You’ve Been Out-Street-Smarted

, , , , | Related | July 28, 2017

(My grandma never likes to waste food. Back when my mom was a kid, Grandma would always give the classic “There are children starving in Africa!” argument. Then they move to the Philippines.)

Grandma: “Finish your food. There are children starving right down the street!”

Uncle: *bolts out of his seat, picks up his plate, and heads for the door*

Grandma: “Where are you going?”

Uncle: “I’m going to go give it to them!”

(She stopped using that argument after that.)

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She Needs To Transition Out Of There

, , , , , | Related | July 25, 2017

(My family has an unwritten rule to never talk about my trans identity. They aren’t transphobic or anything; it’s just they don’t see it as a problem and support my transition fully. One member of the family, though, never seems to get the memo: my aunt from Ireland. She is transphobic, homophobic, and basically sees LGBT as a sign of a crumbling society that worships the devil, etc. She and my uncle are visiting, and sadly the topic shifts to my being trans.)

Aunt: “Have you found yourself a man yet to straighten you out?”

Me: “Well, since I’m a gay trans man, I don’t think finding a man will help much.”

(She pretended not to hear and lambasted my entire existence for the rest of the evening. When my dad asked her to leave, she guilt tripped him by asking what would their mother think of him throwing out his poor younger sister. For the rest of the week, she called me by my old female name, and bought me a present before leaving: a large collection of makeup and vouchers for lip injections. I told her she probably needed them more than I do, and she swore she would never visit again. Fingers crossed.)

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Finished Minesweeper With Honors

, , | Related | July 20, 2017

(My Aunt is in her early eighties and thinks that computers are only for playing games on. This story takes place a month after I graduated from an online college with an associate’s degree in accounting. I earned the degree while my active duty military husband and I were in Korea.)

Me: “Look what I earned, Aunt [Her Name]!” *as I pull my degree off of my living room wall*

Aunt: “What is it?”

Me: “It’s my college degree. I earned it online while [Husband] and I were in Korea!”

Aunt: “You can’t go to college on the computer! That thing is just for playing solitaire!”

Me: *as I pull up the online campus* “Yes, you can go to college on the computer.”

Aunt: “No, you are lying! You just had the Koreans print that piece of paper while you were over there to make yourself feel better! You didn’t graduate from college!”

(I gave up after she said that. The truth is that I lost a full scholarship to college eleven years before and my life ended up in the ditch for a few years. After escaping an abusive marriage and a stint as a truck driver, I met my second husband who gifted me his GI Bill and going to college online was my only option. She really hurt me when she said those things about my degree! I’m now pursuing a BA in Transportation and Logistics Management and she now asks me if I “go to college on the television”!)

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Less Pick Up, More Put Down

, , | Related | July 19, 2017

(I am at dinner with my mum, grandma, and a bunch of my grandma’s good friends and their respective children (and grandchildren). I am the oldest grandchild at 21; there are also a 15-year-old boy, his younger sister, and a 6-year-old girl. My grandma and her friends are around their mid-70s or so. The boy has been talking about ‘pick-up’ lines with his mum and sister, and they ask him to ‘try it out’ on the elderly women for some laughs. Everyone at the table are close and have great senses of humour. Note that while I use the term ‘aunty’ they are not actually related to me; it’s a polite term in this country for anyone older than you by a significant amount of years.)

Boy: *to [Aunty #1]* “Do you have a map? I just got lost in your eyes.”

Aunty #1: *frowns* “Why do you need a map? Don’t you have GPS on your phone?”

(We all laugh, and he tries to explain it to her. She nods but is obviously confused. He turns to the second aunty.)

Boy: “Are you a keyboard? Because you’re my type.”

Aunty #2: *seriously and with a confused expression* “I’m not a typist.”

(Again, we laugh, and he tries to explain it to her.)

Aunty #2: “But I don’t have a typewriter.”

(He sighs and turns to the third aunty, which happens to be my grandmother.)

Boy: “Are you a camera? Because every time I look at you I smile.”

(She nods as though she understands but it’s obvious she has no clue what he’s just said. He tries to explain it.)

Boy: “You know when you look at a camera you have to smile?”

Aunty #2: *interrupting* “Why?”

(He gives up and tries one last time, this time saying it to all three of them.)

Boy: “You’re so sweet, you give my dentures cavities.”

(At the word dentures, despite none of them actually using any, their faces light up in comprehension.)

Aunty #1: “Awww, that’s so sweet.”

Aunty #2: “That’s nice.” *she pauses* “I don’t think dentures can get cavities.”

Aunty #1: “If you have cavities you should probably stop eating sweets.”

(It’s clear that the meaning of this one has also gone over their heads. There is laughter all around and then a pause, during which Aunty #1 pipes up with this gem.)

Aunty #1: “So… these pick-up lines. Do you just use them on your phone, or do you actually talk to people?”

(He gave up and called it a night while the rest of us laughed so hard we cried.)

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Burning Memories Germinating In Your Head

, , , , , | Related | June 21, 2017

(When I was about seven years old, my mother’s aunt died. I over hear the adults talking about the funeral and cremation.)

Me: “What’s cremation?”

Mum: “Oh, it’s instead of being buried, [Great Aunt #1] is going into a special fire.”

Me: *horrified* “They are going to burn her?”

Mum: “Yes, that’s what cremation is.”

(I had never known Great Aunt #1 to have a husband and in my mind I decide that’s what was done to unmarried women when they die — they burn them. Before then I thought that all boys were icky and that I would never get married; afterwards I am determined to get married so I don’t get burned when I die. Many years later, my grandmother has passed and my mother has just got her ashes back from the Crematorium.)

Me: “Did I ever tell you what I thought when I was seven, when [Great Aunt #1] died and was cremated?”

Mum: “I don’t think so.”

Me: “I thought that when women who weren’t married died they were burnt as some sort of punishment. That’s what I thought was done to [Great Aunt #1].”

Mum: “Why would you think that? [Great Aunt #1] was married.”

Me: “I never knew she was married.”

Mum: “You’re thinking of [Great Aunt #2]; she wasn’t married.”

Me: “No, we used to visit her in that old house on the highway in [Town] and I don’t ever remember her being married. [Great Aunt #2] lived on [Road] on the other side of [Town].”

Mum: “Oh, no, you wouldn’t have known. [Great Uncle] died before you were born.”

Me: “Anyway, that’s what I thought; then a year or two later, Dad was talking to [His Sisters] about what happens when they bury a body. He said that the germs would get as big as basket balls while they were eating the body.”

Mum: “He was just joking.”

Me: “I know that now, but all I could think of was what would be worse, getting burned or eaten. I figured burning would be quicker and wouldn’t hurt so much.”

Mum: “You don’t feel pain when you are dead.”

Me: “I know that now but I was nine years old.”

(I still shudder at the thought of being eaten by giant germs.)

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