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Encounters with friends & strangers

They’re Just Wasting Paper

, , , , | Friendly | May 26, 2022

I was in need of lodging for just a few months while working on a project a day’s travel from home. Because the town was booming, empty apartments were unheard of and most people had a couple of roomies in each bedroom plus a couple in the living room. I was thrilled to find a sole tenant looking to fill his second bedroom. It was a nice building, nice location, AND fair rent, so I jumped on the opportunity.

When I arrived with my stuff, there was an eviction notice on the door. My new roomie told me it was nothing to worry about. He said he had been a couple of days late with the rent and the building manager overreacted. That sounded okay.

As I settled in over the next few days, I got to know [Roomie] a bit and learned he was on his first-ever job, making more than double minimum wage for doing almost nothing. Lucky? No, his dad had pulled strings to get him the job. Good for him.

I also noticed that [Roomie] seemed to take every opportunity to waste money. He had the nicest leather couch I’d ever seen. Several designer sunglasses boxes lay around, each sporting a price tag of about $300. He said he just kept scratching them and needing new ones. He had a huge, artistic blown glass bong that he proudly said cost $750. The fridge was full of rotting takeout, yet every night he ordered more because he found leftovers unappetizing. He’d order enough for several people and stuff the extra in the fridge, never to be touched again until I threw it out for being too moldy.

Between his easy work, with not just great pay but many chances to work overtime shifts at double rate, and his constant squandering, he certainly didn’t seem like someone on the brink of homelessness.

But a week after I moved in, there was another eviction notice. And a week later, another.

I went to speak with the building manager myself to find out what was really going on. Turns out [Roomie] hadn’t paid a cent in months! She told me not to be afraid; if he got kicked out, I could keep staying, as she didn’t want the fuss of looking too hard for a new tenant. So, relieved of the anxiety that my own fate was at stake, I continued watching as merely a curious observer and slight friend.

I tried to gently encourage frugal choices. I suggested to [Roomie] that he might do the same when I was cooking up a big pot of stew and putting it in Tupperware for my week’s meals. When he’d announce he was ordering pizza, I’d suggest he eat last night’s. I even asked him directly if he wanted help planning a budget. But he just waved it all off, insisting that he would be fine.

The eviction notices kept coming about weekly. They stopped demanding that he pay back rent OR move out and started demanding that he be gone by a deadline. Starting a month before the deadline, the notices began to include threats that if he was not gone by then, his belongings would be moved out for him.

He kept telling me it was fine, he had a plan, he had things under control, and she didn’t mean any of it.

One day, I had just gotten to bed after a long shift when I heard a pitiful gasping, sniffling sound from the kitchen and then my name whimpered meekly. I ran out to find [Roomie] white as a sheet, doubled over as if gut-shot, holding himself up by clutching the counter. I could tell his denial had cracked and he finally was facing what a mess he’d made of his finances.

Hyperventilating, he gasped my name twice more, and then, right before he began to cry, he said, “She’s kicking me out! I never saw it coming!”

Never. Saw. It. Coming.

Friend-To-Friend Exchange Rates Are Getting Bad

, , | Friendly | May 24, 2022

I was visiting my friend to help with something. I was actively busy playing with her little girls while she cleaned up some stuff when she suddenly showed up to ask me a question.

Friend: “I don’t suppose you want to buy some quarters?”

Me: “Not really, no. I try not to carry any change.”

Friend: “I could sell you ten for twenty bucks.”

Me: “Oh, well, that’s such a bargain, I’d be a fool to say no!”

Friend: “Yeah, I’m willing to sell them at a discount to get rid of them.”

She eventually realized the cause of my sarcasm and clarified that they were collector coins — worth more than twenty dollars. She had been planning to give them as a gift to a friend but for some reason had changed her mind. She was offering them to me to avoid the hassle of reselling them through proper channels.

I still turned her down. I don’t want the hassle of figuring out how to resell them, either.

Creating A Sticky Situation

, , , , | Friendly | May 22, 2022

I pulled into a parking spot at the local grocery store and reached into my back seat to get my reusable bags. In those few seconds, a woman approached my car and rapped her keys against my windshield.

Me: “Yes?”

Woman: “Are you disabled?”

Me: “No, are you?”

Woman: *Offended* “Of course not!”

Me: “Okay.”

Woman: “You can’t park here!”

She pointed at a disabled parking sign in front of my car. It was facing the blue-lined space across from my car. I opened my door enough to look out and saw that I was in a white-lined space.

Me: “This isn’t disabled parking.”

Woman: “Yes, it is! There’s the sign!”

Me: “For that space, yes.”

I got out of the car, making sure to lock it.

Woman: “Move your car! Do you want a ticket? I’ll call the police! I’m tired of you lazy children!”

Me: “Ma’am, this is not disabled parking, so I will not be moving my car.”

I walked off. The woman followed me in the store.

Woman: “You want me to call the cops?”

Me: “I want you to f*** off.”

Woman: “Excuse me?!”

Me: “Look. If you’re so sure I’m wrong, call the police. Otherwise, I will call them for you stalking and harassing me.”

She stared at me for a moment before pulling out her phone and walking back toward the entrance. I saw her duck into a fast-food restaurant near the entrance of the building and figured she was waiting for the police to arrive.

I was wrong. When I returned, there was a milkshake poured over my car, particularly the driver door and the windshield.

Using His Powers Of Intimidation For Good Instead Of Evil

, , , | Friendly | May 20, 2022

One year, while visiting a famous motorcycle rally in New Hampshire, my wife (in a disability scooter) was trying to cross a road protected by a crossing guard. Every time it was the pedestrians’ turn, my wife would be surrounded by people crossing the road, preventing her from crossing. You become invisible on a scooter for some reason. 

This happened for a few cycles.

Then, Biker Dude appeared. He was the personification of a 1% club member — big, bearded, inked with leather and chains, and triple-patched. He was the real deal. He leaned down to my wife, yelling over the noise of all the motorcycles.

Biker Dude: “DO YOU NEED HELP, MA’AM?”

Wife: *Slightly scared* “Uh-huh.”

The next time it was the pedestrians’ turn to cross the road, Biker Dude stood up and bellowed:


Leaning down, he softly said, “Please follow me, ma’am,” and off he went like an icebreaker dressed in leather and chains in the Arctic clearing a path for my wife, on her scooter, following closely behind.

On the other side, the man leaned down again and softly asked:

Biker Dude: “Do you need anything else, ma’am?”

Wife: *In awe* “Uh-uh.”

Biker Dude: “You have a nice day.”

And off Biker Dude disappeared into the crowd.

NEVER judge a book by its cover.

Boring Sermon? Larry-Boy To The Rescue!

, , , , | Friendly | May 18, 2022

A popular Christian kids’ video series once portrayed the story of David and Bathsheba — a Bible tale about adultery and murder — in the form of a greedy king who wants other people’s bath toys. 

My church choir is sitting up in the loft listening to the preacher get going about the need for forgiveness.

Preacher: “But why would King David need forgiveness? Isn’t he one of the Lord’s anointed ones? Well, let me remind you of the time that David went up on the roof of his palace. He looked out across the rooftops, and he saw something he should not have seen.” 

Me: *Quietly* “Rubber ducky.” 

And that’s how I caused the entire soprano section of my choir to nearly suffocate themselves laughing in the middle of a prayer service.