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Never Talk To Strangers, Or Stranger Aunties

, , , , | Related | December 19, 2021

My aunt is a conspiracy nutjob. She is in deep, and every time I see her it gets worse. I can’t even have a conversation with her anymore; I say anything that goes even slightly against what she “knows” to be fact and she loses it. Any evidence she has is a dubious video or has been hidden by the shadow people, or whatever she believes in this week.

I’ve tried to be tolerant, tried to be understanding, tried to agree to disagree, but it’s the only thing she talks about. Anyone with a different worldview is a sheep and an idiot. I don’t need to be called an idiot in my own home.

I’ve distanced myself completely, making sure I’m not around when she visits. It’s actually worked out well. I’m more social and have more hobbies.

This weekend, I’ve volunteered to help a friend run a cake stand for her church. It’s a double bonus: free cake, and my aunt hates all religion, so there’s no chance she will bother me… or so I think.

About an hour in, I see her sneering her way through the crowd and toward me.

Aunt: “Your mother said to come home immediately.”

Me: “And did she say why?”

Aunt: “You’re distracting yourself being here, dealing with these…” *waves her hand around* “…people.”

Me: “Okay. She didn’t say anything of the sort, did she?! I think I’ll stay.”

Aunt: *Scoffs* “And what are you lacing these with, then?”

And there she goes — more paranoid conspiracy nonsense. I cringe with every fibre of my body.

Me: “Those are lemon, I think, Auntie.”

Aunt: “Yeah, lemon drugs! You know the church is renowned for drugging people. It’s how they get their money!”

Me: “You are embarrassing yourself. Go home.”

Aunt: “How dare you?! You little s***. You go home.”

I crossed my arms and refused to engage her. This only mader her angrier. She screamed, shouted, and tried to tip the table, which didn’t work, before storming off.

After the sale wound down, I went home reluctantly. I planned to grab some things and go, but to my surprise, Auntie wasn’t there. It turned out she went back and admitted what she had done, and my mum kicked her out and told her not to come back.

We haven’t seen her for five years now and all have been happier for it.

Comments About Babies From The Mouths Of Babes

, , , , , , | Learning | December 3, 2021

I’m volunteering at my church’s Vacation Bible Camp during the summer, leading the first-grade group. This mostly involves wrangling wriggly children and preventing them from knocking down intricate butcher paper decorations.

At one point, we have to wait outside one station while the previous class is finishing up. To keep the kids occupied, I start asking them about their plans for the fall. One kid pipes up.

Student: “What grade are you going to be in?”

Me: “I’m actually out of school.”

Student: “So, what are you doing in the fall?”

Me: “Well, I’m engaged, so I’ll be getting married this fall.”

Student: “Oh, so, you’re pregnant.”

Luckily, none of the other teachers in this very traditional church setting were around to hear, and I quickly corrected him, but I had to wonder what order these things typically happened in his family for a six-year-old to reach that conclusion!

Thou Shalt Not Block My Exit

, , , , , | Right | October 14, 2021

I arrive at a local church just as services are ending. I am collecting for the local food bank as the church has a collection once a month.

Moments before the service ends, an elderly man collapses. I am a retired medic, so I go to offer assistance. As soon as a medic arrives, I go outside to wait for the ambulance and help direct traffic. A man is already attempting to do that.

Man: “I need you all to get in your cars and leave now. The ambulance is coming, and you will be blocked in.”

The crowd ignores him and stands around.

Man: “If you don’t leave now, you will be here for a while.”

Nothing happens. The ambulance arrives and parks in the only available space, blocking the entrance to the lot. The driver gets out. A random woman who has been standing there the whole time speaks up.

Woman: “Can you move over there?” *Gestures vaguely* “We need to leave.” *Points to the crowd of people*

Driver: “Um, we need to be by the ramp.”

Woman: “But we want to leave now.”

The driver looks confused and hesitates.

Me: “No. He’s not moving. There’s an elderly man inside on the floor. He’s staying, doing his job, and then leaving.”

The driver looks relieved and rushes into the church. Eventually, the gentleman is brought out and the ambulance is loaded and leaves. After I gather up the food bank collection, I leave. A few moments later, I get a call from the pastor.

Pastor: “I got a complaint that you were rude and forced people to wait until the ambulance left.”

Me: “Yeah. There was a guy trying to get them to leave before the ambulance got there but they ignored him. As soon as the ambulance parked, they all wanted to leave.”

Pastor: “That’s what I heard. I also heard you were blunt and wouldn’t allow the driver to move.”

Me: “Sounds right.”

Pastor: “Good. That’s what should have happened. See you next month?”

Me: “Yup.”

This story is part of our Best Of October 2021 roundup!

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Jesus Died So You Could Troubleshoot

, , , | Right | October 7, 2021

My friend and I are doing freelance programming as a side job. One job is for an office of the Catholic Church. We both are Christians; we usually refrain from hitting people over the head with it, but we won’t deny it if asked. This being the church, the subject has come up and been dealt with.

They know that, for us, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are the biggest holidays of the year. Also, in our country, there are a couple of bank holidays around Easter, so family and friends gather and celebrate. It is much like Thanksgiving in the US.

Shortly before Good Friday, we get this email.

Church: “I assume you do not have much to do during the holidays, so here is a list of bugs and wishes for you to work on.”

Sick Of Bad Parents

, , , , | Right | August 5, 2021

I am volunteering in the church nursery one Sunday. There is a sign posted at the door that if a child has certain symptoms, such as fever or vomiting, they cannot come in. I’m grabbing some extra toys from a supply closet when I hear a regular attendee talking to someone else.

Regular: “Yeah, [Child] wasn’t feeling well when we left. He threw up in the parking lot just now.”

I scoot back into the nursery and flag down the staff member in charge that morning.

Me: *Quietly* “[Regular] just told someone that [Child] threw up in the parking lot.”

Staff: “Just now?!”

Me: “Yep.”

Staff: *Sighs* “I’ll handle this.”

Sure enough, a few minutes later, the regular attempts to sign him in.

Staff: “Is [Child] sick?”

Regular: “Um…”

Staff: “I heard he threw up in the parking lot.”

Regular: “But he’s fine now!”

Staff: *Taps the sign at the door* “I can’t let him in. You know that.”

Regular: “Seriously?”

Staff: “Yes.”

She storms out, child in tow.