David M. Foster
SOCI111, American Public University
25 February 2013
A day in the life of David M. Foster begins early. The alarm clocks begin sounding at 0445 Monday morning, even though I don’t get up until almost 0530. I am a deep sleeper and have a hard time waking up. My wife, Sarah, is not a heavy sleeper and is constantly awoken by my myriad of alarm sounds while I attempt to wake up enough to get out of bed. At 0530, I get up, turning off all the alarms so as not to aggravate my wife further. In a face-saving gesture, Sarah says nothing and acts as though she were asleep the entire time. Face-saving behaviors are “techniques used to salvage a performance (interaction) that is going sour” (Henslin, 2011, p.114). Sarah has acted this way so that I don’t feel badly about waking her, even though we both know that my inability to get up quickly irks her each and every morning. I have to catch the bus, so I rapidly get dressed and grab my bag. When I get to the bus stop, there are several people there, but because the temperature is so low (about 20 degrees), no one says much. We generally keep to ourselves that early in the morning anyway. I do nod to those who are senior to me in rank and position in the military, as is customary for the services. One is expected to give the “greeting of the day”, basically a “good morning” to those who are senior in rank to you. Because I am of a junior rank, even as a seasoned NCO, I play that role. I have been playing that role for more than 15 years at this point and have come to acknowledge that it is part of my self-concept (Henslin, 2011, p114). At 0550, the bus arrives, late as usual. Just as soon as I sit down on the bus, I shoot off a text message to my supervisor, SFC Cooper, letting her know that I’m on the bus. The reason for this is two-fold. One, accountability formation is at 0630 (the bus ride is 20 minutes, minimum) and two, to let her know that I’m on the bus and didn’t just oversleep. The US Military ingrains certain standards of action into you as resocialization. Resocialization is “the process of learning new norms, values, attitudes, and behaviors” (Henslin, 2011, p86). These standards become norms. Norms are “expectations or rules of behavior that reflect and enforce behavior” (Henslin, 2011, p46). One of these norms is that you must arrive 10 minutes prior to any formation. This is not a more, but a folkway. Not arriving at the appointed time violates a more. A folkway is a “norm that is not strictly enforced” (Henslin, 2011, p49), while a more is a “norm that is strictly enforced because it is thought essential to core values or to the well-being of the group” (Henslin, 2011, p49). At 0615, we arrived at the gate to Patch Barracks, the military Kaserne, or installation. The civilian guard is a Local National, so I greet him with a “Guten Morgen” (German for Good Morning). If he had been one of the few American guards, I would have just spoken in English. At 0635, after our accountability formation, I change into my uniform for the day, the Army Combat Uniform. The Uniform helps to indentify the subculture that we all belong to. Each service has its’ own uniform and its’ own subculture. A subculture results from “the values and related behaviors of a group that distinguish its members from the larger culture” (Henslin, 2011, p49). The US Military is a subculture of the United States of America and the US Army is a subculture of the US Military. Fast forward to after breakfast, its 0800 and I arrive (ten minutes early) for the Equal Opportunity Leader (EOL) Course that I am attending this week. Here I meet SFC Trussell, the instructor for the course and also the Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA) for the Stuttgart, Germany area. SFC Trussell is my senior, so I defer to him and address him as “Sergeant”, which is in line with our folkways and mores. During the first part of...