Weeding Out The Bad Neighbors

, , | Friendly | June 19, 2017

(It is during summer and I am about nine years old. A few months prior, the city had decided to fix some nonexistent cracks in the sidewalks and make the residents pay about $500 each for it. Obviously, people complained, but the city informed them that the sidewalks were city property and that the residents had no right to decide whether the repairs were necessary. The residents tried to fight the cost being forced on them, but they lost. One of my neighbors is a bit of a grump who likes to turn tiny problems into huge issues. He also has a large garden, which he tends to obsessively. When I’m walking past his house on the way to a friend’s place, I see a tiny flower (clearly a weed) growing between the cracks of the sidewalk. I pick it and tuck it behind my ear before continuing on my way. My friend isn’t home, though, so I go back to my house. I find my mom and the grumpy neighbor arguing on the front porch.)

Neighbor: *pointing at me* “There! There it is! See? In her hair! That’s the flower she stole!”

Mom: “That little thing? The way you were going on, I thought you meant an expensive flower, like an orchid or something.”

Neighbor: “It doesn’t matter! She’s a dirty thief!”

Me: *thinking I’m about to get in a lot of trouble* “But it was just a weed! It was growing between the sidewalk cracks.”

Neighbor: “I don’t care where it was growing! You stole it from me.”

Mom: “What exactly is it that you want me to do? She can’t put the flower back.”

Neighbor: “I know she can’t put the flower back. Do you think I’m stupid? She destroyed it, and I want her punished! If you refuse to address this matter, I’ll have to involve the police.”

Mom: *pulling me behind her* “Go right ahead.”

Neighbor: *shocked* “What?”

Mom: *trying not to smirk* “As you well know after those repairs, the sidewalks are the property of the city, not you. The city has no laws forbidding children from picking flowers. Now, if that will be all, I think it’s time for you to leave.”

Neighbor: *sputtering* “But… but… she stole from me!”

Mom: “No, she clearly didn’t. But you’re on private property, and I’ve already asked to leave once. If you stay here, you’ll be trespassing, and I’ll have to involve the police.”

Neighbor: *leaves, looking like he just swallowed a lemon*

Me: *staring in shock at my mom, who’s normally very soft-spoken and non-confrontational*

Mom: “Never give in to people like that, honey. If you do, they’ll walk all over you forever.”

That’s One Fabuloso Cup Of Coffee

, , , , , | Friendly | June 18, 2017

(I volunteer at the hospital in the department that my mom works in. Her job involves her mostly talking on the phone and typing on the computer. Her coworker’s desk is not too far from my mom’s and I’m putting together a chart when I overhear this. Note that this is not violating any HIPAA policies, since the woman on the phone is not a patient at that hospital, and it’s more of a personal phone call since she’s best friends with the woman’s daughter.)

Coworker: “Hey, how’s [Best Friend]? *the woman says something on the phone* “Wait, what?” *the woman then repeats herself* “You made coffee out of bleach and Fabuloso?!” *at this point, I’m all ears* “I’m going to put you on hold; I’m calling poison control.”

(She then puts her on hold and starts to call poison control. At this point, my mom is even curious.)

Mom: “Who was that?”

Coworker: “That’s [Best Friend]’s mom. Apparently she found that bucket of bleach and Fabuloso and thought it was water and decided to make coffee with it.”

Mom: “But didn’t you write ‘Do not drink’ on it? And why is she calling you and not [Best Friend]?

Coworker: “I did, but she didn’t read it and she didn’t want [Best Friend] to find out.”

(Turned out, my mom was helping her coworker and the best friend paint her mother’s house and they needed to clean the walls. Even though you’re not supposed to, they mixed bleach and Fabuloso which made it easier to clean the walls with. They placed it under the sink so they could use it again that weekend coming up and apparently the mom thought it was water. After talking to poison control, it took them a while to tell them that it was the mother who made the coffee herself and not them, and that said mother was not suicidal. Luckily it wasn’t fatal and all she had was just a headache, but she did say that was the best coffee she ever had. Yes, my mom’s coworker told her friend what happened after she called poison control and went to go check on her mother. To this day, my mom always jokes that the Fabuloso made the coffee delicioso.)

A Family-Friendly Store

, , , , | Friendly Related | June 17, 2017

(I overhear this conversation between a mom and a cashier.)

Cashier: “Your two daughters are so beautiful! They’re adorable!”

Mom: “Thanks! One of them is for sale! And they’re buy one, get one free!”

When A Punch Line Gets You Punched

, , , , | Friendly | June 16, 2017

(We are on holiday and are checking into our hotel.)

Receptionist: “How are you enjoying New York so far?”

Friend: “It’s great! I didn’t expect there to be so many [Racial Slur]s about!”

(The receptionist, who is black, glares at him.)

Friend: “Did I say it right? I heard that’s what white people did in America now.”

(That seemed to dissolve the tension slightly, and I’m hoping she just assumed my friend was making an off-colour joke with all the racial tensions being felt in the country. Personally though, knowing my friend, he was just being racist.)

It Can Be Damaging To Wait So Long

, , , | Friendly Learning | June 16, 2017

(A vaguely familiar man comes up to my counter. I have no idea what his name is, but I assume he’s probably a former classmate. Not sure when exactly we were in school together, but then…)

Customer: “Hi! How are you?”

Me: “I’m good today! What can I get you tonight?”

Customer: “Oh, I’m fine! I just wanted to apologize for the way I treated you in school. I’m really very sorry about all that.”

Me: “Um… okay?”

Customer: “I was such a jerk. I can’t believe I made you cry that much in Miss [My Sixth Grade Teacher]’s class. I’m so sorry.”

Me: “Um, sure. That’s nice of you. I’m afraid I can’t remember your name?”

(Nor can I remember the specific incident he’s referring to. It happened a lot in sixth grade.)

Customer: “I just wanted to make things right. Are you okay now?”

Me: “Yeah, I mean, I’ve got two degrees and I’m working here to kill time before I ship out with the Peace Corps in a couple months.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s great! I was afraid I really damaged you!”

(I never did figure out who he was, but I got a kick out of the apology — fourteen years late!)

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