Defence Against The Darkness Of Real Life

| USA | Learning | May 9, 2017

(I’m on a bus for a band trip when I hear some of my friends, including Student #1, talking about boarding schools.)

Me: *jokingly* “Who’s going to a boarding school?”

Student #1: *jokingly* “You’re going to a boarding school.”

Me: “Unless the boarding school is Hogwarts, I’m staying at [Our School].”

Student #2: “What if [School] IS Hogwarts?”

Student #3: “It is!”

Me: “Then clearly I’m taking all the wrong classes! Why am I not in defense against the dark arts?”

Student #3: “That’s language arts.”

Me: “Does that make science Charms class?”

Student #2: “No, that’s potions.”

Has It Back To Front

| Lidköping, Sweden | Working | May 8, 2017

(I had taken a day trip by bus to a nearby town to buy a steam cleaner for a better price than in my hometown. The box is large enough to block everyone if I carry it, so I wait for everyone else to walk past me before I get up. As I turn to exit, the doors closes behind the last person and because the engine is still running naturally I try to get the driver’s attention by waving in the mirror, but fail as people are coming on and keeps her occupied. I stand aside to let people pass me before I rush up to the driver who, in that time, started driving away and I start to panic a little.)

Me: “Excuse me, I wanted to get off here.”

Driver: “Err, there’s a door in the back for that.”

Me: “Yes, but the door closed so quickly.”

Driver: “Okay, then there’s a door in the front.”

(As if I got the chance to use either…)

But Where Will You Keep Them All?

| Oxford, England, UK | Friendly | May 3, 2017

(I am on a bus service which runs between colleges and university campuses. A group of teenagers are sitting near me, talking about what they are going to do when they get into town.)

Teenage Boy #1: “We need to stop by a shop so I can get some drinks and a pack of lesbians.”

(His friend all pause, look at each other, look at him, look at me, and back to him.)

Teenage Boy #2: “Lesbians?”

(He thinks for a minute, momentarily unsure as to whether he has found the right word.)

Teenage Boy #1: *now certain* “Yes. Lesbians.”

(I would have liked to see that exchange in the corner shop.)

This Conversation Died

| Norway | Friendly | April 13, 2017

We’re about an hour in on a five-hour bus ride to [City]. This is a trip I take frequently, as my daughter lives there. Next to me is a woman in her early 20s who also frequents this route. Having talked to her a few times previously, I know she’s a quiet but polite person, and probably on her way to visit her parents. She’s reading and listening to music, and looks like she wants to be left alone.

Unfortunately she’s drawn the attention of two young men around her age sitting across the aisle from us, and they’ve been trying to engage her in conversation, asking questions and what not. Her answers, although polite, have been short and uninterested up until this point.

She gets enough and firmly tells them that she is not interested in conversation and wants to get back to her book. She’s in the process of re-inserting her earphones when one of the guys whispers to the other “who died and made her head bitch?”. She turns to look at them, and in an angry but calm way, she says, “my grandmother.” She then goes back to her book and music as if nothing’s happened, and the guys fall silent.

I talked to her about an hour or so later; she was on her way to the funeral.

Falling Context

| Athens, Greece | Friendly | February 17, 2017

(I overhear a stranger on the phone as I walk to a seat.)

Stranger: “Did I tell you to fall? I didn’t tell you to fall. So why did you fall?”

(As people don’t generally fall on purpose or on command, I do wonder about the context. The only way I can make any sense of it is if she was giving instructions for a video game.)

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