Polly Participates In Perilous Pranks!

, , , , , | Friendly | August 3, 2020

After totaling my car step-mother’s old car, I’m given an old Ford Escort hatchback that was donated to her church by a sweet little old lady who had absolutely no idea how to drive with a standard transmission. The gears were ground completely smooth because, by her own instructions she’d left on how to drive the car, she’d never used the clutch to change gears and maybe didn’t even know what the third pedal was for.

The car turned out to be a money sink, for various reasons, but it was mine and I loved it and would often volunteer to chauffeur any number of friends around. This became all the more fun for me when, after taking a particularly hard turn one day, the keys went flying out of the ignition and across the cab. After my initial panic and a bit of experimentation, I learned that the keys could be pulled straight out of the ignition after starting the car and the car would remain running. How exciting!

From then on, whenever I had someone new in the passenger’s seat, I would wait until we were cruising along and then casually pull my keys out and say, “Can you hold this?”

It turns out that a lot of people will just take whatever you hand them without looking first. I got reactions ranging from laughter, to surprised swears, to asking if I had a set of dummy keys, to everything in between, all without crashing — as I learned only just recently that you can actually turn the car off like this if you accidentally turn the key, and say goodbye to power steering.

That old boat of a car had plenty of — often very costly — quirks, but the key trick was by far my favorite. You were a good ol’ car, Polly. I hope you’re still running and accidentally scaring the bejesus out of people wherever you ended up after I finally sold you.

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Not Open To Being A Good Roommate

, , , , , | Friendly | August 2, 2020

I moved in with a high school friend after college and rented a room. I was soon informed that “renting a room” meant that anything I wanted to have out in the main living areas — living room, kitchen, shared bathroom — basically had to be okayed by her and if not, there would be issues. The rule was not something we both had to follow and it included books, kitchen utensils, etc.

One day, when I got home from work, my friend excitedly informed me that she had locked herself out of the house earlier in the day and had figured out how to boost herself up to the kitchen window and easily pop out the screen and get inside. She somehow didn’t see this as a major red flag.  

After that, I tried to insist that the windows should be closed and locked at night when we went to bed since we weren’t in the best neighborhood. We even had those things on the window that would only allow them to be opened to about two inches and I was cool with that. Nope, she wanted a cross breeze at night, so that particular window had to be open. When I tried to convince her that it was a bad idea, she informed me that it was her house so she overrode me. 

I made sure my bedroom door was always locked after that.

When winter came and the sidewalks had to be shoveled on a near-daily basis she threw a fit and complained that I would never help her with upkeep of the house. I reminded her it was her house and I just rented a room. I moved out shortly after and we no longer speak.

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Real Ugliness Comes From Within

, , , , , | Friendly | August 2, 2020

I am a woman in my twenties and I work as a sales assistant in a clothing store. While I am fluent in English, my accent gives away that I am definitely not a local. This sometimes leads to interesting conversations with customers. My native country is insignificant on a global scale so, generally, people only know the stereotypical things from the region, if that.

A man in his forties comes to the till. The company encourages friendly chats with customers, so we make small talk while I ring him up.

Customer: “That’s an interesting accent. Where are you from?”

Me: “I’ve lived in a handful of countries but originally I’m from [Country].”

Customer: *Matter-of-factly* “I thought all girls from there were supposed to be lookers.”

If you’re not familiar with the word, a “looker” is an attractive person. I muttered something about him confusing my country with our neighbours who are stereotypically known to be very pretty, but I was devastated and just tried to get him out as fast as I could. Based on how normally the man acted throughout the rest of the transaction I don’t think he thought anything of it.

A coworker of mine who overheard this laughed — and meant it; he has said similar things to me in the past — and flashed a smirk at the man. I have horribly low self-esteem and have literally had nightmares about customers asking for me to be fired for being too ugly to work there, and this obviously didn’t help. Most of our customers are lovely, but some of them really do not see us as fellow humans.

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Geeks (And Doctors) Come In All Shapes And Sizes

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | July 31, 2020

It’s the middle of winter with a decent amount of snow outside, late in 2006, and I am waiting in line at a shop. The little girl standing right in front of me, about eight, maybe ten years old, is wearing a big, thick, puffy, bright pink winter jacket and a purple hat and gloves.

The little girl turns around and looks up at me, very serious-faced, her head tilted to the side.

I smile down to her and nod in greeting.

The little girl pulls off her gloves, dangling them at the ends of strings, and then unzips her jacket. She pulls one side open and reaches inside to pull out a blue-light sonic screwdriver. As I watch in surprise, she scans me foot to head, head to foot, and then she tosses the screwdriver a few inches up and catches it sideways, staring at it as if examining a readout, in perfect David Tennant style. Then, she gives a satisfied, serious nod, tucks it back into her jacket, zips it up, and turns back around.

“Did… I… Wha… Did you just sonic me?!” I say in shock.

The little girl’s dad turns around to give me the biggest proud grin and then turns back to sign his receipt.

This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for July 2020!

Read the next Feel-Good Story here!

Read the July 2020 Feel-Good roundup!

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The Travelling Bible

, , , , , , , | Friendly | July 31, 2020

A while back, when I still believed myself religious, I purchased a copy of the New Testament written in Hawai’i Pidgin — an English-Creole dialect — partly for the novelty and partly because I love studying languages and dialects as a hobby. It ended up as nothing more than a shelf decoration after I found myself to be agnostic, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of it.

A few years pass, and I find myself working with an absolute joy of a human being from Jamaica. We become casual friends and I learn he’s a pastor at his church, among many other hats he wears. He also likes to play a bit of a game with me where he will speak to me only in very rapid Jamaican Patois to see how much I understand — which is mostly everything — and it’s after a bit of this that I remember that particular book on my shelf.

I tell my coworker I have something I want him to look at, and that he can have it if he likes it. Even the possibility of a present has this enormous man doing a literal happy dance, and we part ways grinning.

The next day, I present him the book and he immediately flips it open and starts reading it aloud fluently, which has me excited because I wasn’t sure how similar different Creole dialects were, and it has him excited because this translation gives him a modern level of comprehension that a lot of the older, stuffier English varieties lack. Naturally, I give him the book, and he gushes on about how excited he is to use it for future sermons since there are a lot of immigrants like him at his church.

While I may not ascribe to any particular religion anymore, I like to believe that there is some degree of fate to be found, and if there is, that it’s what had me keep that book through several years of paring down my collection just so that I could give it to a friend one day and make him smile.

This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for July 2020!

Read the next Feel-Good Story here!

Read the July 2020 Feel-Good roundup!

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