Encounters with friends & strangers

Irritable Buddy Syndrome?

, , , , , | Friendly | January 5, 2021

I am not deaf, but my mother is. Both she and my hearing father taught me sign language from an early age. When I start university, [Housemate #1] finds this out, and I teach her some basic signs.

About a month into the first term, [Housemate #2] comes running up to me after I get home late.

Housemate #2: “[My Name]! I heard from [Housemate #1] that you’ve been teaching her IBS!

Me: *Very tired* “I’m… sorry?”

Housemate #2: “Could you teach me some? I’m a quick learner!”

Me: “Teach you some…”

Housemate #2: “IBS!”

Me: “I don’t… What?”

[Housemate #2] is getting steadily more irritated.

Housemate #2: “IBS! I-B-S! I… B… SSSSS!”

[Housemate #1] comes racing down the hallway toward us.

Housemate #1: “BSL! SHE MEANS BSL!”

Housemate #2: “Wait… What was I saying?”

She actually ended up being quite a quick learner, as promised, and when my parents visited, she was able to talk to my mum quite well! I still sometimes tease her by asking her if she’s practiced her IBS.

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Berry Useful Trivia!

, , , , | Friendly | January 5, 2021

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.


I have a fairly insatiable knowledge for strange facts. I’m reading a book about herbs and plants and things they have been used for in medical history. I come across a comment about raspberries being used to induce uterine contractions, alongside an offhand note that one shouldn’t eat large quantities of them during pregnancy for that reason. As a tidbit, it has stuck in my brain for years. I never thought I’d need it until this conversation.

Friend: “Oh, man, my poor relative. She keeps having false contractions. It’s been really bad. She’s still months away.”

A random memory comes to me.

Me: “Okay, this is gonna sound like a weird question, but does she like jam?”

Friend: *Long pause* “Yes, that is a super weird question… but yeah, she does.”

Me: “Is it raspberry jam, by any chance?”

Friend: “Yeah, actually.”

Me: “Has she been eating a ton of it lately?”

Friend: “I think so; she really likes it.”

Me: “That could be it; raspberries can cause uterine contractions.”

Friend: *Pauses again* “You’re s***ting me.”

Me: “Absolutely not.”

I pull up a few different Googled pages on it to refresh my memory.

Me: “I mean, it might not be what’s happening, but it might be worth checking out?”

You’ll never guess what stopped happening after that! Last I heard, the baby was delivered none the worse for wear.

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Luke, I Am Not My Brother’s Keeper

, , , | Friendly | January 5, 2021

My younger brother is five and I’m fifteen, and we go to the same Chinese tuition centre. He’s in the preschool class and I’m in the secondary school class. I should mention that our classes are on completely different days and times, but we do have the same teacher.

One day, my younger brother decides to come to class wearing a Darth Vader costume and totally derails the lesson. When the teacher tries to scold him, my brother just runs up to the teacher and hugs her.

Younger Brother: “I love you!”

She then loses all heart and can’t bring herself to scold him. So, she decides to do the next best thing: scold ME the next time she sees me.

Teacher: “You should be more responsible with your brother! He should come in wearing proper attire. This is a tuition centre, not a playground!”

Me: “But I didn’t even know he did that!”

Teacher: “Well, he shouldn’t! He was disrupting the lesson and distracting the other students.”

Me: “Then why are you scolding me?”

Teacher: “So that you can tell your mother never to let him do that again!”

So, somehow, I’m at fault for something that I not only didn’t do but didn’t know even happened. I’d like to say that’s an isolated incident, but no, I almost always get the flak for my younger brother’s antics. People seem to think that as the older and more mature brother, I hold my brother’s leash. Nobody seems to understand that he definitely doesn’t listen to me precisely BECAUSE I’m the older and more mature brother.

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The Stores Are Closed But Their Hearts Are Open

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 4, 2021

The UK shuts down on Christmas. Almost nothing is open, especially nothing corporate. I am in a London “village” on Christmas morning, when it is 0°C. Everything is shut except [Coffee Chain]. I haven’t had anything to eat or drink, so I go in and order a terrible coffee.

In front of me is a homeless guy, and they are lavishing attention on him. It is clearly a free coffee, and they are checking that he has everything he wants. 

But it gets better. I’m drinking my coffee outside; we’re at tier four lockdown, so cafes are takeaway only. I’m a few metres from the homeless guy. A van stops. A guy jumps from the van, carrying a large, full shopping bag.

Van Guy: *To the homeless guy* “This is for you. It’s got hats and gloves and socks and leggings and donuts and crisps. I’ve given away six so far.”

It turns out that this guy is driving around southwest London and giving homeless people things they might really need to get them through the next few days or weeks. My heart swells with Dickensian Christmas spirit. 

The homeless guy demurs, but the van guy then pulls out a roll of cash and gives him a couple of £5, wishes him a merry Christmas, and gets back in the van.

Homeless Guy: *With a huge smile* “That was nice.”

Me: “Amazing.”

We exchanged pleasantries and season’s greetings. I feel better about humans.

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I Didn’t Pay Ten Bucks To Stare At My Phone For Two Hours!

, , , , | Friendly | January 4, 2021

I am at the movie theater, seeing “Paranormal Activity.” A girl behind me is constantly blurting out:

Girl: “Did you see that?”

Eventually, the girl with her yells, fairly loudly:

Girl’s Friend: “B****, we’re watching the same f****** movie!”

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