Please Just (Bus) Stop

, , , , , | Friendly | May 8, 2018

(It is late afternoon, and I just got off my lunch shift as a waitress. I am at the bus stop waiting for the next bus home. The bus stop has a handful of people waiting, including an old man. The old man comes up to me and starts talking.)

Man: “Hi. How are you?”

Me: “Good.”

(I am young and have a friendly face, which unfortunately seems to make me a magnet for chatty strangers in the street. I have since learned to keep my answers short and my eye contact away from strangers.)

Man: “So, you are waiting for the bus to go home?”

Me: *nods, but quickly darts my eyes away*

Man: “What’s your name?”

(I start to get nervous and annoyed for many reasons. The first is that I just got off of a waitressing shift, which means I have a lot of cash on me. I also don’t want to answer him, but we are both waiting for the same bus, and I won’t be able to avoid him even if the bus comes soon. I am tempted to just walk away, but the buses in my city typically run every 45 minutes, which means that it would be dark by the time I got to my home bus stop if I waited for the next route. Eventually, my fear of getting mugged for my lunch shift money in the dark outweighs my fear of a creepy old man, so I decide to humor him, but to lie for the rest of the conversation.)

Me: “My name is Catherine.”

(My name is not Catherine.)

Man: “So, I guess you are a student here?”

Me: “Yes, I am a nursing student.”

(I am a foreign-languages major and absolutely can’t handle anything medical.)

Man: “Oh, a nurse. Do you have a boyfriend?”

Me: “Yes.”

Man: “Ah, good for him. If I were your age, I would certainly like to see what you could do.”

(He then proceeds to list a few crude acts. I am now completely uncomfortable and dart my eyes around the bus stop for help.)

Me: “Sir, please stop talking to me.”

Man: “Oh, what’s the matter? I am paying you a compliment.”

Me: “No, you are making me uncomfortable. Please go away.”

(Three girls are standing nearby, and one of them immediately goes over to me and takes me by the arm.)

Girl: “Hi, how are you? I haven’t seen you in ages!”

(She then leads me over to her friends and talks to me as if she has known me for years. I have never met this girl in my life, and I gratefully play along and have an animated conversation with them until the bus comes. When we get on the bus, she and her friends make sure to sit around me so that there is no way the man can sit near me. He sits far enough away that we can talk without him hearing.)

Me: “Thank you so much! I was starting to get really freaked out.”

Girl: “Yes, we saw how uncomfortable you looked when he went over to you, and when you told him to leave you alone, we decided to help out.”

Me: “I am so glad you did!”

(They sat next to me for the rest of the bus ride. The man was still on the bus as we got closer to my home bus stop, so I exited the bus two stops prior to my stop so he would not follow me home. Luckily, the girls were still on the bus by the time I was ready to get off, so I was not left alone on the bus with him. I took a very roundabout way to get home, but I got there just before dark. I never saw those girls again, but they were my angels that day. If you ladies are reading this, know that I never forgot what you did!)

One Racist, Two Racist, Three Racist, Ha Ha Ha

, , , , , | Friendly | May 8, 2018

(I’m Romanian but have lived in the USA for a few years now, and I’ve never had a noticeable accent. I’m looking for something to wear at a party while quietly talking on the phone with my grandmother who does not speak English. I am quiet enough to talk to her without disturbing the other customers. After a few minutes one of them taps my shoulder.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

Stranger: “Yes, stop speaking that gibberish; it’s annoying! Speak English, like any good American does.”

Me: “Sir, if you don’t mind, I’m speaking to my grandmother, and she doesn’t speak English.”

Stranger: “Well… She should learn!”

Me: “You want a woman in her late 60s who rarely leaves Romania to learn English?”

Stranger: “Yes… Wait, Romania’s a real place?”

Me: “Yup, and as a reply to your earlier statement, I am, in fact, not American.”

Stranger: “But you don’t have an accent!”

Me: “If you mean that ridiculous, vaguely Eastern European accent you hear from the Count on Sesame Street, then I’m sorry to disappoint. Frankly, I’m tired of this conversation, and FYI, the US has no official language. There is no law mandating I should speak it even when the person I’m speaking to doesn’t.”

(I returned to my call and walked away. Later on, I saw the same person being escorted out for cursing at a cashier who spoke Spanish to an elderly man who had trouble pronouncing some words in English.)

Turning Water Into Punch-Line

, , , , , | Friendly | May 7, 2018

(I recently reconnected with the Catholic priest from my childhood parish. He is also one of the few Catholic priests I know who does not care for alcohol due to alcoholism negatively affecting his own family. One evening, he comes for a visit and enters my kitchen.)

Priest: “Well, [My Name], what is that in the corner there?”

(He points to a large bottle of wine as he raises his eyebrows at me.)

Me: “Father, that’s water, but Jesus was here, so it might be wine now!”

(He just laughed and clapped me on the shoulder.)

A Beautiful Scam

, , , , | Friendly | May 7, 2018

(I have just left work and am walking down four blocks to meet up with my husband at his building to head home. I’m about halfway there when an older man stops me on the sidewalk.)

Man: “Oh, miss, I just had to stop you to tell you how beautiful you are!”

Me: “Uh, thanks.”

(I assume he is going to try and sell me something, so I am prepared to turn whatever it is down.)

Man: “You must be stopped like this all the time. How often does this happen to you, miss?”

Me: *thinking that if I appear overconfident perhaps he will stop badgering me*All the time. Constantly.”

Man: “Oh, how nice for you, miss. Now, how do you respond when people say this to you?”

Me: “I say, ‘Thank you.’”

Man: “That’s all? You don’t offer to take them out for lunch or dinner to thank them for such a wonderful compliment?”

Me: *now convinced this man is trying to get a free meal from me* “I tell them that I’m on my way to meet my husband.”

Man: “OH. Oh, I see. OH. Okay. Um… Okay, well, you tell him that is very lucky man and that you get stopped on the street. Oh. Okay. Bye now.”

(It might have been flattering if it didn’t seem like he was trying to scam me! My husband got a good laugh out of it later.)

Pokémon Red And Black

, , , , , | Friendly | May 6, 2018

(I crocheted a Pokémon. The pattern is complicated, due to the Pokémon having a weird shape and lots of little pieces that need to be made and sewed on. I also made a major mistake, didn’t realize it until several rounds later, and had to undo half of it to fix it, so once it’s finally finished I’m quite proud of it. I show it off to my friends.)

Friend: “Oh, wow! You made a Lugia!”

Me: “Yep. It took me forever to work on that. I think I was working on it off and on for most of this week.”

Friend: “Can I have it?”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

Friend: “Can I have it? It’s nice. I want one.”

Me: “I made that because I wanted it, and no, you can’t just have it for free.”

Friend: “Why not? Can’t you just make another one?”

Me: “Did you miss the part where I said I worked on it for about a week?”

Friend: “So, can I buy one, then?”

Me: “Sure, but it might take me a while to do it, because I don’t feel like crocheting another complicated pattern so soon, and it’ll cost you $100.”

Friend: “$100? It’s not worth that much!”

Me: “Trust me, you’re probably getting this for a lot less than it’s worth.”

Friend: “I’ll give you $20 for it.”

Me: “I am not taking $20 for something that took that much time and effort to make.”

(He argues with me back and forth, raising his offer to a “generous” $30, when finally I get fed up and pull out my phone calculator and a piece of paper.)

Me: “Okay, since you don’t seem to understand this, how about we break it down and calculate the worth? First, the yarn that went into making it. I used the majority of a brand-new skein of white yarn that cost me about $3. The rest of the yarn for the blue bits was probably about a dollar’s worth, and the Fiberfill used is probably about a dollar’s worth at most, too.”

Friend: “Okay, so that’s only about $5. Nowhere near $100.”

Me: “I’m not done. It’s not just the material that went into making it; you also have to factor in the time spent on it. I don’t have an exact estimate of how long I worked on this, but let’s say about five hours a day for five days. That seems about right.”

Friend: “So, 25 hours altogether?”

Me: “Right. Now, the minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $7.25 an hour, so multiply that by 25, and that’s $181.25, plus the $5 for materials, which brings your total for the Pokémon amigurumi up to $186.25. I expect that all in cash, and I don’t take payment until it’s done for people I know personally, so you’ll have some time to save up.”

Friend: “Uh… What else can you make?”

(I ended up making him a Charmander,  and charged him $20 for it because it was a lot easier and less time-consuming. Let’s hope he learned something and doesn’t pull this again with me or someone else.)

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