Encounters with friends & strangers

No Room For Memorizing Lyrics AND Scriptures

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 16, 2021

Like most churches, ours helpfully puts the words to the hymns on a screen for all to see. Today, however, as we start the next song, the screen suddenly flickers and quits. The onstage chorus looks at each other in confusion, but the pianist is still playing strong, so everyone desperately tries to mumble along to the melody. The pastor tries to call out the words for us, but it’s hard to understand what exactly he’s saying.

Finally, we get to the refrain, which apparently everyone knows by heart, as the entire congregation suddenly belts it loud and clear! The lyrics screen briefly resurrects for a moment, just long enough to display the words we’re already singing from memory, and then dies before the next verse again.

Once again, we mumble along until the refrain: “Ner ner ner ner ner… BEEECAAUSE HE LIIIIIIVES!”

By the look of things, our pastor was moved to tears. Perhaps you had to be there, but it was certainly one of the more memorable worship sessions I’ve ever been to.

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You Think They’d Accept Mastercard?

, , , , , | Friendly | January 14, 2021

My friend is getting ready to move to New Zealand for work — literally the other side of the world — and has sold or given away all of his possessions, including his bed. He is one of the loveliest people I have ever met but not the most organised.

I visit him the morning he is due to get on the plane so I can say goodbye.

Me: “Are you ready to go? How are you feeling?”

Friend: “A bit daft.”

Me: “Why?”

Friend: “It turns out you need a visa to move to New Zealand.”

It took him another month to be able to get out there. Fortunately, his work was okay with this and the job was still waiting for him!

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What Subject Do You Teach? Just Curious.

, , , , | Friendly | January 12, 2021

I am in college and I’m trying to find a parking spot. Once I find one and park, a lady in the car in front of me swings her door open and starts yelling at me.  

Lady: “You hit my car!”

Me: *Calmly* “No, ma’am, I did not.”

Lady: “Yes, you did! Do I need to get the police involved? I will call them. You’re going to make me late to the class I have to teach!”

Me: “You are welcome to call the police if you feel the need to, but I can assure you that I did not hit your vehicle.”

Lady: “Oh, yeah?! How are you so sure?!”

I point to the cement post for the streetlight directly in front of my car.

Me: “Because if I had, my front bumper on the passenger side would be completely smushed in.”

The lady realizes there’s no way I could have actually hit her car.

Lady: “Well… I… Uh… Well, I guess since there’s no damage to my car, I’ll leave it this time and won’t call the police.”

She walked off toward the building and I moved my car to a different area just in case.

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Miss Frizzle’s Cousin Is A Lot Of Fun

, , , , , | Friendly | January 10, 2021

I’ve just arrived at the bus station having got off a plane at Heathrow Airport, a journey I know well and strangely enjoy. Now is the final leg before I make it home.

I arrive at the embarkation point just before the bus is due, having heard that there was a holdup on the bus route, and the previous bus has not arrived.

I talk to the glum-looking guy at the bus stop.

Me: “Come far?”

Guy: “Yeah, flew in from [Location] and I’ve been waiting an hour for this bus to come.”

Me: “Never mind. Now that I’m here, it will arrive in no time.”

And as I speak, it comes trundling into the bus station and pulls up in front of us.

Guy: *Amazed and delighted* “How did you do that?”

Me: “I’m the Magic Bus-Bringer!”

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I Guess We Both Get To Sit Here Forever, Park-Camper!

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 9, 2021

This happens more than ten years ago when I’m barely thirteen and my family has just moved from the southern USA to the North East. We arrive in mid-February, just two days before a massive nor’easter hits, dumping just about a foot of snow. My mom is from the area, so she knows how to deal with this. My little brother and I do not. He was born in the south and we moved there when I was just six months old, so both of us are just this side of useless when it comes to snow, having never seen more than five inches our whole lives.

The day after the storm, my brother and I have to get to school. We wake up extra early and spend the better part of two hours shoveling our sidewalk, digging out the car, and clearing out the parking space — there’s street parking only on this block.

When we’re finally done, my mom marks her parking space with a chair. It’s common practice up here to save your space, because people who have lived here forever and know what happens every winter will still refuse to shovel their own space and use whatever is available, no matter who shoveled it.

We pile into my mom’s little Audi. While waiting for it to warm up, we see a big Hummer screech to a halt behind us and flip his blinker on. He’s clearly waiting for us to leave so he can take our spot. My mom isn’t having this. She shifts the car back into park, turns the blinker off, and waits for him to leave. 

After a few minutes of waiting, we can see the guy getting more and more frustrated. He’s gesturing at my mom, banging his steering wheel, laying on his horn for twenty-plus seconds at a time. He’s just so ANGRY he can’t have the spot all the way down the block from his house that HE DIDN’T DO ALL THE WORK FOR.

Finally, after about five minutes, he gets out and storms up to the driver’s side window. My mom barely cracks it.

Mom: “Yes, can I help you?”


Mom: “Oh? Is there a plow coming or something?”


Mom: *Laughing* “Yeahhhh, I don’t think so. We just spent half the morning shoveling this spot. I am legally parked in front of my house, and I know you know the common courtesy in this state of not parking in a spot you didn’t clear and didn’t claim. So you can go shovel out in front of your own house!”

She rolled the window up and pretended to answer her phone. The angry guy stood out there in around twenty degrees Fahrenheit having a Grade-A hissy fit — screaming, stomping, banging on the car window, and even throwing snowballs at the windshield. That one made us laugh, which only made him angrier. His face was so hot I think there was actual steam coming off of his cheeks. 

Ten whole minutes later, he finally got in his car and slammed on the gas. The satisfying ending? D**khead had left his car going so long he ran out of gas and had to call a tow truck. We were late for school. Totally worth it.

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