Encounters with friends & strangers

The Man Is Gettin’ With The Times, Man

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 15, 2021

Since marijuana has been legalized federally in Canada, provinces have been allowed to regulate it more or less as they will. In my province, they’ve gone basically the same way as alcohol, with private shops and government board-run shops, with the addition that you can order from the government-run website.

Friend: “Hey, I was going to ask you… Can you recommend a cannabis shop that’s good about social distancing and whatnot?”

Me: “I get mine online.”

Friend:Right! We can get pot from The Man now, can’t we?”

1 Thumbs
228

Cane You Please Back Off?

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | February 14, 2021

Several years ago, I was on the bus, playing on my original Nintendo DS and listening to music. 

Apparently, this older man started asking me what I was playing on and I couldn’t hear him because, you know, I was listening to music. 

Since I, a stranger, wasn’t paying attention to him, he decided to hit me in the shins with his cane!

He was amazed that I wasn’t receptive to answering his questions after this.

1 Thumbs
287

So Much For Going Postal

, , , , , , , | Friendly | February 13, 2021

Many, many years ago in the 1990s, when GPS, smartphones, online bill pay, and other such commodities were but a sci-fi dream, I was a teenager, and my parents and I took a family trip to California. Since we would be gone for a few weeks, my mom had brought the checkbook and was staying in contact with our house sitter who was opening our mail so that she could pay any bills that came in during our trip. So far, so good.

One morning, after staying in a motel in San Jose, we went in search of a post office to buy more stamps and mail out the bills. This was a suburban area, so we stopped at a gas station, filled the car, and went in to ask the cashier where the post office was. He stared at us in puzzlement.

Cashier: “Post office? I don’t think we have one of those.”

After assuring him that he absolutely did have one — otherwise, the mail would not arrive — we moved on in our search.

A short while later, we saw a traffic cop. Aha! Surely a police officer would know where the post office is. We parked off to the side and walked up to him. We explained how the gas station cashier thought there was no post office and laughed. He laughed with us.

Police Officer: “No, of course, we have one! It’s… It’s…”

Oh, dear. We sensed trouble.

Police Officer: “No, we do have one, I just… don’t think you can get there from here.”

Stymied by how a post office could be located in a place unreachable by humans, we left him at the corner.

In the end, we decided to wait another day to mail our letters. Thankfully, San Francisco had the foresight to install a post office and roads that led all the way to it.

1 Thumbs
344

Fluent In Python And Kindness

, , , , | Friendly | February 12, 2021

I’m a programmer from France, and at the beginning of this story I am living in the UK. One day, my mom, who works in the town hall of a little village in France, tells me about a man who posted an announcement for a “web admin who can use [Technology].” My grandparents and mother know him; he is in charge of the local movie association. The village is too little to have his own movie theater, so this man decided to display movies in the church once or twice a week. He is in his fifties or something and lost his son to cancer last year.

I’ve never used [Technology], but I think I could give it a try, and I call the man.

Man: “Hi, thanks for helping me. You know, it’s my son that created the website, but now, I need to add something to it, and obviously, I can’t do it on my own.”

He gives me the technical details, and I work on it over the weekend. It’s not really hard to do, but I’ve never worked with this and I’m picking up work from someone else. The son did leave some documentation on the website. Yes, programmer folks, he left documentation for his side project.

I manage to do it and call the man back. He thanks me profusely.

Man: “You know, this website, that’s kind of the last thing I got from my son. I would have been so sad to let it go and not update it. Thanks again. We’re going to open a bottle of champagne with my wife!”

It’s clear that he has tears in his eyes, and I have some, too, of course. 

Me: “Yes, it was not a big deal, really. I was happy to help!”

Two days later, my mom sends me a picture of a 100€ bill.

Mom: “He came by the town hall this morning and left that for you. I told him it was too much but he insisted.”

I was not expecting any payment at all, so that was really nice of him!

Fast forward six months. I come back to France, and the man asks for my help another time, which I gladly accept. I invite him to come to my grandparents’ house so we can finally meet in person. Before coming, he sends me a text.

Man: “Hi! Sorry if it seems inappropriate, but what is your birth year?”

I answered, and he and his wife arrived at our home a few hours later with a bottle of wine dated from my birth year! We talked, I helped him, and it was really nice to meet them both.

1 Thumbs
758

You Are NOT Cleared For Landing!

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 11, 2021

Babies on aeroplanes tend to have ear pain during changes in altitude due to pressure changes. Pediatricians suggest feeding them during takeoff and landing as swallowing equalizes the pressure in their ears and stops the pain. I should also note that my son is exclusively breastfed which, while not particularly unusual, is still not the norm in the time when this story takes place.

In the 1990s, I have to fly long distance with my three-month-old son. He dealt with the first long flight with no problem but fussed on takeoff and landing. Our connecting flight is only thirty-five minutes long, so pretty much the entire flight would be changing altitude. I decide to let him nurse for the whole flight to save him any discomfort. 

We get in our seat, with him on my lap with a “baby belt,” and an elderly Southern gentleman sat next to me. As we taxi to the runway, I discreetly lift my shirt and settle my son to feed. We get in the air, and the man strikes up a typical traveler’s conversation about where we are going, luggage problems, our families, etc. It is all fine until we start to descend.

Man: “I hate this; it always makes my ears pop. Do yours?”

Me: “Yes, I have to keep swallowing. It’s not very nice.”

Man: “Your baby is so good; he’s slept through everything.”

Me: “Mmm.”

The man reaches over and gently strokes my son’s head with one finger.

Man: “He reminds me of [His Great-Grandson] with all that hair. He’s precious.”

Me: “Uh, yes…”

I shift my arm to block his hand.

Man: “I can’t believe his ears don’t hurt. I’d have thought it would wake him up.”

Me: “He’s feeding. It helps stop the pain.”

Man: “Oh, do you need to feed him? I can hold him while you get his bottle if you like.”

He reaches over and cups his hand round my son’s head like you would if you were about to hold a baby.

Me: “I am feeding him. Right now.”

Man: “Uh?”

His hand is literally one inch from my nipple.

Me: “I’m breastfeeding him. Right now.”

The poor man snatched his hand back so fast! He was blushing bright red, staring anywhere except at me, and stammering apologies. He was SO embarrassed. I did feel kind of bad, but I thought it was pretty obvious, especially as I’d switched my son from one breast to the other partway through the flight — while discussing flight delays with the man!

1 Thumbs
489