Mahu Do You Think You Are?

, , , , , , , | Friendly | April 7, 2018

(My family are native Hawaiians, and we live in Hawaii. Since we work hard to keep our culture alive, it didn’t upset us when my identical twin came out to be mahu, or what other cultures would describe as transgender. While some would take hormone pills or surgery, he never does that. Instead, he feels okay with a binder, short hair, and correct clothing. While this has confused people, he has been more than happy to explain it. This happens at the beach, where the two of us decide to hang out with my female friends. Of course, one of them does get confused by my brother, so he explains it to her.)

Female Friend: “I just don’t get it. I mean, I do. But why did you guys stop believing in it?”

(Before he can explain it to her, a beach ball lands near us. He picks it up, and we see a man running up to us.)

Man: “Hey, babe, you mind throwing that here?”

Brother: *tosses the ball* “Sure thing, but I’m not a babe.”

Man: “Aw, don’t sell yourself short. Hey, how about your hot self joins my friends and me in a friendly game?”

(It’s at this point I can feel a confrontation happening, so I get up and stand right next to him.)

Me: “Hey, do you mind backing off from my brother?”

(And just like that, you can see the man’s face go from perverted to disgusted in a matter of seconds.)

Man: “That’s wrong. She doesn’t even look like a dude.”

Me: “That’s your opinion. How about you keep it to yourself?”

Brother: “I just don’t want to get any treatments. Doesn’t make me less of a man. Our culture believes in this.”

Man: “Your culture is wrong. You want to know what dictates a man or a woman? This.”

(And just like that, the man tries to touch my brother in a very personal area. I stop him by punching him before he does. He falls to the sand, and I can hear our friends behind us shrieking.)

Man: “You’re going to Hell, you know that?!”

Me: “Sorry, but we don’t believe in Hell.”

(He stomps off, and the both of us walk back to our friends. I worry about my brother being upset, but the first thing he says once we get back to our friends is:)

Brother: “And that is why we stopped believing in it.”

(We all burst out laughing, and the rest of our time at the beach was amazing.)

There’s Something Fishy About This Place

, , , , | Right | February 14, 2018

(I am lifeguarding at a beach. While going to talk to a child regarding some of our rules, I am stopped by a teenage girl.)

Girl: “Excuse me!”

Me: “Yes, what’s going on?”

Girl: *clearly concerned* “There is a fish in the water!”

Me: “Well, yes. This is the ocean. Fish tend to live in the ocean.”

Girl: “Oh… Wait, this is the ocean?”

Me: “I’m sorry. I need to go speak with another patron. Have a great day.”

(The girl then saw a fish again and screamed, before fully exiting the water for good.)

A Life-Guarded Sense Of Self

, , , , | Working | February 12, 2018

(I am a seasonal surf lifesaver at a beach popular with tourists. I have just pulled a child, who was screaming and flailing about, out of deep water, and brought him on to the sand.)

Mother: “Oh, my goodness! How did that happen?”

Me: “You okay, buddy?”

Kid: “Yeah.”

Me: “What were you doing out that far?”

Kid: “I kind of just doggy paddled, then when I put my feet down there was no, like, bottom.”

Me: “Ah. Did you swallow any water?”

Kid: “Nah.”

Mother: “How did this happen?”

Me: “Maybe when he’s ready to go back in, it would be best to have an adult in with him.”

Mother: “You saying this is my fault?”

Me: “No, I’m saying that he may not be a strong enough swimmer to be swimming alone in the ocean just yet.”

Mother: “He swims in the lake at home all the time!”

Me: “A lake and an ocean are very different.”

Mother: “All I’m saying is, this wouldn’t happen back home. Kids just don’t drown in America.”

Me: “Just make sure someone is with him if he goes back in the water, okay?”

Mother: “Oh, so, you’re the beach police, now?”

Me: “Yeah, actually, I am.”

Mother: “Smarta**.”

This Sandcastle Is Built On A Solid Foundation

, , , , , | Friendly | December 3, 2017

(My husband and I are at the beach with our outgoing, precocious five-year-old, and we are trying to convince her to wade in the lake. It’s warm, and not too deep for her, but she is afraid of the waves and the group of seventeen- or eighteen-year-old boys also in the water, who have spread out their things on a blanket a few yards away. A girl who’s about fourteen and seems to be the younger sister of one of the boys is building a very small but very nice sandcastle alone, and I feel a bit bad for her, as she looks miserable. My daughter refuses to get in the water, so my husband and I get out and relax on the beach while our daughter surveys the area. She notices the lonely girl on the blanket and hurries over to talk to her and admire the castle, and the girl seems to light up. After a few minutes my husband calls out:)

Husband: “[Daughter]! Come back over here!”

Daughter: “Can [Girl] come, too? She said she can help me make a sand castle.”

(The girl’s name is apparently the same as my daughter’s, which is somewhat uncommon.)

Me: *surprised* “Oh, her name is [Name], too? How do you spell it, [Girl]?”

(It turns out, she spells her name like [Daughter]’s, but with an A and Y instead of an E and I.)

Me: “How interesting! It’s not an everyday name.”

Girl: *nods*

Daughter: “Can she come and build a sandcastle with me?”

Husband: “Do you mind, [Girl]?”

Girl: *smiles* “I… I’d be glad to. Nobody else asks to, you know, build with me.”

(My daughter brings her new friend over to start the sandcastle. The girl is quite the artist and builds my daughter a pretty castle with windows and stairs. She even gets my daughter to wade in the lake to get water! They both seem to have fun, and my daughter is sad when one of the boys tells the girl it’s time to go. After taking a picture of the castle, I stop to thank the girl.)

Me: “Thanks so much, [Girl]. [Daughter] had a blast. It was so nice of you to play with her.”

Girl: *looking genuinely thankful* “No, thank you for letting me play with her. I… I mean … It’s been a rough couple weeks, and my brother kind of dragged me out here to have fun. Your kid made my day.”

(The girl’s brother called again, and the girl ran over to meet him. I don’t know what was going on with her, but I was glad that my daughter could make it a little better. If you’re reading this, nice girl, I hope everything gets better for you!)

The Glass Is Definitely Half-Full

, , , , , | Hopeless | December 2, 2017

(I love beach glass, and since I live near a public beach, I’ll usually go for a walk and collect some when I get home from work. It can be hard to tell exactly what beach glass looks like when it’s wet, so I usually collect a handful of my favorite pieces, and sort through them later, at home. The best ones I keep and make into jewelry, and the rest goes in a bowl by my door, and when I go for a walk the next day, I’ll return it to the beach. I forget to take the glass with me one day, so when I go out the next day, I have a bigger pile than usual to take back. As soon as I arrive at the beach, I can tell I won’t find much that day – the lake is perfectly calm and flat, so the waves aren’t bringing up new pieces, and the beach is full of families, so the kids will have already collected most of it. As I’m arriving, I see a group of young kids, maybe five or six, finishing up a sand castle.)

Girl: “It’s done! Maybe if we find some beach glass or pretty rocks or something, we can decorate it?”

(I can’t resist.)

Me: “You said you want to decorate it with beach glass?”

Girl: “Yeah, but the bigger kids already found most of it. I don’t know if we can find enough…”

Me: “Here, I can help!”

(I pulled a big handful of beach glass out of my pocket and handed it to her. From the kids’ reactions, you would think I had just given them a treasure chest full of pirate gold! Totally made my day. I continued my walk, and they came and found me a few minutes later, to show me how they’d decorated their sand castle.)

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