Vaccinations Against Nazis

, , , , , | | Friendly | May 20, 2019

(I am shopping at a department store with my sister and her daughter. My sister bumps into an old friend from school and I stand awkwardly to the side of them while they catch up. The topic turns to my niece and my sister mentions getting her vaccinations last week, so we’re treating her for being brave about it. This causes my sister’s friend to start a long rant about how dangerous vaccinations are, how she would never inject “poison” into her children, and that autism is, and I quote, “worse than Hitler.” My sister, who is a pediatric doctor, just smiles and lets the friend rant herself raw. A couple of seconds after she finishes, my niece pipes up for the first time.)

Niece: “Mummy, is this what stupid looks like?”

(My sister and I burst out laughing while the friend blushed and stormed off, screaming that she hoped my niece “dies of autism.”)

Their Racism Is In Pole(ish) Position

, , , , , | | Friendly | May 20, 2019

I have an Eastern European first name, for no other reason than that my parents liked the sound of it.

I’m working for a temp agency and I get a call to come down to the centre for a day-long job out in the surrounding countryside. A couple of other temps have volunteered their cars to take the rest of us out to where we meet the client and follow him out to the field we were working in. We do the work, get paid for a full eight hours after working for six, and everyone piles back into the cars and goes home happy.

On the way back, the driver catches my eye in the rearview mirror and tells me that she wasn’t initially sure about having me in her car. When I ask her why not, she replies that when she saw my name on the list she thought I was Polish and that, “you wouldn’t talk to any of us.” All I could think of to say was that I had been born in [Midlands Town] and had lived in England all my life.

It made me so angry, partly because this was the first time someone had discriminated against me in a direct way, although by mistake, partly because I find any kind of racism or discrimination baffling — I’ve realised that it isn’t so much that I love everyone equally but that I’m indifferent to everyone equally — and partly because by admitting to it she seemed to expect that I would agree with her sentiments or find her expressing them like that to be acceptable.

I kind of wish I’d made a fuss but we were still several miles out with no other way for me to get back, and I didn’t fancy getting kicked out of the car for having a go at someone I wasn’t likely to ever see again.

Disabled People Have To Stall Their Need To Pee

, , , , , | | Friendly | May 19, 2019

I’m at a center that celebrates Polynesian culture. Everything is awesome until I have to use the restroom. It’s a busy day and all eight stalls are full with a line out the door. It should be noted that I’m in a wheelchair and there is only one disabled stall.

Things are going pretty quickly and I’m almost at the front; only one person is ahead of me. The disabled stall opens up. The person in front takes it.

I sit there for five minutes, saying, while getting progressively louder, “You can go ahead of me. I can only use the disabled stall.” At least a dozen people skip me until finally — finally! — that lady emerges. She won’t look at me and just walks out of the bathroom without washing her hands.

It isn’t that I wanted to jump to the front of the line, but when you have seven other stalls and I only have one, can’t you please just take the next one?

Transitioning Into A New Kind Of Friendship

, , , , | | Friendly | May 18, 2019

(I’m sitting in a restaurant, and the only other occupant is a guy in a suit who hasn’t ordered anything. Instead, he’s reading a book. When I’m halfway done with my meal, a girl a few years younger than him with badly-done makeup comes in and nervously makes her way to his booth before speaking in a deep voice.)

Girl: “Um… Hi?”

(He looks up from his book and immediately blinks in shock. Slowly, he closes his book and tosses it to the side.)

Guy: “This isn’t a one-time thing, is it?”

(The girl says something that I can’t hear. After a moment, the guy points at the booth opposite him, and she settles down. I start to get worried because the guy’s face is completely even.)

Guy: “So, uh, are you going all the way with this?”

Girl: “I’m saving up for the surgery, yeah.”

Guy: “Ah.”

(There is a long pause before the girl speaks again.)

Girl: “I wanted to come out to all of you before my family.”

Guy: “Smart.”

(He takes a slow breath, and when he speaks, he sounds almost angry.)

Guy: “This is going to be hard for you. I cannot understand trans.”

Girl: *quietly* “I’m sorry.”

Guy: “I cannot at all. I’ve tried, and I can’t wrap my brain around it.”

(The girl lowers her head, and the guy remains silent for a little bit. I’m afraid that I’m going to have to chase a crying woman out of the restaurant to comfort her when he speaks again.)

Guy: “So. No trans. You’re a girl now.”

(The girl’s head snaps up.)

Girl: “What?”

Guy: “You heard me. I can’t help you with any trans stuff, and I got to ask that unless someone is threatening you, we don’t talk about it. You’re a girl now. I’ll help you with girl stuff, listen to you complain about sexist guys or catty girls, or whatever. Other than that, the only thing different is that you have to put up with me calling you Darlin’.”

Girl: *near tears* “But you said…”

Guy: “Oh, no! My dude buddy is now a dudette buddy! I can handle you being a girl, but I can’t figure out the… in-between stage. You’re my friend, and you’re going to need someone who’ll treat you like the woman you are, not the dude you were that’s becoming a woman. So, you’re a woman now, and that’s final.”

Girl: “Thank you…”

Guy: “Oh, don’t thank me yet! Dear God, woman! That jewelry! Is that costume jewelry? No. No! None of my lady friends wear that unless it’s on stage. No, we’re getting you some real stuff as soon as we have some cheesecake, do you understand me?”

Girl: “You don’t—“

Guy: “Nyet! Nein! Negative! This isn’t up for negotiation! Fight me on this, and I’ll help you with your wardrobe, too!” *calls out to the waitress* “I need two slices of cheesecake, please!”

Girl: “You’re a jerk.”

Guy: “We’ve been friends for how many years now, and you’re just now learning this? Now, I think you’re more of a silver girl than a gold girl…”

(Until the two of them left, I couldn’t help but smile over his antics. By the time I finished my meal, he was already coming up with the best way to inform some of their friends, warning her that just showing up in makeup wasn’t the best way for a few of them, and offering to be there with her for support. While I don’t think that he reacted the best way, the fact that he was so excited about helping her warmed my heart. I only regret not having gotten their bill when I left.)

Putting Out The Fires

, , , , | | Friendly | May 17, 2019

(When I was around four or five, my parents, my grandparents, and I are on a small trip through Canada. When we decide to stop at a steakhouse restaurant for lunch, my grandmother quietly complains about everyone smoking inside, despite the fact that there are “NO SMOKING” signs everywhere. This was nearly 20 years ago, so I assume the smoking laws — even in Canada — were not as strict. She doesn’t kick up a fuss or bother anyone about it, but she does continue muttering about it while she looks at the menu. Being a rule follower myself — and having smokers for parents who are very strict about smoking areas — this bothers me, as well. I ask to be excused from the table. My family allows it, thinking that I am just going to go play at the arcade. Nope. I approach one of the tables where an older couple is smoking, and I point at the “NO SMOKING” sign hanging on the wall. Mind you, we are placed pretty much in the middle of the restaurant. A little American girl in a white, frilly dress approaching a table of strangers is very noticeable.)

Me: *in a loud voice* “Excuse me, but isn’t that a ‘No Smoking’ sign on the wall?”

(Conversations go silent. The man frowns while the woman awkwardly laughs and says:)

Woman: “Yes. Yes, it is.”

Me: “Then why are you smoking?”

(The couple looked at me, then at each other, and then doused their cigarettes on a plate they were using as an ashtray. The rest of the patrons followed suit, and I happily thanked the couple before going back to my table. My grandmother was super proud and my grandpa snickered. My parents, on the other hand, decided that we needed to eat quickly and leave because it was hunting season.)

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