Handy With Handedness

, , , , , | Friendly | March 30, 2020

(I am eating lunch at my college when a couple of young men sit down at the table nearest me with some snacks of their own. They are close enough that I can hear them talking, and although I don’t speak it, I recognize the language they are speaking is Vietnamese.

It’s also necessary to note that I have Asperger’s Syndrome and one of my peculiarities is noticing and remembering someone’s handedness. It is kind of like noticing someone’s hair color; if you use your hands in a way that demonstrates your laterality, I can’t NOT note your dominant hand, I just do.

So, I can’t help but notice that one of the men nearby is left-handed by the way he eats. They finish quickly and get up to leave, but I notice that the left-handed man has taken his backpack, but neglected to pick up a smaller bag by his chair.)

Me: “Excuse me… Excuse me, sir? Sir?

(The two are too engaged in their conversation to realize I’m talking to them and are quickly walking to the door to the building. Out of desperation to get his attention, I blurt out the first thing I can think of.)

Me: “Uh… Left-handed Vietnamese guy!”

(The two men stop and slowly turn to look at me with bewildered expressions.)

Me: *awkwardly* “Um… y-you left your bag behind.” *points to the sack by the chair*

(The young man looked surprised when he saw it there, jogged over to pick it up, and thanked me, and they left.)

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Needs A Further Education In Being A Decent Person

, , , , , | Learning | March 21, 2020

(I am helping the retail manager to get some things ready for the coming catalogue while we are standing at the checkout between customers, so I decide to start some small talk.)

Me: “How are your kids doing?”

Manager: “They are doing good. My son is getting ready for his year twelve exams.”

Me: “That’s exciting! Does he know what he wants to do after high school?”

Manager: “Not yet, but I told him that if he chooses to go to university, he can stay home. But if he chooses to go to TAFE, he needs to move out.”

(TAFE is “Technical And Further Education.”)

Me: “Why’s what?”

Manager: “Well, I don’t want him to grow up and be a nothing by going to TAFE.”

(The manager looks at me, from head to toe, while saying that.)

Me: “…”

(That got me really angry. Uni does not equal success. I know many people who went to TAFE who are doing a lot better than other people I know who went to uni. I don’t have anything against anyone who choses uni, but it gets me angry when people judge someone in a cold and disrespectful way for choosing TAFE over uni.)

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Unfiltered Story #190134

, , | Unfiltered | March 18, 2020

I work at a booth at the front of campus where people can ask for directions, obtain a temporary parking pass, etc. Usually I just get cars, but today this guy pulls up in a huge Waste Management truck.

Him: Where is Lot H?
Me: (looks at map, points to left) That way.
Him: (Points to right) That way?
Me: (Points to left) No, that way.
Him: (Points to right) That way?
Me: (Points as far to left as I can) That way.
Him: Okay, thanks. (Drives to the right)
Me: (face-desk)

Unfiltered Story #190078

, , | Unfiltered | March 16, 2020

(I lived with a bunch of guys in college that had a special name for gyro pizza. Not eating meat, I never paid this name much attention until one night I had to call for carryout.)

Me: “Hi, I’d like to order a large cheese pizza for carryout.”

Female Employee: “Sure! Anything else with that order?”

Me (to my roommates): “What would you guys like?”

Roommates: (mumble a response)

Me (to the employee): “And one large cat penis pizza.”

Female Employee (sounding apprehensive): “Uh… what kind of pizza?”

Me: “One large… oh no…”

Roommates (cracking up but talking loud enough to be heard over the phone): “It’s called a gyro pizza!”

Me: “Oh my god… a large gyro pizza. I am so sorry.”

(The employee was laughing at that point, but needless to say, I did not go with my roommates to pick up the pizzas.)

Talk Until You K-Pop

, , , , , | Learning | March 10, 2020

(I am an admissions counselor for a university. I am working from home and get a call from a man interested in our business program. I talk to him about our degrees and tell him the next steps, and he doesn’t seem terrifically invested in the conversation. It comes to a natural stopping point and I am getting ready to end the call when he says this:)

Man: “I just want to make sure this isn’t a scam. I’ve been scammed before.”

Me: “Oh, I completely understand. It can be difficult to know if something is legitimate, especially with online school.”

(He then launches into a rant about how a school scammed him in the past. He doesn’t seem rude or violent, only justifiably frustrated as he recalls the experience. I tell him about a school I almost went to and then later found out was a scam, and we are having a pretty animated conversation. Then, suddenly, he turns to politics.)

Man: “Everyone wants free college these days. Bernie Sanders wants to give everyone free college. Everyone wants socialism; they think socialism is great. It’s not. I’m telling you it’s not. I’m not gonna ask you how you vote, but free college just wouldn’t work.”

(I am actually a socialist, but of course, I am at work so I just make some non-committal noises.)

Man: “I’m not gonna ask how you vote, but I’m an independent. I just think we need Republicans and Democrats to come together. We need a president who can bring everyone together. That’s why I love Tulsi. Have you heard of her?”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve seen some of her billboards around.”

Man: “She’s great. I love her. Man, I would kill to get her autograph. I bet you see a lot of presidential candidates up there in New Hampshire, huh? I tell ya, I would kill for Tulsi’s autograph. She spends most of her time in Hawaii, but I would love to meet her one day. If you see her in New Hampshire, get me her autograph, will ya?”

Me: *jokingly* “Sure thing! I also have family in Hawaii so I’ll give them a call and see if they can get her autograph for you.”

Man: *even more excited* “You’re Samoan?!”

Me: “Ah, no. My grandpa was in the military.”

Man: “Oh, I see. It’s a beautiful place. Beautiful. I’d love to go there someday. But really, I will pay you money for Tulsi’s autograph. I’m serious; I will pay you for it.”

Me: “I’ll keep that in mind.”

(He continues extolling the virtues of Tulsi for a while, and then he suddenly comes out with this gem.)

Man: “I’m really into K-Pop. I love following those girl groups. I’ve been learning a bit of Korean through that.”

(Students enter their date of birth when they inquire, so I know this man is in his late forties. Most K-Pop groups consist entirely of women in their late teens or early twenties. This comment, paired with his earlier excitement about the possibility of me being Samoan, instantly shoots up a couple of red flags for me.)

Me: “Oh, that’s so cool. I’ve heard it’s a great language…”

(He continued to expound on his love of K-Pop, with me getting increasingly uncomfortable. FINALLY, after nearly an hour of conversation — only 15 of which were spent talking about the university — he thanked me for being such a great listener and we said our goodbyes. This was almost a month ago and I have not been able to get back in touch with that student to follow up on his application. Probably for the best.)

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