Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered
Encounters with friends & strangers

It Takes A Village (Priest)

, , , , | Friendly | December 1, 2022

I’m doing a study for which I need to interview residents of a few towns and villages who identify as [Nationality] and can speak [Language]. For that, I usually try to contact the local priest, since he usually knows best where to look for interviewees — and, since I’m of the same faith as them, it’s an additional icebreaker with the [Nationality]’s community if I meet them at church. 

I’m in [Town] and have been told that [Town Priest] will be at the church today. As I approach the church, I see a priest walking to his car and hurry toward him.

Me: “I’m so sorry. Are you the priest?”

Priest: *Flabbergasted* “Yes.”

I begin to explain about my research.

Priest: “I’m not [Town Priest]. I’m [Village Priest] from [Village].”

Just… my… luck…

With lots of awkward mumbling from me, the situation was cleared up, and he agreed when I asked him if I could visit [Village], too; it’s got many [Language] speakers, as well. Then, I finally went to the church and met with [Town Priest], too, who was there already. 

Only later did I realize how it must have looked like to [Village Priest]. With me running toward him in such a hurry and asking if he was a priest, he probably thought someone was in dire need of last rites!

Didn’t Ex-speck-t To Be So Sleepy

, , , , | Friendly | November 30, 2022

I’m on the phone with a friend late at night. I’m working with some software for a hobby, and she’s writing a paper for school.

Friend: “Why won’t this period delete?!”

Me: “Is it a speck on your screen?”

There’s a moment of silence.

Friend: “Yes…”

Me: *Trying not to laugh* “That’s what you get for writing a paper at 11:42 at night!”

This Day At The Beach Was No Day At The Beach

, , , , , | Friendly | November 28, 2022

When I was a young child, my parents would always be invited to a Fourth Of July party held at a private beach on the bay by a friend of my father’s. The beach did not happen to have a restroom; we had to walk a little ways away to find the porta-potties.

One holiday, I needed to pee, but both my parents were busy talking to other grown-ups. I knew they wouldn’t want me going on my own, but I decided I was big enough to manage the trek, and I figured they wouldn’t even notice I had gone. I found the potties just as I planned, but on my way back, I missed my turn and soon was hopelessly lost.

Eventually, a man came out to find out why I was walking through his yard. I didn’t have shoes since I had been playing in the bay, and the road was hurting my bare feet. I tried to explain where the party was, but my limited explanation wasn’t enough for the man to figure out where to take me, so he instead offered to walk with me for a while until I found my way back.

Once it became clear that I must be walking in the wrong direction, he took me to a neighbor who he hoped could drive me around to look for them. Sadly, both that neighbor’s car and boat were not available at the moment, so I briefly had two escorts walking with me until they could find a third volunteer with a functional car to drive me around to look for the party.

By this point, I’d figured out where I had gone wrong and asked to be taken back to the porta-potties. I’m pretty sure I would have found the turn this time, but I didn’t need to, as the flashing lights of a police car in a nearby lot gave away where the turn was. It seemed my parents had noticed I’d gone missing and the police had been called.

The man dropped me off with my parents and got many thanks in return. I was scared, and exhausted from all the walking and worrying, but I was thankful I’d had numerous volunteers to help me find my way back.

It’s a small thing, but when everyone tries to make it sound like the world is falling apart, I try to remember that there are still decent people who will give up their afternoon to make sure a lost child finds his way home.

Thanks For The Ableist And Presumptuous Compliment!

, , , , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: VincentValentina | November 26, 2022

This incident took place when I was three years old, so all of the information comes from my mother.

When I was around two, my parents found out I had autism and ADHD when I went to a doctor’s visit. Like the loving parents they were, they still loved me for the beautiful mess I was. However, the 2000s weren’t exactly the best for someone with a mental disability. Ableists were running amok.

Mama was walking with me in a stroller at a park near my old house, which was a townhouse. I was munching down on some Goldfish crackers (this will be important later) when a woman approached my mother.

Woman: “Awww, what a cute little tot! What’s her name?”

Mama: “[My Name]. She’s my sweet little angel. Right, [My Name]?”

I held up a cracker.

Me: “Fishie!”

My mom cracked a smile as I giggled. But one way or another, something touched me. It could have been a bug or the leather of the stroller, but my little mind began to panic. I started to stim, which back then was me tugging or grooming my hair. The woman noticed this and gasped.

Woman: “What’s going on with her?”

My mom paused and then noticed what was going on. She bent down to my level and stroked my scalp, which calmed me down immediately. I then happily went back to eating my crackers. However, it seemed like the woman hadn’t gotten her answer yet. She looked at my mother with a worried look on her face.

Woman: “Is she okay? Why was she tugging at her hair?”

Mama: “Oh, she was just stimming. It happens when she feels uncomfortable or upset.”

The woman was confused, but then it clicked for her.

Woman: *Looking grim* “Oh, she has autism. I’m so sorry.”

My mom is confused as well, but more importantly, she’s a tad ticked off.

Mama: “I only recently found out — about a year ago. She was diagnosed at [Local Medical Office] by [Doctor].”

The woman’s face turned from pity to disbelief.

Woman: “[Doctor] doesn’t have any medical experience. I brought my daughter to him, telling him about her broken leg from falling off of her scooter, and he said it was just a scrape! You shouldn’t be taking anything from him.”

Mama: *Pauses* “I’ve seen [Doctor] before, and he’s the best doctor I’ve visited yet. He’s the only one willing to see [My Name]. Not many doctors around here are open to those with autism.”

Woman: “But she doesn’t have autism.”

My mother gripped onto the stroller handles, wondering how this lady thought she was the professional doctor around here.

Mama: “What was that?”

Woman: “Your daughter does not have autism. She looks nothing like someone with autism. Plus, autistic people can’t talk, yet she can. [Doctor] probably told you she had autism just to mess with you.”

Mama: *Gripping the stroller tighter* “What are you implying?”

Woman: “You don’t get what I’m saying? I’m saying [My Name] is too pretty to have autism. And there’s another thing I can show you to prove that she doesn’t have autism.” *Kneels down to my level* “What is one plus one?”

Me: “Two.”

Woman: *Standing back up* “See, she can’t have autism. Most autistic people are r******d.

My mom was physically shaking at this point. However, before she could retaliate against all of the woman’s BS, I spoke up.

Me: “Mean shark.”

Woman: *Looking down at me* “What?”

Me: “Mean shark, eat salt!”

I then proceeded to throw goldfish crackers at this lady. The woman was either disgusted or annoyed, as she glared my mother in the eye as she tried to stop me from throwing my snack.

Woman: “How could you raise your child like that?! What little girl throws food at adults?”

Me: “Because the dinosaurs died.”

Woman: *Confused* “What?”

Me: “But one lives! It eats salt.”

The woman was enraged by my answer, but she only stomped away. After all, she wouldn’t want a bad reputation for punching a toddler, would she? Finally, my mom said something to her as she was stalking off.

Mama: “Never, and I mean never, assume someone is too pretty to have autism!”

She’s Dogging Your Every Step

, , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: fredzred | November 24, 2022

This happened in the late 1990s. When I was younger, my mother rescued and rehomed animals as well as breeding for profit. We weren’t like a puppy mill. Most were purebred cats, dogs, and horses that had homes lined up before conception.

One of the dogs we rescued (when I was about seven or eight) was a pregnant Great Dane crossed with Bullmastiff. She delivered about five puppies not long after we rescued her. What we didn’t expect was parvo, a highly contagious illness that affects dogs and has a very high mortality rate. I can’t remember if the mother had parvo or if the puppies caught it after they were born, but out of all the puppies, only one survived: a boy that we named Tiger.

Anyone familiar with the temperament of a Great Dane will understand what sort of dog Tiger was. To call him a gentle giant is an understatement. He had the height of a Great Dane, standing at twenty-eight inches tall, with the shoulders, girth, and weight of a Bullmastiff — well over 100 pounds — with dark brown stripes all over him. To be totally honest, he looked terrifying but would sooner lick you to death than he would growl or even bark at you — not that I ever heard him bark or growl at anyone.

When I was nine, we moved to a small town with a church on every corner and a population of 2,000 narrow-minded people. We were a family of four — my younger sister, my older brother, our mother, and me — with our entourage of animals — eight dogs, two cats, three horses, and a few chickens which soon grew into a small zoo — and a family of atheists moving to a very churchy town. Needless to say, we didn’t fit in and stood out like a sore thumb.

A few days after moving there, I decided to take Tiger for a walk and have a look around the town. Tiger could be walked without a lead, but as this was a new environment for both of us, it was safer to put him on a lead. We lived just out of town along a highway — think “Pet Sematary” and the cat — so it was about a ten-minute walk to town, and after a five-minute walk up a hill, there was a turnoff to a long stretch of road that led into town.

I was halfway down the road when I heard someone shout:

Woman: “Hey! YOU! What do you think you’re doing with that dog?!”

There were only four or five houses along that road, with no traffic, so there was nobody else this person could have been yelling at. I looked around and saw a woman out the front of her house walking toward me.

Woman: “You deaf? I said, what do you think you’re doing with that dog?”

Me: “Walking him?”

Woman: “He’s dangerous! You’d better keep that mutt away from me and my family if you know what’s good for you!”

Me: “Okay.”

I continued walking. She muttered something as I walked away but I have no clue what it was. I didn’t see her on my walk back home, but we crossed paths about a week later, but this time, she was in her car and Tiger wasn’t on a lead.

I took the same path as the week before, only this time I was closer to town than our first encounter. I heard a car coming up behind me, so I went to the side and told Tiger to follow. We were walking on the side of the road as the woman came up beside us and rolled down her window.

Woman: “Put that dirty mutt on a lead right now or I’m calling the police!”

Me: “He’s fine to be off leash, and he’s not dangerous. I promise, he’s very well behaved.”

In my state and the area this happened in, it’s legal to have a dog off leash if the dog is well behaved and under control by the owner.

Woman: “He’s not fine. He’s scaring my kids!”

She was the only person in the car and I’d never seen her kids. I tried to calm her down and reassure her that he was a good dog.

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but he’s a good dog. Look. Tiger, sit. Good boy. Stay.”

I walked away while Tiger sat in the same spot until I called for him to follow.

But do you think this helped to settle this woman? Of course not.

Woman: “You’d better get that dog put down before he kills someone! He’s scaring my children!”

Me: “Your kids aren’t even in your car, lady. I’m sorry but I have to go.”

I continued walking to town in the hope that this woman would leave me alone, but the lunatic followed along beside us for most of the way to town until I somehow managed to lose her by turning into a small side street. I didn’t have a mobile phone, so I stopped at a shop to use their phone to call my mum to come to get me. The only way home was the road that this woman’s house was on, and I certainly didn’t want another encounter with her again.

I wish I could say that this was the only bad encounter I had with her and other entitled people in that town, but it’s not.