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Encounters with friends & strangers

Don’t You Fence With Me, People

, , , , , | Friendly Right | July 1, 2022

Our Homeowners Association built a fence around the neighborhood — a lowest bidder type situation. It looks okay. It’s reddish colored and tall enough, but the boards are flimsy. It’s been a few years and it’s starting to fall apart — nails missing, boards fell off, etc. I let the HOA know about it a few months ago. I’ve hammered a few boards in to keep my dogs safe when I let them out, but mostly I’ve been waiting for them to fix it.

They haven’t touched it in months.

I notice one of the panels has come loose — no nails in the upper and middle part, just one in the bottom. Anyone could pull on the fence and walk right into my backyard. I say enough is enough and I go out to fix it all. I replace boards that have fallen from the outside, put the panels back together, and get a solid fence line.

My house backs up to a busy street, and when the red light is on, cars back up all the way past my house area.

I’m on the outside of my fence, trying to get nail holes to line up and screwing things into place, when I become aware of honking noises. Before I can take off my headphones, a large cup of melted ice and watered-down soda slams into the fence next to me and splashes its contents on my right side, soaking my shirt and some of my pants.

Needless to say, I’m startled.

I pull out my headphones and turn to look at the street. The light is green but a husband and lady are holding up traffic. Apparently, they’ve been trying to yell at me and get my attention. When yelling failed, the lady in the passenger seat thought throwing a half-full cup at me was a good way of getting my attention. It worked.

I’m looking at her with a “WTF” look and cars are driving around them honking. I don’t even get to say anything before she starts screeching at me.

Woman: “You need to get off your a** and move down to my fence! I’m tired of my fence being s*** and no one fixing it. How dare you ignore my fence and start down here?!”

No apologies. No civility. Just screeching and throwing her s*** at people and blocking traffic for everyone else.

I’m usually a really nice person, but I’m done with being yelled at for things and putting up with ignorance, so I don’t try to hold back on my anger. I might feel badly later, but for now, I’m more than done.

I put my drill down, grab my water, and take a few steps toward them.

Me: “I don’t work here. I live here.”

Or at least, I attempted. She and her husband aren’t listening. They are both still going off about their fence and lazy, fat, useless employees and the HOA.

I unscrew the large cap off my water bottle. The water splashes on my fingers. It’s ice cold.


Both of their faces go full pucker. As the lady draws breath and starts to shriek again, I toss the contents of my water bottle toward their open window. She gets a decent bit to the face, which shuts her up. I doubt I got the hubby, but enough went in the SUV that I know he’s annoyed.

Me: And if you ever throw something at me again, I’ll beat your g**d*** a**.”

Then, while her screaming in rage was going on, I gathered my drill and went back to work.

The husband jumped out of the SUV, but he was 5’6’ and 150 pounds tops and I’m 6’1” and 300 pounds, so he yelled at me but didn’t try to make contact. I responded with a finger and he got back in his vehicle and flew off with tires screeching. They went thirty feet and had to stop at the light, well within my sight and hearing.

The F-bombs were glorious. Plus, knowing my fence is better than theirs helps.

I shouldn’t be surprised at the way people treat people on the job. But did they think going off and yelling at people would actually succeed? Let alone throwing a cup of old soda at me?

If You’re Not Responsible For Your Pets, You Never Know What Could Happen

, , , , , , | Friendly | July 1, 2022

When my godmother was young, in the 1970s, she lived on a rural road not far outside a small coastal town in California. Her family had a small farm with horses and chickens and multiple dogs. One of the neighbors had a pair of dogs who were allowed to wander and who often wandered to my godmother’s house. The dogs were a Chow Chow and a short-haired white dog whose breed my godmother did not know.

The dogs weren’t really a problem. They were friendly and well-behaved — they just liked to come visiting — but my godmother and her family worried about them getting hit on the road, or running into a bear or a mountain lion. Her parents called their neighbors several times and asked them to keep their dogs home before something bad happened to them. The neighbors always blew them off saying the dogs were fine, and they weren’t doing any damage so they didn’t need to keep them home.

One summer day, when the kids were home from school, my godmother’s mother had an idea. The dogs had come down the road to visit again, and this time, instead of trying to chase them off and tell them to go home, my godmother and her family lured them into the yard with treats. Then, they shaved the Chow and dyed the white dog orange with Kool-Aid.

By all accounts, the dogs did not object to this at all and were very happy with the attention and the treats. At the end of the day, the dogs went home as usual.

The owners of the dogs were quite upset, but my godmother’s family never admitted to any of it. The dogs were kept home after that incident.

A Potentially Toxic Recommendation

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 29, 2022

When I was growing up, there weren’t many kids my age whose company I enjoyed. At church, I usually ended up in the little library, which was frequented almost exclusively by elderly women. I befriended a few of them enough that one asked if I had any book recommendations.

After a few seconds of thought, I gave her the title and author of a creative nonfiction book I’d recently finished and thoroughly enjoyed. She thought it sounded interesting, so she went and got a copy from her local library.

Two weeks later, she’d finished the book, so I asked her how she’d liked it.

Old Lady: “You know, it’s the funniest thing. When I started reading it, my husband gave me an odd look and asked if everything was all right. When my son saw me reading it, he pulled me aside to ask if everything was okay with me and my husband. My daughter-in-law wanted to know if everything was all right at home. And my granddaughter — she’s eleven — asked if everything was okay, as well!”

At that moment, I remembered that I’d recommended to her a book titled “The Poisoner’s Handbook.”

I wonder how much worry I inflicted on her family with a simple book recommendation.

Pokémon Go The Extra Mile

, , , , | Friendly Right | June 27, 2022

My husband is very introverted and shy, avoids strangers, and has trouble saying no. If he comes across a sales pitch person, he can’t bring himself to say, “No, thank you,” and walk away before the sales pitch starts and instead politely listens to the end.

My husband gets a notification that there’s a rare mobile game pocket monster on the other side of our shopping mall. He rushes out, and when he gets to a road, he sees a blind man waiting at the crosswalk (eyes closed, white cane, so he assumed blind). He has right of way, but since he can’t see traffic, he clearly hesitates.

Nervous, my husband carefully says there’s no car, worried he might insult the man. However, the blind man thanks him and crosses the road. My husband is ready to turn left when the blind man asks: 

Blind Man: “Do you know where [Store] is?”

Husband: *Gestures* “Eh, yeah, it’s that…” *realises what he’s doing* “Eh, it’s straight ahead.”

Blind Man: “Thank you so much. Have a good day!”

My husband stops to check how much time he still has for the rare pocket monster. Behind him, he hears:

Blind Man: “Excuse me, excuse me? Is this the right way to [Store]?”

My husband sees the clock ticking but puts the phone away. He walks to the man. 

Husband: “Sir, do you want me to walk you to the store?”

Blind Man: “Oh, how kind of you. I hope it’s not out of your way?”

Husband: “Nah, I still have time.”

My husband told me he felt very awkward all the time, not really knowing how to behave or what to say. He walked the man to the store, and when they entered:

Store Owner: “Hey, [Blind Man], I see you managed to rope someone into bringing you again!”

Blind Man: “Yes, and I would like to get him something.”

Husband: “Whoa, that’s not needed!”

Blind Man: “No, no, I insist! Do you like grapes? [Store Owner], how are the grapes?”

The store owner gives him a few to taste.

Blind Man: “Excellent! Now, how many are you at home?”

Husband: “No, no, it’s not needed. You’re most welcome.”

Blind Man: “Nonsense! Here, taste these grapes! They are very sweet. Now, how many are you at home?”

Husband: “Eh… just my wife and me.”

Blind Man: “Three cases for this man! Put it on my tab!”

Not much later, my husband was outside with about one and a half kilos of grapes, quite confused. Collecting himself, he got out his phone — seven minutes left! He decided to sprint for it… and made it! (It turned out it was not worth it after all!)

I’m very proud of my husband. Maybe that’s why the grapes taste extra sweet.

Here We Pokémon Go Again, Part 45
Here We Pokémon Go Again, Part 44
Here We Pokémon Go Again, Part 43
Here We Pokémon Go Again, Part 42
Here We Pokémon Go Again, Part 41

We Hope He Was In A Hurry To Get A Carseat For His Kid!

, , , , , | Friendly | June 27, 2022

My friend and I are maybe seventeen years old. My friend is driving, and we’re on a two-lane road that is kind of windy and has some small hills on it. There is no passing on the road at any point simply due to the fact that you cannot see what’s coming around the corner.

The speed limit on the road is thirty miles per hour because there are some residential houses on the road, and so many turns and bends in the road make it unsafe to go much faster.

We come upon this part of the road where it goes up a hill for about 150 feet, and then at the crest, it goes back down around 200 or 250 feet, but then the road bends to the left and you cannot see what’s coming around the bend of the road.

As we approach the bottom of the hill, my friend is already going about thirty-five miles per hour. A pickup truck flies up behind us from almost out of nowhere and the driver is right on our bumper. The guy is so close that we cannot see his windshield, just the grill and headlights of this truck, and he’s flashing his headlights.

Being teenagers and feeling like we should teach the guy a lesson, my friend slows down as we’re going up the hill. He takes his foot off the gas and we slow down to maybe fifteen miles per hour as we reach the top of the hill.

This doesn’t keep the guy in the pickup truck from backing off. He’s still right on our bumper. Once we reach the top of the hill, my friend puts his foot back on the gas pedal and we start to slowly pick up speed, but this just isn’t working for the pickup driver. He swerves across the double yellow center line to pass us.

This choice of action leads my friend to step on the gas pedal, and for a few moments, we are racing the pickup truck down a two-lane road that goes for a few hundred feet before going around a bend. I look left and see a young girl, maybe around the age of five, not in a child seat. She has a look of fear in her eyes as she stands on the passenger seat, clinging to the headrest.

Me: “Just let the jerk pass us, [Friend]. He’s got a little kid in the truck with him.”

My friend agreed and slowed down to let the truck get in front of us just before we got to the bottom of the road where it bent around the corner. Not even a second after the truck got back in the right lane, a car coming from the other direction came around the bend.

My friend and I, not making the best decisions at first, were almost the cause of a head-on collision that would have certainly gotten someone killed. Then again, I’m not sure if the pickup driver’s decisions were in the best interest of his daughter as she rode with him.

All in all, an accident was avoided by us, but it did make us rethink our choices when it comes to trying to teach someone a lesson when driving.