The latest entry into the Rob Jones Blog series…
My first instinct when I am approached by a stranger asking questions about my injury is to be terse but polite. Generally for me, the shorter the conversation, the better. This inclination stems from a natural aversion to talk about myself, and a seven year history of being asked the same questions repeatedly by different individuals, which frankly gets monotonous. It can be irritating to answer “how did that happen” type questions in the airport when all I want to do is listen to a book on tape until the plane departs.
Most people would find this to be understandable, and I do not disagree. But there is a problem. Not only with my approach, but between civilians and veterans. There is a gap in understanding between us that, in certain circumstances, can lead to interpersonal problems, arguments, and lost opportunities.
We need to be a part of the solution. Regardless of how many times you have been asked the same question, or how annoying it may be, the responsibility of reducing the civilian-military gap of understanding lies with both parties. The civilian is doing their part by asking in order to understand. So it is only right for me and other veterans to explain our side. Explain your perspective. Forego feelings of frustration, embarrassment, or humility. Communicate. It is the only way.