How To Romaine Calm

, , , | | Right | May 25, 2019

(I am Romanian but have lived in the US for a couple of years now. I am shopping for a dress to wear to a friend’s wedding. I am wearing jeans, a cat T-shirt, a bracelet with my country’s colors on it, and a star necklace. The uniform that the employees wear consists of cargo pants, a button-up shirt, and their name tags.)

Stranger: *taps me on the shoulder* “Excuse me, miss. Can you tell me where I can find plus-size jeans?”

Me: *turning around* “Oh, sorry. I do not work here.”

Stranger: “Oh, sorry. My mis—“

(He notices my necklace and bracelet, crosses himself, and runs away. I am confused but I shrug it off. A few minutes later while I’m talking on the phone with my grandma who doesn’t speak English, the same man comes back with who I assume is the manager.)

Stranger: “There she is. Throw this heathen out of the store!”

Manager: “Sir, I cannot throw anyone out without proof.”

Stranger: “Has she made you stupid with her devil magic? Look at her. No good Christian would wear that necklace and a symbol of those [gay slurs]!”

Manager: “Sir, I simply can’t—“

Stranger: “I am a God-fearing man and I demand you throw this [bad word], [slur] pagan out!”

(Having had enough, I finally speak up.)

Me: “Sir!”

Stranger: “WHAT?!”

Me: “First of all, although it is none of your business, I am in fact Christian born and raised. Second, this necklace is a star, not a pentagram which I assume you thought it was, and my bracelet is the flag of Romania, not any LGBTQ+ flag I’m familiar with. Third, I doubt God would be very happy with a self-described God-fearing man who uses such profane language and takes the Lord’s name in vain.”

(I begin reciting Peter 3:8 and 9 and Luke 6:31. The irate man stutters, trying to find a reply, before giving up and leaving the store with his head lowered.)

Manager: “Wow. Usually, I have to call security for people like that.”

Me: “In my opinion, a good follower of any religion doesn’t use it as fuel for bigotry but to spread morality and acceptance.”

This Teacher’s Attitude Is Crippling

, , , , , , | | Learning | May 25, 2019

(I am at the high school for my sixteen-year-old son’s parent-teacher conference. I am about to meet his English teacher. My son has warned me that she is not an incredibly nice person nor a good teacher, but I have until this point thought he was exaggerating.)

Teacher: “Okay. Just before we start, I wanted to let you know that your son is kind of a loser nerd.”

(My son is a big nerd, but I’m not sure he’s a “loser,” as he has many friends and is good at making more. Besides, he seems happy with his situation.)

Teacher: *continuing* “Also, he’s good friends with some girls.”

(He has a group of about six or seven good friends, of whom two are girls.)

Me: “Why would that matter?”

Teacher: “Oh, nothing. It’s just that he might be gay and some parents don’t like that.”

(I do not believe my son to be gay, not in the least because he has a girlfriend. But even if he was, it wouldn’t really make a difference for us. Also, I’m pretty sure that if the parents were not okay with it, the last thing you would want to do would be to tell the parents.)

Me: “I believe that we were here to talk about my son’s performance in class.”

Teacher: “Right. Well, your son seems to have trouble making friends in class; he only talks to his friends when given the option to. In group projects, he would prefer to work with his friends over other students.”

Me: “I feel this is how most teenagers act.”

Teacher: “Oh, just a side note: do you think your son is unathletic? All the other boys in the class are on sports teams, and they always come in wearing their jerseys except for your son and his friend. Do you think you could convince him to join the track team or something? I’d like the seating chart to be symmetrical, and with two boys not on any teams it’s a bit harder.”

(My son is not too fat nor too thin, not terribly weak — though not very strong, either — and I see no point in making him join a sports team that he won’t want to participate in.)

Me: “Could we continue talking about him in class?”

(She gives actual important information about how he’s struggling in something and recommends some tutor or something. Then, I’m about to leave.)

Teacher: “I saw him talking to a crippled girl once.”

(The “crippled girl” is a freshman with one leg, who is my son’s friend’s sister and my daughter’s good friend, and I do believe he was comforting her about something — she has low self-esteem and my daughter brought up something about an interaction between the girl and my son. Luckily, this teacher retired from teaching at the end of that school year.)

Estimate That He’s Been Waiting Since The Fifties

, , , | | Right | May 24, 2019

(I am a female estimator, the only one working in the dealership this day. I’m used to men not wanting to deal with me because I’m a woman. The receptionist comes to get me to write up a man who has just pulled in.)

Me: “Hello, sir! What damage are we looking at today?”

Customer: “I already told that other little lady that I need an estimate on my car. Now, be a doll and get someone for me.”

Me: “Well, sir, I am that someone. It looks like your front bumper has the majority of the damage. Anywhere else before I do my inspection?”

Customer: “The only inspection you need to be doing is finding someone to look at my vehicle!”

(I don’t want to argue, so I just turn and go back to my office. After about ten minutes, the receptionist comes to tell me the man is still waiting.)

Me: “So, have you decided to go ahead with the inspection, sir?”

Customer: “D*** it! I WILL NOT HAVE A WOMAN LOOKING AT MY VEHICLE! THIS IS A MAN’S JOB!”

Me: “You’ll be waiting a very long time, then, I’m afraid. See, I am the only estimator working today. I am the only person here who can tell you that I think the bumper got pushed into your radiator, and that is why there is a greenish liquid all over the ground. I am also the only person here who can tell you that your vehicle isn’t safe to drive, and if you insist on taking it home and waiting for a man to be here, you will cause more damage than if you were to just let me take care of it. Any other concerns I can address for you right now, or are you going to let me do my job?”

Customer: *very sheepishly* “Do you need my keys?”

Immigration Check-Mate

, , , , , , , | | Friendly | May 24, 2019

(It is a hot day, and I’m in a long queue at the checkout. There is a very well-dressed woman in front of me with a baby carriage. She is in no way shabby — she has an expensive haircut, designer clothes, and unique jewelry — and she seems to be in her early twenties. In the carriage is a very well-behaved baby munching on a piece of cucumber. An elderly lady in front of the young woman turns to her.)

Old Lady: “Do you want to go before me? I see you only have a few items.”

Young Woman: *smiling, with a strange accent* “Thank you kindly, but I cannot accept that. You are very nice, though.”

Old Lady: “It is no problem, I assure you. You should head home with the baby as soon as possible in this heat!”

(The young woman accepts the offer after a few more arguments, and then helps the lady load her own groceries on the belt. They are chatting meanwhile, and the young woman, while she has a strong accent, speaks English pretty well, and politely and eagerly makes small talk about the little boy with the lady. Another man from behind me butts in, shouting at the old lady.)

Man: “Don’t pamper that bloody immigrant! They are doing nothing more than taking our jobs and living out of benefits!”

(It is very obvious that the young lady is not on benefits. She jerks from the yelling, and the baby also starts crying, which makes the man yell more.)

Me: “Hey, that’s rude!”

Man: “Shut up! She is doing nothing more than leeching on us citizens!”

(The young woman picks up the baby and turns around, beet red with anger.)

Young Woman: “Let me stop you right there. Unless you are a professor of [extremely obscure scientific field] or at least a fellow teacher at [University], I am not taking your job, and I was never on benefits, not here nor at home. Besides, this baby is a citizen; he is the son of my friend, and I am just babysitting him until the semester starts. But I have to say, if you are so afraid of me taking your job, you must be crap at it.”

(The man started spluttering and tried to curse at her, but the young woman turned away as it was her turn for the cashier. The old lady started to comfort her and the baby, and they left together, the young woman helping to carry the old woman’s groceries. The man tried to harvest some sympathy, but everyone turned away. Served him well!)

A Parent’s Creed

, , , , | | Right | May 24, 2019

(One of my mom’s friends has picked me up from work but makes a quick stop at a video game store to look for a gift for her son, who is turning 12.)

Mom’s Friend: “You play games, right? Got any suggestions?”

Me: “[Kid] has a 3DS, so the new Pokémon games are pretty good. You could always get him one of the LEGO games, too; those are fun.”

(She suddenly notices a big display for “Assassin’s Creed: Origins,” which just came out a few days ago.)

Mom’s Friend: “I think he mentioned wanting that one!”

Me: “Oh, that’s definitely not a good choice at his age.”

Mom’s Friend: “Why not?”

Me: “I’ve only put a few hours into it, but it’s very violent and there’s a lot of blood, plus there’s a good bit of bad language, not to mention a few topless women. I mean, you play as an assassin, so basically, the entire goal is to kill people.”

Mom’s Friend: “Oh, are you sure? He said it was a fun adventure game.”

Me: “Yep, I’m sure. I mean, it is technically a fun adventure game, just not one appropriate for kids.”

Mom’s Friend: *looking at the box* “But look, it’s in ancient Egypt, so it might teach him about history!”

Me: *flipping the box over to show her the M rating, which lists all the reasons I had tried to deter her* “Maybe, but he’ll run into all this stuff along the way.”

Mom’s Friend: *heading toward the counter* “I’m getting it. You’re a girl; I’m sure you wouldn’t play anything that bad.”

(While she’s paying, I ask the cashier if he considers the game appropriate for a preteen.)

Cashier: “Probably not.” *shows us the rating* “As you can see, there’s a lot of content that could be a problem.”

Mom’s Friend: “It’s okay. I’m sure it’s not that bad.”

(I later found out she made her son turn it off after the first cut-scene and immediately returned it.)

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