The Chaos Chorus

, , , , , , , | Working | February 13, 2020

(I’m a volunteer at a museum. The volunteers and staff carry radios so we can coordinate. We have different channels for different groups so, for example, the tour guides can coordinate tours without bothering the rest of the staff. Our radios are also always simultaneously tuned to a second channel called “general,” which is only used for announcements. The museum is closed for today while we change exhibits. Notably, a site safety staff member is also testing out the PA loudspeakers.)

Site Safety: *on general* “Heads up, loud noise coming.”

Site Safety: *on PA* “THIS IS AN AUDIO TEST OF THE— GOOD LORD, THAT’S LOUD. HOW DO I LOWER THE VOLUME?”

Site Safety: *on general* “Sorry, folks… That’s a bit louder than expected. We’re gonna look into that.”

(A few minutes pass:)

Unknown #1: *on general* “Szz fn mph… fllf.”

Supervisor: “Ah, darn it, someone’s leaning on their transmit.”

(Someone’s accidentally transmitting on general without realizing it, usually caused by leaning up against a wall and hitting the PTT button.)

Supervisor: “Hot mic on general.”

Unknown #1: “Fzz whll… mm.”

Supervisor: “Hot mic on general!”

Unknown #1: “Hll?”

Unknown #2: “Hot! Mic! On! General!”

Unknown #1: “Snzzz whrr…”

Unknown #3: “HOT MIC ON G**D*** GENERAL.”

Supervisor: “Hey, keep it professional on the radios!”

Unknown #1: “Shvvv br.”

(Pretty soon, a chorus of voices pop up, all calling in, “Hot mic on general.” Then, suddenly:)

Site Safety: *on PA* “HOT MIC ON GEN– OH, S***, WRONG BUTTON, THAT’S THE PA. SORRY, FOLKS.”

(Long pause:)

Unknown #3: “Uh… hot mic on g**d*** PA.”

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The China Syndrome

, , , , , , | Right | July 2, 2019

(I work at a paint and sip bar. On Mondays and Tuesdays, I watch over the shop to answer phones, clean up, etc. I am not the owner but they trust me enough to be alone on these days, so I don’t have a set lunch break. Since they don’t take a lunch break out of my pay I usually eat at the desk and answer emails at the same time. I also sit there in case anyone comes in to ask a question. Most of the time when this happens they ask really quickly, notice my lunch, and then just take a pamphlet and leave me alone which is really nice. This happens when I am waiting for my lunch to cool off after just reheating it. Note, it is in a Tupperware container, not a take-out container.)

Customer: *as they are coming in the door* “What is it that you all do here exactly?”

Me: “Well, it’s a paint and sip bar, so we do public classes and private parties where people follow along step by step with an instructor, and there is a bar with wine and beer over there in the back.”

Customer: *eyeing my still-steaming lunch* “Uh-huh, uh-huh. Okay. Your lunch smells good. What Chinese place did you get that from?”

Me: “Oh, I made it last night; it’s leftovers from dinner.”

Customer: “You can’t just make Chinese food. You aren’t Chinese; you wouldn’t know how. You don’t have to tell me, but maybe I won’t come to your classes since you obviously aren’t helpful.” *leaves with a pamphlet still in hand*

Me: *to myself* “What? Okay.”

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Her Paranoia Is Cut From The Whole Cloth

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 6, 2019

(I am fourteen years old but look like I’m nine. My computer teacher at school puts a cloth over everyone’s hands to practice touch typing. I do this while typing up an assignment in the public library. A stranger pulls the cloth away.)

Stranger: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Homework.”

(She looks over at my screen, and I block it because it is not her business.)

Stranger: “That’s not homework. You’re covering up because you are doing something bad. Why else would you cover the screen and your hands?

(She chucks my cloth elsewhere.)

Me: “It is my homework, not yours, and the cloth is just how we were taught to touch type.”

Librarian: “Ma’am, please keep your voice down. Sweetie, is she bothering you? Where are your parents?”

(You have to be twelve to be here alone. I now see that the stranger is looking at my screen again.)

Me: “Hey!”

(The librarian turns off the monitor.)

Librarian: “Ma’am, please just go mind your business.”

Stranger: “She’s hiding something bad! A child doesn’t mean innocent.”

(A second librarian has arrived and is escorting her away. I turn back to the first librarian.)

Me: “I am fourteen, here alone, and I’m only doing homework. That stranger thought I was up to no good because I had that cloth over my hands, and it got worse when I covered my screen when she stared at it.”

Librarian: “I see. Let’s pick up that cloth she threw over there. Ignore that woman. We’ll keep an eye out.”

(I found out later that she has harassed others for various reasons.)

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Perm-anently Avoiding That Place

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2019

(My boyfriend has very curly, brown, shoulder-length hair, and I have black, straight hair a couple of inches longer.)

Me: *pointing to boyfriend* “I’d like a perm with curls just like those.”

Hair Stylist: *glares at me like I have two heads* “No can do.”

Me: “Er… no?”

Hair Stylist: “You want hair just like his?”

Me: “The curls, yeah. Is it possible to perm my hair that way? His are natural.”

Hair Stylist: “If you want his curls, he’s got to cut his hair.”

Boyfriend: “Are you saying match my length, too? No, I don’t want a cut.”

Hair Stylist: “If she curls, her hair will be much shorter than yours! She just can’t have curly hair your length if you won’t cut yours!”

Me: “I meant only like his in the size of the curls.”

Hair Stylist: “Look… If you curl your hair, it will be much shorter than his!”

Me: “I know!”

Hair Stylist: *to boyfriend* “Are you getting that cut?”

Boyfriend: “No, I’m not.”

Hair Stylist: “Then she can’t have your curls.”

Boyfriend: “Forget the length already. She would like curls that match these.”

Hair Stylist: “I’ve already said, she can’t have your curls if you aren’t getting a cut yourself.”

Me: “I know my hair will be shorter! The whole point is to have curls that look like that.”

(Even a second hair stylist repeated the first one. Nothing was ever said about matching color. We left and went somewhere else where they gave me my shorter, curly perm with no problem.)

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Mexican’t Deal With Your Attitude

, , , , , | Learning | April 7, 2019

(I’m a high school Spanish teacher, but I’m not Hispanic; I learned Spanish as a second language. I have one particular student in my class who shows little interest in the subject. One day, I call on him to answer a question.)

Student: “I don’t know! I’m not Mexican!”

Me: “Neither am I.”

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