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Encounters with friends & strangers

Being Nice Is The Ticket

, , , , , | Friendly | November 20, 2021

I’m helping set up a stand for my family’s business. I’m carrying heavy boxes and trying to get through the many idling people waiting to get in as normal ticket holders. One woman, in the way and on her phone, drops her ticket. It’s one of the ones you print at home, and she has just dropped in a puddle.

Me: “Excuse me, I—”

Woman: *Abruptly* “I’m not interested.”

Me: “What?”

I suddenly realise she must think me a creep

Me: “Oh, no, it’s nothing like that. You dropped your—”

Woman: “I said leave me alone!”

Me: “Sure thing. Good luck getting in!”

She looked at me with disgust and flipped me off.

I moved past her and they let me in. I took several trips back to the van to collect more stuff. On the last one, I saw the woman frantically trying to search for her ticket; it wasn’t where she dropped it. Then, she tried to con her way in as part of the trades setting up. They weren’t having any of it.

Even Mother Nature Hates Your Stupid Car

, , , , , , , | Friendly | November 19, 2021

It’s 2010 and the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull has just erupted, spewing ash all over Western Europe.

On our road, there are no driveways: everybody parks their cars on the street. It’s a bit crowded, and you have to hunt for a space, but mostly everybody copes well and we all have a bit of give and take to keep everything smooth.

One of my neighbours buys an expensive top-of-the-line sports car. It’s clearly his pride and joy, and good for him. But he doesn’t want anybody parking close to it, so he starts putting “no parking” cones on either side, taking up about five potential spaces. He leaves the cones in place when he’s out with the car, adding more to stop people from parking where he parks the sports car, as well.

This does not go down very well with the rest of the street. The cones get removed, but he puts out new ones. People park where the cones are/were and he leaves rude notes glued to their windscreens. Words are had, including stand-up arguments between him and others on the street.

I’m out front one early morning putting the bins out, and I notice that everything is coated in a thick layer of volcanic ash that fell in the night. Sports car man comes out, sees the ash, and returns with a bucket of water and a cloth.

I go to stop him from washing his car, but before I can say anything, he shouts at me to f*** off. I assume he thinks I’m about to have a go about the cones like everybody else has.

I leave him to it with a shrug. He puts the cloth into the water and starts scrubbing the ash off his expensive sports car.

You may not know this, but volcanic ash was the chief ingredient in the 1950s and 1960s scouring powders like Ajax. Added to water, it makes a thick, creamy, gritty paste that scours away dirt… and also varnish, Teflon… and most types of paint.

The next day, the car wasn’t there and neither were the cones. If he got it resprayed, he started keeping it elsewhere.

Insert The Dutch Words For “Adorable” And “Awesome” Here

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 18, 2021

The tram I was on going to work announced the next stop. A little girl — she was three, as it would turn out — repeated one of the words as kids of that age so often do. Carefully and slowly, and with a little roll of her hand, she repeated, “De volgende” — Dutch for “next” — over and over again. Then, I caught on. It was actually the mother repeating the words that the little girl so patiently uttered.

As I overheard the mother explaining to a fellow traveler in a very understandable Dutch, she was of Spanish descent and learning Dutch from her daughter — or with her daughter; the mother certainly could express herself in Dutch but did not grasp as yet the full extent of the language. Being Hispanic, she had problems distinguishing “v” and “b” and when she finally got it (almost) right, the little girl awarded the mother with a thumbs-up.

It was the cutest start of the day, and whenever I needed a little pick-me-up during the rest of the day, I just had to think of the solemn thumbs-up and smile the little girl gave her mother and I had to smile, as well. Apparently, the little girl spoke already three languages and if the little Dutch I heard is any indication, on a level that few three-year-olds have in one. Kudos to her and kudos to the mother, as well, for willing to be taught by her daughter to acquire a new language faster and for raising such a polite and gentle girl.

When You’re Uber-Drunk

, , , , , | Friendly | November 17, 2021

I’m on the phone with my mom when she tells me this bizarre story that happened not even twenty-four hours ago.

My mom falls asleep on the couch with my stepdad and wakes up to the door rattling as if someone is trying to open the door. My mom gets up to see what’s going on when the door opens and in walks a clearly intoxicated lady.

Mom: “I’m sorry, but can I help you?”

Lady: *Stumbling around* “No, no, it’s fine. [Name] sent me.”

Mom: “I’m sorry, but who? Why are you in my house?”

Lady: “[Name], [Name] sent me. Don’t worry.

She continues to walk around the foyer. My mom walks outside and sees a rideshare driver in the road.

Driver: “She’s all yours now.”

Mom: “Um, no, we don’t know her.”

Driver: “But isn’t this [house number five numbers down]?”

Mom: “No this is [house number].”

She pointed to our clearly-seen house numbers above the door and pillar. The taxi driver’s face paled and he started to rush up and down the street looking for this random lady’s house for whoever sent her.

In the end, she got out of OUR house and into hers, and I died laughing, glad I wasn’t there when it happened.

Less Impreza-ive Than You Thought

, , , , | Friendly | November 16, 2021

I’m a gearhead (petrolhead in the UK) in the USA. Cars, bikes, planes, boats — if it has an engine, I’m a fan.

While on a camping trip, I stop by a big box store to pick up some basic supplies. As I’m walking into the store, a BEAUTIFUL older Subaru Impreza cruises into the parking lot and finds a space. I can’t help myself from wandering over for a better look, and as I approach, the owner climbs out. He’s a younger man, probably in his late teens or early twenties.

Me: “Hey, that’s a really cool car. I love the 2.5 RS models.”

Driver: “Thanks. I just bought it a few weeks ago. Bought it from a guy who imported it directly from Japan, so it’s full JDM!”

JDM stands for “Japanese Domestic Market,” and it’s a HUGE thing in the American car world.

Me: “Um… well…”

Driver: “Yeah, I know. I was kind of speechless, too, when I found it.”

Me: “How much did you pay for it?”

Driver: “About thirty grand.”

Me: “That seems really high. Right now, even a mint 2.5 RS is only worth about ten grand.”

Driver: “Yeah, but that’s the American models. This one is JDM. The guy I bought it from paid all the import fees, so that makes it a lot more expensive.”

Me: “Did you get a copy of the import paperwork from him?”

Driver: “No, why?”

Me: “Well… I hate to break it to you, but I’m guessing you got scammed because this is definitely not a JDM model.”

Driver: “Sure, it is. The guy showed me the paperwork, but he just didn’t have a paper copy for me.”

Me: “What side of the car is the steering wheel on?”

Driver: “Left, like every other car.”

Me: “Except… in Japan, cars are righthand drive.”

Driver: “Ohhh, f*******k, I never even thought about that. I was so stoked at finding one where I live that… that I… f*********k.”

Me: “Sorry to be the one to break it to you.”

The driver crawled into the car, shut the door, and proceeded to suffer a mental breakdown. I genuinely don’t feel good about being the person who popped his bubble, but… I guess what’s done is done. Hopefully, he can take the seller to court for fraudulent claims, because otherwise, he’s pretty much out of luck.