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Encounters with friends & strangers

Don’t Get All Agitato, My Guy

, , , , , , , | Friendly | April 26, 2022

I’m sitting in the library working on my summary notes for a music extension class, preparing for a viva voce — a kind of oral exam — tomorrow. My best friend comes up behind me and starts reading over my shoulder.

Best Friend: “Why are half your notes in Italian?”

Me: “…I’m actually secretly multilingual and never told you.”

Best Friend: “O… kay… Not gonna lie, I’m a little hurt.”

Me: “My guy, it’s music stuff.”

Best Friend: “OH!”

Some Of Us Are Devolving

, , , , , | Friendly | April 25, 2022

I was walking my mom’s dog through the park near her house one morning. The two of us were heading down the path, minding our own business when a stranger walked up.

He proceeded to ask me if I believed in evolution, then before I could actually respond he started ranting about how someone (I never actually got who this person was supposed to be) had looked at two lizard fossils and they were exactly the same. And something, something, evolution is a fraud! I don’t actually know all of what he said, not only was he shouting, his words were semi-incoherent. He just wasn’t enunciating, it was like he had a mouthful of marbles that he was shouting around.

Now, I actually majored in evolutionary biology in college, but I wasn’t wearing anything indicating that and I have no idea what set the guy off. As far as I knew, I’d never met him before in my life.

But my mom’s dog has a profound dislike of strange men, especially ones who are shouting, so at this point, she went into a frenzy of barking at him with her hackles up. Mom’s dog has never actually attacked anyone, and she wasn’t a large dog, but as aggressive as she was behaving, this guy decided that she might. And to be fair, she might have- I make it a point to never assume that a dog won’t attack.

The upside was that he ran off, presumably to harass more random strangers.

As the dog and I were leaving the park, I saw the guy again, getting into his car. He saw me, shouted something about lizards, and drove off.

And The Gamer Gets Gamed

, , , , , , , | Friendly | April 24, 2022

In 1995, I decided to join the military. The day that this happened was one of the worst days of my year. What should have been an easy couple of hours turned into an all-day event — paperwork was lost, two recruiters were in car accidents on the way to get me, and I didn’t have a lot of money for anything. The one thing that got me through my ordeal was the small arcade they had in the waiting area. I had about $5.00 to spend to keep my mind from going nuts. I have been gaming since I was about three years old when my dad introduced my brother and me to his Atari 2600. I am now forty-four.

The arcade had “Street Fighter,” “Mortal Kombat,” and some other random games. I was in heaven. I put in a quarter and started playing “Street Fighter.” It’s one of the few fighting games I am not the best at but can make my way through.  

After a few games, I heard someone walk in behind me. I kept playing, and a few moments later, I heard, ever so quietly:

Young Guy: “Oh, the girl thinks she can play.” *Chuckles*

I snickered and turned my head to see a tall, young guy standing about six feet from me.  

Me: “Did you say something?”

Young Guy: “Oh, no, just watching you play. Do you know how to play that game? Looks like you are having problems.”

I smiled, hiding the glint in my eye.

Me: “Yeah, this one I’m no good at. It’s just passing the time while I wait.”

He smiled.

Young Guy: “Tell you what. I’ll challenge you to this one.”

He nodded his head toward “Mortal Kombat.”

Young Guy: “Do you think you can handle this one okay?”

Me: *Coolly* “Well, I’m not sure. It looks fun, but I’ve never played it before.”

He pulled out a few quarters and put in one for each of us.

Young Guy: “I’ll teach you. Pick a character.”

I picked Scorpion because, honestly, I knew a few moves, but he was not my favorite. I can button mash with the best of them though. Two rounds later, I played coy and asked for some pointers. After he played it off for a bit, I challenged him to another round, this time with my favorite character: Kitana. First round — flawless victory. The second round was more of a challenge because he got mad, but I still got him. Three dollars in quarters later, he started to cuss me out.

Young Guy: “You’re playing me!”

I smiled ever so sweetly.

Me: “Oh, this little girl is a gamer, and you just got your a** beat.”

He walked away, cursing under his breath.

Her Compassion Meter Appears To Be Disabled

, , , , , | Friendly | April 23, 2022

I am a twenty-five-year-old woman on oxygen. I go into the bathroom at the beach and see that the handicapped stall is available. I can fit my tank in a normal stall, but it’s more comfortable with the extra space, so I take it.

No sooner do I sit down than I see a boy of two or three try to crawl under the door. He is pulled back and a woman scolds him. I exit the stall to see a woman and two children under five.

Woman:You took the handicapped stall?”

I gesture to my oxygen tank

Me: “Yes?”

Woman: “You shouldn’t use it.”

Me: “Uhh… why?”

Woman: “I need that space.”

She gestures to her children.

Me: “Oh. You’re disabled?”

Woman: “I have children!”

Me: “I’m so sorry. That must be so difficult.”

The woman stared at me for a moment before dragging her children into the stall. I understand using the stall for families. I don’t understand how she saw me with my tank and thought I wasn’t allowed to use it.

“I Don’t Want To” Is A Valid Reason!

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 20, 2022

I am a woman who is not interested in having children. For whatever godforsaken reason, the idea that I am happy as a childless adult does not sit well with others.

I was scrolling through social media on the bus when an elderly woman sitting beside me leaned over and saw a picture of a toddler on my screen.

Woman: “What a cute little face!”

I smiled politely.

Woman: “Is she yours?”

Me: “No.”

Woman: “Do you have little ones of your own?”

Me: “No, I’m not interested.”

She patted my arm gently.

Woman: “Don’t worry. sweetheart. It will happen.”

Me: “I hope not.”

The woman looked as if she had smelled something terrible.

Woman: “But women are supposed to be mothers!”

Me: “I’m not.”

We stared at each other for a few seconds before she shifted and looked away. I heard her take a deep breath as if she was going to say something else, but she never did. I could have just said, “No, I don’t have any,” and left it at that, but she also could have minded her own business in the first place.