Encounters with friends & strangers

We Didn’t Start The Fire (Send Us Money)

, , , , , | Friendly | March 25, 2021

I don’t mind fireworks; when done properly they can be good to watch.

Once a year, we will pick out a small selection of the quieter ones and set them off in the garden. We live in a built-up, family-friendly area, so we give the neighbours a heads-up and it tends to be a short display.

A new neighbour recently moved in across the way, instantly upsetting many; they drive over common grass and tear it up, play loud music, and have suspicious numbers of visitors. We luckily live far enough away not to be bothered by them, until bonfire night.

They start letting off fireworks when it is still light and carry on for hours. Eventually, the police arrive — more to deal with the rowdy behaviour than the fireworks — and we get some quiet. But it’s not for long, and soon they are back to the same as before, if not much worse.

A few days later, a plea goes out on our local Facebook group. A local resident is asking for help after a “freak accident” set their shed on fire. They go on and on with a sob story and saying how nice everyone is who offered help

That is, until one eagle-eyed person recognises that this was posted by the same unruly neighbour from bonfire night, and the fire was only started because they were drunk and throwing the fireworks at the joining fence.

All the offers of help and free tools and toys are withdrawn as the poster devolves into a shouting match before being kicked from the group completely.

I can still see the remnants of the shed from the road. It looks like no one wanted to help them after all.

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Good Thing You’re Alive, Because I’m Going To Kill You

, , , , , | Friendly | March 24, 2021

As a student, my wife used to live in an apartment block that was built specifically for students. The insulation of the building was extremely poor. When someone walked through the corridor on the same level, it was clearly audible in her studio apartment. During winter, it was next to impossible to warm it up, while during summer, the heat was intense because the architect apparently thought a black building would look nice. And obviously, she could hear every sound her next-door neighbours made. Luckily, her best friend was one of them and she, like my wife, couldn’t stand loud noises.

One day, my wife woke up to the “lovely” sound of her other neighbour’s radio, which was playing quite loud. Since she spent most of the day at home, this made the day quite tense. Several times she walked over and rang the door in the hope that he would turn down the music. He never answered, apparently since the music was so loud.

By night, my wife was obviously fed up. She wanted to go to sleep, which the loud music made impossible for her due to her light sleeping. After some final attempts to get his attention, she decided enough was enough and called the police.

When the police arrived, they couldn’t get him to respond, either. My wife, however, had also mentioned to them that she had tried to talk to her neighbour the whole day, but that he never answered the door, while the music kept playing. She had noticed that it was now taking strangely long for him to reply and suggested that something could have happened to the neighbour. This was enough reason for the police to try and force the door open. They didn’t manage. Another student, who walked by, ironically did. (No, he was no burglar. He just had experience with accidentally locking himself out.)

Now, what on earth had happened to the neighbour? Was he dead? Or just completely stoned? No, nothing of the sort. Turns out, he wasn’t even home that day. And that he had forgotten to turn off the alarm of his clock radio.

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At Least They’re Being Safe!

, , , , | Friendly | March 23, 2021

I’m at a store buying things for a weekend away with my girlfriend. I stock up on condoms, soda, snacks, lotion, sunscreen, and, as an afterthought, I grab some pads because her period is irregular.

When I go through the line, I’m given the occasional odd look, which I ignore, until I feel a tap on my shoulder. 

Woman: “Aren’t you a teenager? What are you doing with condoms? Put them back!”

Me: “First of all, I’m twenty-five. Secondly, it’s none of your business what I buy with my own money.” 

Woman: *Turns tomato red* “What about these pads? You don’t need pads; you’re a boy!” 

Me: “But my girlfriend’s not a boy.” 

The woman shut up.


This story is part of our Best Of March 2021 roundup! This is the last story in this roundup, but if you’d like to read more of our favorite stories, you can always check out February’s roundup next!

Read the next Best Of March 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of March 2021 roundup!

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A Sobering Reality

, , , , | Friendly | March 22, 2021

We are having a drink at work and a coworker is looking at the empty, used glasses.

Coworker: “D***, which one is mine?”

I point to one.

Me: “It is that one.”

Coworker: *Half-jokingly* “Are you sure?”

Me: *Dead serious* “Yes. Yes, I am.”

Coworker: “How can you be so sure it is mine?”

Me: “Because I am a woman and my safety and wellbeing can depend on tracking my drink, especially in a crowded room.”

He looked at me, processed what I said, quietly took his glass, and went to have it refilled. I know he was thinking of his young daughter.


This story is part of our Best Of March 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of March 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of March 2021 roundup!

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Wild Times With Wiggles

, , , | Friendly | March 21, 2021

I’m walking down a lane I take home that has houses on one side and a grassy park with a lot of trees on the other side. I travel down there every day with zero issues, but today I encounter an unattended boxer dog. I’ve never encountered this dog, so have no idea where it lives and even if it lives down this lane. It’s also an unknown dog to me and I’m a stranger to it, so it may be aggressive. I stop a little distance away from it.

For some reason, I adopt that cutesy voice people use when they talk to dogs.

Me: “Well, hello there.”

The dog wags its entire body in happiness.

Me: “I don’t think you should be out here all by yourself, should you?”

The dog keeps on wagging.

Me: “Where’s your mummy or daddy, then?”

I hear a disembodied woman’s voice coming from a house.

Woman: “OH, S***! WHERE IS HE?!”

Me: *To the dog* “There’s your mummy!” *Calling out* “Excuse me, you missing a boxer?”

The woman appears, having just left her back garden.

Woman:Yes! I’m so sorry! I know he’s big but he’s a sweetie. People make him waggle with joy!”

It turned out that they’d just moved to the area and that Wiggles — the dog — was able to jump the fence. They quickly had a new, higher fence in place.


This story is part of our Best Of March 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of March 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of March 2021 roundup!

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