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Encounters with friends & strangers

Damsels And Stress

, , , , | Friendly | January 20, 2022

I’m doing some window shopping on a busy high street. A woman walking ahead of me drops something off the massive pile of boxes she is carrying. I chase after her.

Me: “Excuse me?”

Woman: *Exasperated* “What?”

Me: “You dropped this.”

Woman: “Oh, thank you! I thought you were— It doesn’t matter what I thought. Can you put it back on the pile?”

Me: “Sure.”

I carefully balance the box on top like a Jenga tower. I’ve barely stepped away when an old woman interjects.

Old Woman: “How could you let her struggle like that? A real man would offer help!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Old Woman: “Look at that massive pile you are making her carry.”

Me: “I’m not making her carry anything!”

Woman: “Excuse me, I never asked for help. I don’t even know this man.”

Old Woman: “Doesn’t matter. He should still help.”

Me: “I don’t have time for this. I’m sorry, I would help, but I do have other things to do.”

Woman: “No, really, thank you. You have done more than enough.” *To the old woman* “But you, you… You need to mind your own business.”

Old Woman: “Well, I never! In my day—”

Woman: “This isn’t your day. Men aren’t honour-bound to rescue women, nor are they any less of a man…”

I lost the conversation as I had to get back to shopping. But it sounded like a great lesson in minding your own business!

Let Me Lend You Some Advice: You’re A Jerk

, , , , | Friendly | January 18, 2022

It might sound mean, but I don’t lend anyone anything, only close family members — and some of them, only things that I wouldn’t hate not getting back. Far too many times I have lent someone something and it never came back or it came back broken. Occasionally, they would even lie and tell me they already returned it or that they never borrowed it in the first place! I was fed up with being used.

The last time I lent something was to an old school friend. We weren’t that close anymore; if we didn’t live near each other I wouldn’t talk to him at all.

I am at work when I get a message from him.

School Friend: “Hey, I popped round earlier and borrowed your rake and a few other tools. Hope you don’t mind.”

Me: “Not happy about you taking stuff when I’m not there. Sure, borrow it for now, but I need it back for the weekend.”

School Friend: “Sure, sure.”

A couple of days later, I swing by his place, but he’s not there. Annoyingly, he’s left my tools out where they could have been taken by anyone. It would explain why some of the other stuff he borrowed never came back. I message him.

Me: “Hey, you done with my tools yet? I need them for the weekend. I’ve got people coming over.”

School Friend: “Not yet, will let you know.”

Friday comes around; people are coming round tomorrow.

Me: “When are you home? I need my tools back.”

School Friend: “I haven’t even started with them yet. I was going to do it this weekend.”

Me: “That’s not going to work for me. I need them back.”

School Friend: “I said I still need them. I’m not going to be back until late.”

Nope, not okay. I drive over, pick up my tools, and just about finish the garden in time. I pick up a new lock that he can’t force open and try not to let it ruin my weekend.

I get a few calls from him that I ignore. A while later, I bump into him in the pub.

School Friend: “Hey, I know I said I would be finished with your stuff, but I need it for a bit longer.”

Me: “What?”

School Friend: “I’ll let you know when I’m done, all right?”

Me: “Whatever, just don’t bother me.”

He goes quiet for a few weeks. I’m hoping that this will be the last of his “borrowing” ways. Then, I get a message.

School Friend: “I’ve left your tools outside your house. Sorry it took so long.”

I was confused, but it became clear when I saw that he dumped a load of cheap and broken tools on my doorstep. Clearly, he was trying to pass them off as the ones he’d “lost”. I let him think he’d “gotten away with it” until he asked to borrow something else and I told him no, after what he did last time.

They Need To Filter Their Deliveries A Little Better

, , , , , | Friendly | January 16, 2022

For Christmas, my mother ordered some blue light-filtering glasses online as a gift for my dad. Package theft isn’t a major concern in our area, but some delivery drivers had been leaving packages by the garage door, so she chose an option for the driver to take photos of the delivered packages so we’d know for sure when they arrived.

Lo and behold, she gets a photo of the box with the glasses on a neighbor’s porch across the street. No big deal, though it is odd that the neighbor doesn’t call us about it or drop it off. Once my mom figures out which house it is, she calls to ask for it. At first, our neighbor is genuinely confused, though.

Neighbor: “I didn’t get any mistaken packages! What was in it?”

Mom: “A pair of blue light-filtering glasses.”

Neighbor: “Oh! I know what happened!”

Her daughter and son-in-law had been visiting from out of state, and in a total coincidence, he had ordered the exact same glasses to their house! The neighbors were getting a lot of packages at the time, so they hadn’t bothered checking the address before opening it. When they opened the box, he figured they were the ones he ordered. By the time Mom called, he’d already returned to his home state, taking the glasses with him.

Our neighbor was mortified and apologized profusely. My mom was totally understanding, and I think she just took the pair the neighbor’s son-in-law ordered when it arrived or ordered another pair. The glasses were fairly cheap and not a “major” gift, just something she ordered on a whim, so even if she hadn’t been able to replace them it wouldn’t have been a big deal. Still, what are the odds that they’d deliver it to someone who ordered the same thing?

It’s Important To Know Your Own Worth

, , , , , | Friendly | January 14, 2022

Two friends and I are driving down a scenic road on the river. This area is known for big mansions, and most of the residents make at least half a million dollars a year. We drive past and wax poetic about if we had the money to afford any of them. We pass by a home under construction with two massive staircases and huge bay windows with balconies. I raise my hand out the window.

Me: “I am open for a sugar daddy! I’ll even do weird stuff!”

My friends both burst into laughter.

Friend: “That’s going on your tombstone.”

That Escalated… Immediately

, , , , | Friendly | January 12, 2022

I pull into the petrol station which is quite busy. The pump I am aiming to pull up to happens to be near the entrance door. As the pump is currently busy, I pull up behind the car using it but leave room for the people who are walking toward the door to enter the station and pay. They do that little dance you do when you’re not sure if a car is stopping for you, so to clarify, I wave them through.

Two of the people about to cross seem to be together. The first man walks on as I wave him through, but the other man stops to wave me forward. I’m a bit confused because I can’t move forward as there is a car at that pump, something that he’d notice if he turned his head even slightly. I give him another friendly (albeit a bit confused) wave to go ahead and he absolutely loses his mind!

Man #1: “GO, C***!”

He has his chest forward like he intends to come at me. I’m utterly in shock. Part of my brain wants to wind my window down to calmly explain that I can’t move forward, but luckily, my shock keeps me motionless. He eventually walks toward the door, still ranting and raving, and the guy he is with physically turns him around.

Man #2: “Walk back to the car.”

I was still sitting in my car in shock. Another customer, an older man, had been watching the scene unfold as if he was going to jump in if need be. He walked past my car window and gave me a sympathetic and confused look. That made me feel a bit safer about the situation, but I spent the rest of the day wondering how someone could become so angry so quickly about someone giving them the right of way that they’d scream, swear, and physically threaten a mum sitting in her car with her toddler. And it was only 9:00 am. I’d hate to see how the rest of his day played out.