Encounters with friends & strangers

If Solidarity Won’t Do It, There’s Always Spite

, , , , , | Friendly | April 15, 2021

My flatmate and I have struggled with our weight. We think having someone there to keep us on track will help, so we make a pact to get fit together. We both switch to healthy meals, ditch the drink in the week, and promise to exercise together.

It works well at first. She lasts two weeks before trying to get me to drink with her. I tell her no, I’m sticking to our plan. It takes a couple of weeks before she starts to hint about wanting takeaway, which she only wanted at the end of each month. I just ignore her.

A few days after that:

Me: “So, you’re ready to exercise?”

Flatmate: “…”

Me: “Are you? I was going to get changed.”

Flatmate: “I don’t know, maybe.”

I’m literally waiting for her; any longer and we won’t have time.

Me: “Well?”

Flatmate: “Ugh, God. Why are you always telling me what to do?” 

Me: “We promised each other to do this. Part of it was to exercise on Wednesdays together.”

Flatmate: “No, okay?! No, I’m not!”

Me: “Fine, whatever. I’ll do it without you.”

I do. She avoids me for weeks. I make the meals we said we were going to eat. I let her drink alone every night and I exercise without her. After a few months, I’ve lost some weight and am feeling great. In fact, I have to buy some new clothes. I try to make amends and give her some of my nicer clothes.

Me: “These don’t fit me. You can have them if you want them.”

Flatmate: “Oh, because I’m fat, is it?”

Me: “Do you want them or not?”

She didn’t answer and just swore some nonsense about everyone being against her and something about not supporting her. Some people cannot be helped.

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Welcome Home! Kind Of.

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 13, 2021

This happened to my friend’s parents around 1980. They lived in one of fourteen almost identical and fairly new apartment blocks at one end of four different car parks.

Fifty or so people from the area were going on a trip and had rented a bus for the day. All of them were picked up at the car park closest to where the aforementioned parents lived. The trip they went on involved quite a lot of drinking and they were far from sober when they got back home.

For reasons unknown, they were all dropped off at the neighbouring car park to the one they’d been picked up at. The parents in question didn’t notice and went to what they thought was their block of apartments. It wasn’t; theirs was four blocks away. They went into what they thought was their apartment, and only after having taken off their coats and shoes did they notice that they were in the wrong place.

The person living there was apparently a heavy sleeper because they managed to leave without anyone noticing.

I don’t know if the door wasn’t locked or if the key just happened to fit. There are more than 1000 apartments in those fourteen blocks and I’m sure there were a lot fewer different apartment key combinations installed back then.

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Smart Switches And Cranky Coworkers

, , , , , | Friendly | April 11, 2021

My coworker is a bit of a technophobe and he’s not old enough to use his age as an excuse. He just seems to hate new tech and deems everything as unnecessary. 

We’re in a small group talking about recent DIY projects, and I mention that I installed some smart sockets recently.

Me: “They’re pretty good; whatever you plug in, you can switch on and off with your voice.”

Coworker: *Snarkily* “As opposed to the not-so-convenient switch?”

Me: “Yes, they have a switch, as well, but we—”

Coworker: *Interrupting* “So, you bought a toy. What a waste of money. Do you even use it?”

Me: “Daily.”

Coworker: *Sarcastically* “You must save so much time, huh? What do you do with all that time you saved?”

Me: “Actually, we can’t reach the plug, so we can have light in what was a dark corner.”

Coworker: “Well, I suppose that’s an exception.”

Me: “And the night light for my eldest — she can fall asleep with the light on and I can turn it off rather than disturb her. Or the hair straighteners my wife can never remember if she switched off.”

Coworker: “Yeah, well, whatever. It’s mostly useless.”

It did feel good to shut him up for once; he is so sure he is right all the time. A few months later, he came to me, excited, admitted he was wrong, and asked me to help set one up for him!

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Branching Out Will Do You No Good

, , , , | Friendly | April 10, 2021

Next door to us is a rented house; we don’t know the owners but we get along with the tenants.

No one takes care of the gardens on the property and weeds and plants grow wild. I guess the tenants should take more care, but they seem to not even use the outside space. We trim what comes over to our side and ignore what’s happening over the fence. 

Over the years, the tree growing in the back gets bigger and grows further over the bounties. I trim outside, but no one does the back fence that is shared by the car park.

One stormy day, I notice the branches sway and creek. Underneath is a guy’s shiny BMW. In chatting with him, it’s his pride and joy; he is worried about the tree but has nowhere else to park it.

I can’t stand to see what happens next, so I do some sleuthing and find the agents who manage the house; the tenants “forgot” or don’t care enough to look.

Me: “Hi, do you manage [address]?”

Agent: “I’m sorry, I cannot divulge that information.”

Me: “Ah, okay. Well, just so you know, if you do, they have a tree that is surely going to lose a branch, which will crash into a new BMW that parks underneath.”

Agent: “As I said, I cannot divulge that information.”

Me: “Err… Yeah, I’m not asking you to. I’m sure if I was the owner I would want to know about a possible lawsuit if you were representing me.”

Agent: “And I cannot tell you if we manage that particular property.”

Me: “Okay, this is going nowhere. If you represent them, then tell them.”

She tries to interrupt but I carry on

Me: “Either way, I will be putting a letter through the door, marked for their attention, to say that I have contacted you on this date to inform you.”

Agent: “As I said, we cannot divulge—”

I hung up. She wasn’t getting it. Or, she was just being belligerent. I wrote the letter, marked it as “For owner,” and gave it to the tenants. They didn’t care about any of this and told me that they hadn’t seen the owner in months, anyway.

I gave up; it felt like a marathon trying to help anyone. Next year, another storm hit, and a sizable branch broke off and smashed the windscreen of the BMW and scratched a load of the paintwork. It sat there for months as the resulting legal work carried on.

The owner came round to shout at me for not telling them or not making enough of an effort. I told them where to go in short words they would understand and slammed the door.

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Being That Lazy Must Be Exhausting

, , , , | Friendly | April 9, 2021

My housemate is the living personification of laziness, from what she eats and her lack of cleaning and personal hygiene, to her work ethic and effort with other people. Laziness is a real bugbear of mine, but luckily, she spends most of her time in her room, so she can be as lazy and disgusting as she likes where she can’t bother anyone.

I’m in a particularly good mood and decide to give the common areas of the house a good clean. I’ve just finished washing up dishes and drying my hands and, as if by magic, my lazy housemate shows up with a load more from her room and drops it in the sink in front of me. 

Thankfully, I’m on the ball this morning.

Me: “Good morning! Don’t worry. The water is still nice and hot for you.”

Housemate: “You’re not going to wash them up?”

Me: “I would, but I’m going to take that old desk to the bins next.”

Housemate: “You would rather lump that around than do a couple of plates?”

Me: “Oh, I don’t mind. It’s good exercise, and smashing it up will be fun.”

Housemate: “Pfff, like anyone actually enjoys exercise.”

I feel like I’ve seen behind the curtain a little here; she genuinely cannot fathom how anyone could enjoy putting effort into something.

Me: “Oh, I think you might be wrong there. We (the other housemates) have been out for a run this morning. It is really nice out; you should join us.”

Housemate: *Sarcastically* “Oh, sure, I would looooove to. Idiot.”

She slumped off back to her room for the day. The plates never got washed. I think someone threw them away as they sat in the side for so long that they grew “things” on them. We made her buy her own plates after that, but I don’t think they have ever been washed, either.

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