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Encounters with friends & strangers

Some People Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Drive… Or Go Out In Public

, , | Friendly | May 12, 2022

The morning started off like every other morning on my way to work; I deal with some traffic, and the direction I decide to approach my place of work from determines if I stop some place to pick up breakfast or lunch for the day.

Today, I came from the north, which means I’m going past a grocery store. I’ll stop in and pick up something for breakfast since I packed my lunch for the day.

I turn down the road that leads to the parking lot for the grocery store. The road kind of makes a narrow S shape as it stretches along the entrances of the parking lot. The speed limit on this road is 15 mph since it winds through businesses and their various parking lots. The morning is young and I’m plenty early for work so I’m not in any rush; I’m not even going 15 mph down the road.

As I approach the first entrance to the grocery store’s parking lot, I see a car at the stop sign, waiting to exit the parking lot. I’m slowly driving toward this car and I’m watching the driver because he’s looking to his left and he has not once turned his head to look my direction. The driver then pulls out of the parking lot, right as I’m passing him, and I swerve out of the way to avoid getting hit. The driver hits his brakes and stops.

The whole thing doesn’t even bother me. I don’t yell at the guy, I don’t give him any rude gesture, and I don’t even look at him; I do nothing except keep on driving. I just go down to the next entrance to the grocery store’s parking lot, turn in, and park my car.

As I get out of my car and lock it, the old guy — in his late sixties, maybe early seventies — driving the car that almost hit me comes speeding through the parking lot in my direction. He stops his car right behind mine and rolls down his window.

Old Guy: “What the h*** is wrong you, driving down the road so fast? What’s wrong with you young punks today?”

Me: “Maybe you should learn to look both ways before pulling out of a parking lot.”

Old Guy: “How dare you talk to me like that?! You’re the stupid little punk that came flying down the road and driving like a r****d!”

Me: “Listen, old man. I’m not the one that pulled out into oncoming traffic. Leave me alone and go away.”

Old Guy: “You’re just a dumb f****** punk that thinks he owns the road—”

I’ve had enough. Since he’s continuing to speak to me like he is, gloves are off.

I cut him off midsentence:

Me: “Listen here, you c***sucker. You pulled out without looking both ways and I had to swerve to avoid you hitting me. Learn to f****** drive and shut the f*** up.”

Old Guy: “Uh… Uh… Uh… You can’t talk to me like that!”

Me: “I’ll talk to you however I want because you’re just a disrespectful, angry f***er.”

The old man didn’t say anything else, and he was so mad that he did a burnout and drove off.

I don’t have time for people that are disrespectful. Treat me like crap, you’ll get it right back. If I speak to you respectfully and you don’t reciprocate, then I won’t continue to be courteous and respectful to you.

Pardon Your French

, , , , , , , | Friendly | May 10, 2022

Most French people assume that most English don’t speak any French… which is true to a fair extent.

My father and I went into a pub in England. In there were two Frenchmen, chatting away. As well, there was a young woman serving at the bar, plus another two men at another table — seven people in all. The two Frenchmen were well-heeled, yuppyish, I guess up-and-coming managers in finance or consultancy. Actually, it was unusual to see French people in this pub; although it was a popular tourist town, this wasn’t London, and it was in an obscure part of town that many locals didn’t really know. So French people would not reasonably expect to encounter other French speakers.

I’m afraid to say I took a dislike to them — not because they were French but because they were obnoxious. As well as looking and sounding like they’d been drinking for a few hours, they would also make occasional disparaging remarks about the décor (okay, it could’ve been better), “les Anglais”, my father’s hat, etc., all while looking down their noses at us and the two men on the other table.

Although my father and I both speak some French, we just ignored them, getting on with our own chat and beer. The barperson came round the pub to pick up empties, etc. Then, she stood on the bar footrail, leaning over to reach something behind the bar. 

One of the Frenchmen, watching her bend over, exclaimed in French something very crude.

The barperson froze. My father and I froze, too, staring at the two Frenchmen. Also, the other two people stopped talking and stared. The barperson righted herself and walked back behind the bar.

The [Barperson] said something under her breath, clearly in French, maybe street French, but I didn’t quite understand.

The Frenchmen clearly understood, and I’m sure they noticed the atmosphere had changed, but they pretended not to notice and continued with their beers.

One of the men at the other table spoke up in fluent French, “So, which part of Paris are you from?”

The man’s partner, asked, also in French, “Le [Redacted]ième?” (A rough part of Paris.)

This seemed to catch the Frenchmen unawares. One of them started to reply in English, then switched to French, and he seemed about to say where they were from, but he stopped. Then, they quickly finished their pints and slid out.

So, all seven people in this obscure English pub could speak French.

It Costs Nothing To Be Nice, Dude

, , , , , | Friendly | May 8, 2022

I live in an apartment building. I call the elevator to go up to my floor. Heading in before me is a girl around seven years old, and coming in right behind me is a rough-looking dude with a rottweiler dog. The moment the man enters the elevator, the little girl screams and frantically grabs my arm.

Me: “Hey. What’s wrong?”

Girl: *Stammering and near panic* “D-dog!”

The dog is well-behaved and just sits there patiently, so there is no real danger, but I have an irrational fear of spiders, so I get it. I place myself between the man with the dog and the girl and give her a reassuring smile

Me: “No dog here is going to hurt you. I’m right in between.”

Suddenly, the man speaks up rather aggressively.

Man: “Don’t do that! My dog ain’t bit anyone, ever, and you’re just encouraging her to be afraid of dogs!”

Me: “I’m just trying to not scare a little girl and to keep her comfortable, sir.” 

He mumbles something about bratty kids and exits the elevator on the third floor. I have to go up to the fifth and the girl on the seventh, so I’m left behind with her for a second.

Me: “Are you all right now?”

The girl nodded shyly but still seemed shaken. I got off and wished her a good day. I found out later that she was part of a refugee family that had just moved here from Syria. Her fear of dogs and aggressive men is now somewhat explained, and I hope she doesn’t run into the man again.

Sometimes The Least You Can Do Is The Best Thing You Can Do

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | May 6, 2022

When I was fifteen, I caught the same bus every Saturday to get to my flute lesson. I usually left early so I had some time to spare. One such Saturday morning, I left even earlier than usual. It was fairly cold and there was a light rain, so I was wearing an long, red coat and had a decent-looking umbrella. I’ve been told before that this outfit made me look around eighteen, so maybe that’s why the things that happened the way they did.

I made it to my bus stop and sat down to wait. The only other person there was a girl in her twenties. She was crying and clutching a single piece of paper. I also noticed that she wasn’t wearing anything warm, despite the weather. I felt really bad for her.

Me: “Are you all right?”

She looked at me, swallowed, and said:

Girl: “I just got some bad news.

Me: *Concerned* “Do you want to talk about it?”

That seemed to be the tipping point, and she broke down in front of me. She explained through tears that she’d gone to her doctor to check a lump on her neck and that she’d just gotten the results back. It was a tumour. She didn’t know if it was malignant, but her doctor wanted her back immediately for more testing.

I sat with her for about ten minutes. She told me that her friend was picking her up to take her to the appointment, but she didn’t know how long they would be. I didn’t really know what to do, but I just wanted to make sure she was all right. Then, my bus came. The girl waved me away, trying to smile, saying that she would be fine. Feeling guilty, I got on. I was the only person on board. The bus driver looked equally worried.

I didn’t even make it a single stop before I felt bad about leaving her in the rain by herself. I asked the driver to stop early. Since I was the only person there, he let me off, telling me to make sure the girl was all right. I ran the whole way back. Luckily, the girl was still sitting there waiting. She looked shocked that I’d come back but a little glad, too.

Me: “I really don’t think you should be alone right now.”

I sat with her for another ten minutes, talking with her and trying to distract her until her friend came. When her friend’s car finally appeared, she started thanking me profusely. Her friend pulled up and leaned over from the driver’s seat, asking what was going on.

Girl’s Friend: “Thank you so much for staying with her. [Girl] called me and I came as fast as I could, but the traffic was terrible. Do you want a lift since you missed your bus?”

Me: “No, it’s all right. I was early anyway. I just hope everything turns out all right.”

Girl: *Through tears* “Thank you. It really means a lot that you did that. I’m sorry to have just dumped it all on you. Thank you so much.”

Me: “It’s fine. That’s just something you shouldn’t have to sit alone with. I only did what I thought was best.”

Girl’s Friend: “Are you sure you don’t want a lift?”

I shook my head, wished [Girl] good luck, and waved them off. They thanked me again multiple times and then slowly drove away. Even though I ended up being a few minutes late for my lesson, I’ll never forget the way [Girl] thanked me for simply sitting with her and listening. [Girl], if you’re out there, I really do hope you’re okay and that everything turned out all right in the end.

She Pushed You Out Of The Way Of A Bullet

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 4, 2022

Back when I was fourteen and my sister was nineteen, she took me to the community pool. I was just learning how to handle my womanly cycles, so I wasn’t really comfortable getting in the water during that time. Still, when I saw my crush, I had to say hello. I sat beside him at the water’s edge. We talked for a few minutes when a woman, who turned out to be his mom, came up.

Mom: “Hi, who are you?”

Me: “Oh, I’m [My Name]. Nice to—”

Mom: “Oh, do you go to school with [Crush]?”

Me: “Yeah, we have English together.”

Mom: “Why don’t you get in the water, [My Name]?”

Me: “Ahh, I’m not in the mood to swim.”

Mom: “Oh, but it’s the pool! Everyone swims!”

Me: “No, I’m okay.”

Crush: “I’m gonna get a soda.”

Me: “Oh, me, too!”

I stood up and almost immediately ended up in the water. When I resurfaced, I saw [Crush] and his mom at the edge of the pool.

[Crush] laughed as I grabbed onto the side of the pool.

Me: “What just happened?”

Crush: “She pushed you! You should see your face.”

My sister came over.

Sister: “[My Name], I thought you weren’t swimming today?”

Me: “I was pushed.”

Sister: “What the f***? Who pushed you?”

Mom: “I didn’t hurt her. She—”

My sister shoved [Mom] in the water and pulled me out. [Mom] resurfaced, sputtering.

Mom: “What is wrong with you?!”

Sister: “Oh, you didn’t want to go in the water? It didn’t matter when [My Name] didn’t want to go in.”

[Mom] went to a lifeguard and complained about being pushed in against her will. My sister told the lifeguard that she only did it because [Mom] pushed me first. We were all banned from the pool for the rest of the summer. That was the moment I realized what an a** my crush was and lost interest in him.