Making The Best Of Uncomfortable Situations

, , , , , | Healthy | January 1, 2021

My town has put together a free test site for the health crisis for residents. I heard that the morning was swamped. People were in line for hours. I have pre-registered and I go as soon as I get out of work. Fortunately, the lines have died down significantly, and I am the second car in my line.

Unfortunately, when I check in, they have just run out of tubes. I don’t have any plans for the rest of the evening, so I don’t mind waiting. We chat a bit about how the lines have been, it being a successful event, and whatnot. Not three minutes later, another worker drives our way with another box of tubes. The two check-in workers start cheering.

Worker #1: “Woo-hoo!”

Worker #2: “Go, [Tube Worker]! You’re awesome, [Tube Worker]!”

Me: “Not all heroes wear capes!”

Worker #1: “You’re a hero, [Tube Worker]!”

They set me up and send me off to the testing station.

Me: “Hello!”

Worker #3: “Welcome! Have you done this before?”

Me: “Yeah… Once… A while ago.”

Worker #3: “You nervous?”

Me: “Ehhh…”

Worker #3: “Here’s what I like to tell people. We don’t go in any further than you would when you pick your nose… and we both know you pick your nose.”

I burst out laughing. Thanks, test site workers! You sure know how to ease tension!

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And That Is How The Christmas Cookie Crumbles

, , , , , , , | Right | December 25, 2020

In my first year as a mail carrier, I was tasked with delivering the last-minute parcels on Christmas morning; Express Mail is delivered 365 days a year. At the last house, I had four huge parcels from FAO Schwartz, the famed NYC toy store. Three little blond boys were very excited to see them. 

All was well until, as I was unloading the last parcel, the youngest boy asked me, “Wait. Why are you bringing our presents? What happened to Santa?” 

I saw both parents freeze in horror at the question, so I crouched down to the little boy’s level and explained, “Santa had so many good boys and girls this year that he had a lot of presents to bring, and he knew the reindeer were going to get really tired, so he called up the Post Office and asked the mailmen to help him bring the presents, and we said sure.”

“Oh, okay!” said the little boy, and he started opening the boxes with his brothers. The mom made sure I got Christmas cookies before I went on my way. 

That was twenty-five years ago and I’m senior enough now that I don’t have to work on Christmas anymore, but I always smile when I remember that.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for December 2020!

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Christmas Tarts Never Tasted So Sweet

, , , , , , | Working | December 24, 2020

I’m training as a cook in a fine-dining restaurant. The head chef tells me on my first day to take home any leftovers I want that would otherwise get thrown out anyway; everyone in the kitchen does it, and many servers also pack little lunch bags for themselves every day.

I’m surprised, because any other food service place I worked at before was very strict with leftovers and meals for workers, sometimes even making us pay full price if we ate stuff that was going to be thrown out or could not be sold for some reason.

One day, the chefs miscalculate the savoury tarts they need for a special dinner and we end up with two whole trays left over. After everyone has had their pick, I begin stacking the last tarts — at least fifteen or so — in a to-go container.

Head Chef: “Woah, you really like those, don’t you? Are you going to be eating them for the whole week?”

I’m nervous, because I’m still fairly new at this place and wondering if I misjudged the situation and shouldn’t take more than maybe one or two for myself.

Me: “Actually, I had an idea. I walk past [Train Station that is a well-known hangout/sleeping place for many homeless people] on my way home, and I was gonna hand them out to anyone who wants some. They’re good to eat cold, right?”

Head Chef: “Absolutely. That’s a wonderful idea. Here, let’s pack some sweet tarts, too.”

I’m relieved he’s not actually mad, and many of the homeless people are happy about the free food. A few weeks later, I come into work after a big Christmas party booking the day before, and the head chef waves me over.

Head Chef: “So, we have about twenty leftover Christmas dinners in the walk-in fridge upstairs. I told the night crew to keep them for you for the train station. Make sure to tell me before you leave, so we can heat them up and pack ’em to go, okay?”

I was a bit flabbergasted. True to his word, I found several trays of roast goose, sauce, dumplings, veggies, and red cabbage in the fridge, and he helped me with reheating and packaging them after the dinner rush.

Thanks to the attention of a very conscientious head chef, a whole group of homeless people were treated to a first-class Christmas meal. That was the point at which I realised I was quite lucky to get a trainee position at his restaurant and learn from him.


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Making A Song And Dance About Your Relationship

, , , , , , | Romantic | December 24, 2020

During the last three months, my husband has spent more time on his computer than usual. He sometimes apologizes, and he says he is too busy with something unspecified. I do not think much about it.

Christmas Eve arrives, which is when the presents are exchanged in our country. We go to the tree, and I find several very nice gifts and an envelope with my name on it. Thinking it is some coupon for a wellness procedure, I open it and find a fancy, beautiful opera ticket! It is supposed to be a “detective opera,” named “CASE OF FALSE CAT or LITTLE WAGER ABOUT BIG LOVE.”

But then I look closely and see that the address of the opera house is… our house.

Me: “Erm… what exactly I am to do with that?”

Husband: “Well… use it!”

Then, he grabs my hand and takes me to our guest bedroom, marked as “Box No. 1,” where I find everything set for a puppet performance for an audience of one.

For the next hour, I am sitting, choking between laughter and tears, while my husband plays karaoke versions of every single one of my favorite operatic or musical songs, singing his own lyrics and sometimes adding “sound effects” by way of drum, triangle, marimbas, and ocarina.

I laugh most when he sings Puccini’s “Nessun dorma” aria, under the title “Don’t be formal,” and I cry most during his version of “Memories.” The opera is indeed a detective story, but mainly it is an ode to cats and cat ladies and how perfect they are. It is clearly about me. When he finishes, I realise this is the greatest Christmas present I have gotten in my whole life.

Me: “How did you get such an idea?”

Husband: “Honey, I wanted you to say, ‘I am a woman worth writing operas for, and I can prove it!’”

I do say that now.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for December 2020!

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The Polar Express Was Cancelled

, , , , , , , , | Right | December 24, 2020

The transportation strike has begun in France. I want to celebrate Christmas with my mom and dad, who live hundreds of kilometers away from me. It’s important for me because my dad is currently going through chemotherapy. My mom has to take care of him and I want to be with them for Christmas and give them all the moral support I can. I intend to take the train because I don’t own a car. Some French people don’t need them because our big cities have good networks of subways and buses.

Then, my train is cancelled. All the other trains are either full or cancelled. I try to search through carpooling websites but unfortunately, I have anxiety and going through these sites is too much for me. (Please, don’t laugh. I’m not weak; I just have a disability.) Moreover, I travel with my cat and a lot of carpoolers don’t accept animals. It seems like I’m going to spend Christmas away from my family this year. I’m very upset.

I mention my cancelled train in front of my coworkers at work. One of them tells me that her brother and his wife will be driving to the same place this weekend. She phones him and she tells me it’s okay; I can travel with her brother. They’re not even bothered by my kitty.

I meet her brother and his wife a few days later. They’re both incredibly nice people and they drop me with my cat at my parents’ door a few hours later. I try to make them accept money. They refuse and I eventually give them a box of chocolates. I will always be grateful to these wonderful people who allowed a person with special needs to spend Christmas with her very sick dad and her mom who really needed support.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for December 2020!

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