Annoying The Class For Dummies

, , , , , , | Learning | October 17, 2018

(In my Spanish class, there’s this one student who does a magnificent job of annoying everybody, especially the teacher. Like most classes, this one lets us use the final minutes of the class to start our homework, which for this student is the peak opportunity for attention seeking. One day, I finally get fed up.)

Me: “Shut up, dumba**!”

Annoying Student: “[Teacher]! [My Name] just told me to, ‘Shut up, dumba**,’ and I’m taking offense to that!”

Teacher: “[My Name], in the future, please say, ‘Be quiet, dummy.'”

Won’t Sit Idly By

, , , , , , , | Working | October 3, 2018

(Boston is recovering from an intense storm around April. Now that snow from the blizzard is finally gone, the city starts working on the roads. Among the work is sewer assessment, which means fixing anything that’s damaged and giving what’s not a cleaning. The city distributes flyers through the mail to notify us of times when work will be done in our area over the next month or so, asking that we minimize water, and that any strange smell emanating from our faucets and toilets is normal and not hazardous. On the day my neighborhood is scheduled for this work, I’m up at six am, making myself breakfast as usual when I hear the sound of an idle truck and workers yelling. Since local legislation states work can’t begin until nine am, this is already unusual. What follows doubles down on that.)

Worker #1: “We’re all set up? When’s [Person] getting here?”

Worker #2: “Should be here around seven.”

Worker #1: “What’ll we do until then?”

(Rather than a verbal answer, the sound of the idle engine is now mixed with the sound of chain links rattling. I look out the window and confirm my suspicions: these workers, two black men that are easily twice as jolly as Santa are pulling on my fence to help them as they limber up for the job ahead. I step outside.)

Me: “Get off the fence!”

Worker #1: “Relax! It’s a fence!”

Me: “Fences aren’t meant to hold your weight! Now, get off it and turn your truck off!”

Worker #2: “Fine! Jeez!”

(They both step back and release the fence, and proceed to stand there waiting.)

Me: “The truck?”

Worker #1: “It’s fine!”

Me: “You’re burning gas right now. Turn it off!”

Worker #2: “It’s no problem. It’s got one of those engines that doesn’t use much fuel.”

Me: “It’s not about fuel. It’s about air quality and the law. To help reduce pollution, Massachusetts passed an Anti-Idling Law which prohibits vehicles from sitting idle for more than five minutes without just cause.”

(Both of their hands launch above their heads while grinning.)


Me: “What the f*** are you talking about?”

Worker #2: “You’re a white guy talking like a cop! We don’t want to get shot!”

(I have no response. I do, however, report the idle engine — which miraculously turns off just before the police drive up — and file a complaint with the city about the workers showing up incredibly early, attacking my fence, leaving their engines idle, and harassing me when I try to protect my property, also being sure to mention, “If my fence had broken and they’d gotten hurt, they’d have sued me for their medical bills.” The following week, the crew is back, but they park next to my neighbor’s house, instead. My neighbor is not only a friend, but also very old and very gossipy. When I come back from work at around 3:30, he emerges from his backyard, where his wife is also sitting, and I hear a distinct chirping.)

Me: “Is your alarm going off?”

Neighbor: *nodding* “They parked their truck next to my vent. The exhaust fumes are leaking into my house and setting off the monoxide alarm, and they won’t move the truck.”

(I once again go out front and talk to these workers, and I find a different crew member with a monitor connected to a large pipe leading down into the sewer.)

Me: “So, why is your truck idle?”

Worker #3: “We’ve got a camera down in the sewer taking magnified pictures to see if there’s anything we can’t see. We need the truck to power it.”

Me: “Oh. So, where’s the cord connecting it to the truck?”

Worker #3: “What?”

Me: “The cord. If it’s getting power from the truck, they have to be connected.”

Worker #3: “…”

Me: “Turn the truck off and apologize before I get inside, or I’m calling the police again to report an idle engine and reckless endangerment.”

Worker #3: “‘Reckless endangerment’?”

Me: “You filled the home of two senior citizens with carbon monoxide — endangering their lives — and you refused to turn off your engine or move your truck when he confronted you about it. And even with your equipment running, the alarm is still audible from here.”

(Thankfully, that works. Even so, I invite my neighbor over to help file another complaint with the company. The following week, the team is back on the job. At this point, I am just curious to know when the work will be over.)

Me: “So, what’s the…”

Worker #4: “Shut up!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Worker #4: “Our union rep told us you’re a troublemaker and we’re not supposed to talk to you! So shut up!”

Name, Time, And Place

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 2, 2018

(I’ve chipped a tooth. My regular dentist puts a filling in, but recommends a crown as a more stable, long-term repair. Since I already have a rather large cavity and filling in that tooth, they also refer me to an endodontist to see if I’ll need a root canal first. I call their office to set up a consult.)

Receptionist: “Good morning. Thank you for calling [Office].”

Me: “Good morning. I’ve been referred to you by [My Dentist]. I need a consultation to see if a root canal is necessary.”

Receptionist: “Okay, are you a patient of ours?”

Me: “No, I’d be a new patient.”

Receptionist: “Can I have your name?”

(I give my first and last name. My last name is somewhat unusual, and has a lot of letters that sound like other letters, so I always go the extra mile and spell it out using the phonetic alphabet.)

Receptionist: “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”

Me: *spells it again, still phonetically*

Receptionist: *spells it back, inverting the last two letters*

Me: “No, no.” *spells it out again*

Receptionist: “Oh, okay, no R.” *spells it back incorrectly*

Me: “No, there is an R.” *spells it AGAIN* “It’s like [word], but with an A at the end.”

Receptionist: *finally gets it right* “I’m not finding you in our system.”

Me: “Right, no, I’m a new patient; I’ve just been referred for a consultation.”

Receptionist: “Oh, I’m sorry, okay. I’ll need more information from you, then.”

(We very slowly and carefully go through the rest of my details.)

Receptionist: “And what do you need done?”

Me: “Just a consultation right now. I’m getting a crown, but my dentist would like to see if I should get a root canal first.”

Receptionist: “You need a root canal?”

Me: “No! Just a consultation.”

Receptionist: “Okay, a consultation. When would you like to come in?”

Me: “Anytime Monday is good.”

Receptionist: “We have 3:30 on Monday?”

Me: “Yes, that would be fine.”

Receptionist: “Okay, there’s also 1:50?”

Me: “Um, either one, I guess? 3:30 or 1:50, whichever is more convenient for you.”

Receptionist: “Okay, 1:30 on Monday, then.”

Me: “I’m sorry, 1:30 or 1:50?”

Receptionist: “Yes, 1:50.”

Me: “Great, thank you.”

(I think I’ll show up before 1:30, just to be safe!)

Courting Disaster

, , , , , , | Legal | September 18, 2018

(I have been called for jury duty, so I report to the small courthouse a few blocks from my home. We are checked in and shown an orientation video, then we’re basically just killing time while the legal wheels turn on the twelve cases on the docket that day. After a few hours:)

Court Worker: “Okay, everyone, eleven cases have pled out, but the twelfth will be going to trial. If you could all gather your things and follow me…”

(We troop along to the courtroom, but are halted at the door while several official-looking people whisper back and forth to each other.)

Court Worker: “Hang on, everybody; we’ve got some drama. Please wait here while we get it sorted out.”

(We exchange puzzled looks and are left standing around for a good fifteen minutes before she comes back.)

Court Worker: “So, the defendant in the case decided to threaten one of the witnesses, in front of witnesses, while we were in recess in order to get you guys. He’s been re-arrested and will need to go through processing on that charge, soooo you can all go home now. Have a nice day!”

(I guess some people never learn?)

Stuck In The Twilight Calzone

, , , , , , , | Working | September 18, 2018

(There’s a small Italian restaurant and bar just down the street from my apartment that offers dine-in or takeout. My roommate, who’s lived in this area longer, raves about the place, commenting about the fresh ingredients that aren’t chemically preserved, the brick oven for baking the pizzas, the friendly staff, and more. One day after work, I finally decide to try it. I drop into the apartment to ask my roommate what he wants, and after also getting input from his visiting girlfriend, we agree on two calzones and a pizza. With a knowing look, I tell him I’ll go alone so they can have the apartment to themselves for a bit, and that I’m walking over. Once I get there, I almost immediately place my order at the bar and specify that it’s a takeout order, and the waitress disappears before I can ask anything, such as, “How long until my order is ready?” Since it’s Friday and there’s a baseball game on, I elect to sit at the bar and enjoy the game and some bourbon while I wait. The bartender, the waitress, and I — along with a few other people in the area — chat for a while about bad decisions by the club and criticize the current game, all the while making sure my glass is full. After finishing my third glass, I tell the bartender I’ve already had more than I should and that my order’s probably almost done, so I’ll just enjoy the game until then. At that point, I casually glance at the clock, and I realize I’ve been sitting here for an hour and a half. I confront the girl at the counter about my order, and she disappearances into the back to check. Returning in her place is an older woman with a scowl on her face.)

Older Woman: “Why didn’t you come get these sooner?”

Me: “Why didn’t you notify me when they were done?”

Older Woman: “You didn’t leave your number!”

Me: “I’ve been sitting at your bar the whole time. The waitress who took my order has been by the bar repeatedly and spoken with me repeatedly. At no time did anyone tell me this was done.”

(Thankfully, the woman doesn’t seem to have a comeback. As expected, the items are stone cold. Despite the treatment I have received and the cold items she has presented, she’s genuinely amazed I don’t leave a tip. I share the whole experience with my roommate as we’re heating up the food, who seems genuinely surprised that the woman — who has apparently gone above and beyond for him in the past — behaved so negatively towards me. About a month later, when we both have our girlfriends over for a movie night, he decides he wants to try again, certain that things will be different this time. I bet him the price of the bill that he’s wrong unless he orders, and he bites. This time, I have my girlfriend place the order, from her phone, and have her specifically ask how long that should take before she confirms her order. The response is, “Forty minutes.” After timing it carefully to ensure she will arrive forty minutes later on the dot, I send her on her way and have her set her phone to record so we can play it back later.)

Girlfriend: “Hi. I placed an order about forty minutes ago. It should be under [Girlfriend].”

Hostess: “Sure, let me go check.”

(Seconds later:)

Bartender: “Miss? Can I get you anything?”

Girlfriend: “Just waiting on my order.”

(Roughly one minute later:)

Girlfriend: *hushed* “Still no sign of my hostess, but I think the bartender’s talking to the manager.”

(Moments later:)

Older Woman: “Y’know, these take a long time to cook!”

Girlfriend: “I know! My boyfriend had to wait an hour and a half last time he ordered this much from you! I’m so thankful you were able to do it in less than 45 minutes this time!”

(We subsequently agreed on two things. First, no matter how good the food is — and believe me, it was magnificent — we’re not going back ever again. Even my roommate joined the boycott now that he knows he was only special because he was a regular. Second, I’m not to let this girl go.)

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