I understand why it happens, but it does not make it any less annoying.
All soldiers walk the same.
I mean obviously they do, they train to march in formation, part of being in formation is being exactly like everyone else, but they do it OUTSIDE formation as well. And it’s a very specific walk: the steps are probably whatever length the person’s legs require in order to match the person they learned to march next to (a problem you probably also see among marching band alum); the arms swing in a not-quite-natural rhythm at a not-quite-natural distance from the body. The hands are half-curled and the arms have a somewhat gorilla-esque curve to them. The shoulders…we won’t say swagger, but noticeably shift from side to side. It’s not a march, but it’s a learned step, and if your soldier is wearing a uniform, they’re walking this way.
And honestly it’s really only vexing when they’re in uniform when they do it, mostly because I cannot count the number of times I’ve been sitting in the car waiting for my husband to emerge from the building only to be confronted with a wave of round-abouts-six-feet-tall men in uniform Walking towards me…no…wait that one’s hair might be too short…no the hair’s okay, are those his sunglasses? wait he’s coming this way he’s coming…no they’re all going…towards their cars because their cars are not my car because they are NOT MY HUSBAND HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN EVEN BE IN THAT BUILDING YOU SAID YOU’D BE DONE TEN MINUTES AGO.
The rest of this post could be a reflection on uniformity and diversity in the Army, but I spent twenty minutes in ninety-five-degree heat waiting for my husband this afternoon (which I’d rather do than deal with the hassle of affording a second car) and the heat has sapped my strength, mental and physical. Besides, we’ve barely even talked about what the Army is! Who the Army is! It’s far too soon to be reflecting.
So for now, I leave you with the fact: all soldiers walk the same.