It’s Not A Game To Some People

, , , , , , , , | Hopeless | August 15, 2019

The weekly game night at my college was just starting for the night and one of the regulars had brought a less common game called “Betrayal at House on the Hill.” I had already signed up to play, as had a new gamer who had never been to our game nights before. A classmate of mine, who I’d only seen at our game nights one or two times before, arrived and asked to join, as well.

This classmate was, without a doubt, the smartest person in our class; he had to be removed from the grading curve of one of our tests because he did so well he threw off the curve. However, he had a severe case of ADHD and was also somewhere on the less severe side of the autistic spectrum. He never explicitly told me his diagnoses, but I could recognize the symptoms from having volunteered with special needs children for so long. His ADHD meant that he could get overstimulated quickly when excited. When he got too overstimulated he would need to take a break to calm himself by “stimming,” basically repetitive actions to work out his stimulation. In his case, the stimming involved bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet and making a loud sort of keening sound in the back of his throat. While I recognized and understood the symptoms and why he was doing it, I could understand how this stimming could grow annoying to people who didn’t understand.

The owner of the game told my classmate that the game was already full, which I knew wasn’t true. I didn’t like the lie, but he was the owner of the game so I supposed he had the right to refuse someone from playing. My classmate accepted this and, after failing to get any of us to join in the game he wanted to play, he wandered off to ask people in other parts of the room if they wanted to play with him.  

While my classmate was away, a friend of the game owner arrived and joined in to the game. Unfortunately, my classmate wandered back over a little bit later, apparently having failed to find anyone to play his game with him, and noticed the addition of another player to our game.

The classmate said, “I thought you didn’t have room for more players?”

The game owner responded, in a very gruff and uncaring tone, “Yeah, well, we found more space.”

The classmate just said, “Oh,” in a dejected way.

Then, the new player spoke up, gesturing to the game owner’s friend. “Yeah, he’s taking my place. I didn’t know how long this game was when I signed up for it. I wouldn’t have had time to finish it, so I let him take my spot. I was planning to watch for a while, but if you want, maybe we can find a shorter game to play, instead?”

The new guy had jumped in so fast, and managed to sound so honest and casual about his statement, that I don’t think my classmate ever guessed that he had made up the excuse on the spot to explain the extra player. The two wandered off to play a card game, and my classmate did seem to enjoy himself, judging by how often he got overstimulated and had to stop to take a break for some stimming. 

As for me, I struggled to enjoy the game because I kept feeling really guilty for having been witness to such rude behavior and not having done anything. I’d like to think I’d have gotten around to doing something similar, but I was still processing how cruel the owner was by the time the other play had spoken up. Either way, I was very thankful someone was able to come up with a way to prevent my poor classmate from feeling rejected on one of the few times he tried to come out of his shell to socialize.

The new player who had sacrificed his spot at the game came to more of our game nights later, so I got to know him well and became friends with him. I learned later that he had been really excited to play “Betrayal” because he had only gotten to play it once or twice before but had really loved it. He also confessed that he never liked the card game he got dragged into playing with my classmate, instead, but leaving the game was the only idea he could think of at the moment to keep my classmate from being hurt. I’d eventually help to explain to my new friend about stimming and why the classmate acted the way he did; my friend had figured that the classmate had special needs but didn’t know any specifics beyond that. I also ended up eventually buying the “Betrayal at House on the Hill” game myself — being a board game addict who can’t help buying new games anyway — just so I could invite my friend to play his favorite game with me.

As far as I know, my classmate only attended a few other game nights that semester, it was pretty intermittent when he would show up. However, whenever he did come, my friend and I would both try to go out of our way to find a chance to play a game with him so he wouldn’t feel rejected.

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Only Thing He Should Be Following Is Her Hints

, , , | Romantic | August 12, 2019

(I’m a student attending a community college that is not too far from my home. For this, I drive to and from my house easily, through plenty of turns and the busy road in between. This story takes place during my first semester of my sophomore year. It’s a 3D level designing class. I find it to be interesting and fun… and I meet some interesting people. I sit in the back of the classroom. I can see the screen at the front easier; it doesn’t strain my eyes for whatever reason. I set up my laptop to work on, too. The other classmates walk in and one of them immediately rushes over and sits next to me. I have my bag placed on the chair but he pushes it to the floor and settles in.)

Classmate: “Well, hey!”

Me: “Oh! Uh, heya!”

Classmate: “So! Level design, huh?”

Me: “Yep! I need it for my major, but it looks pretty fun. And I heard great things about the prof–”

Classmate: *looks at my screen* “Hey! You like [TV Show], too? No way! Do you have the soundtrack? I love the first few songs on it!”

Me: “Oh, yeah… It’s pretty good, though I don’t have the soundtrack. I’m not a big fan of downloading ful–”

Classmate: “Well, here! Let me download it for you and–”

(I push my laptop away.)

Me: “No, thank you. It costs money and I don’t have any to buy it.”

(He shrugs and the rest of the class goes on. It’s a typical first-day lecture, syllabus, and the like. The classmate keeps trying to talk to me, loudly, as the professor is talking. Thankfully, the professor notices me trying to pay attention and snaps the classmate’s attention back to the front. Thank goodness. At the end of the class — unfortunately, a night class — I’m walking out and the classmate catches up to me.)

Classmate: “Hey! So, wow! That teacher was rude interrupting our conversation.”

Me: “Well… he wanted you to pay attention, so… Plus, I needed to hear what we were supposed to be working on for the next class.”

Classmate: “Yeah, well, I already know what I’m working on. I didn’t need to listen…”

(As we are walking, I’m trying to go to where my car is parked, but he keeps nudging me the opposite way.)

Me: “Oh, uh… Sorry, excuse me!”

Classmate: “What? We’re going to your car, right?

Me: “Uh… I’m going to my car… but it’s not parked over there?”

Classmate: “Oh! Okay! Well, lead me to your car! It’s late and I want to make sure you get to it safely.”

Me: *getting a little uncomfortable* “I’ll be fine. I’m parked next to the security post. Last I checked, there was someone watching there.”

Classmate: “Well, okay, then. But when you drive down, wait for me. I’ll follow and make sure you get home okay. You never know.”

Me: “Okay… uh… No. I’m not comfortable with that.”

Classmate: “I’m just trying to be nice. I don’t want you to get hurt going home.”

Me: “I’m not comfortable with someone I just met following me. I’ve got to go. Please don’t follow me.”

(I ran towards my car, with the security guard watching me. I explained to him the issue, though I wasn’t sure what he’d do off-campus, but I’d rather someone know. As I drove out, I noticed someone else pull up close behind me. It was [Classmate], following me through a few turns before we reached the busier road through town. I tried to gain a few feet ahead, but he was still following me. A traffic light turned yellow and I quickly hit the gas to make it through before red, having him get stopped. I drove through the crowd of cars, making a few extra turns down side roads I knew, just in case. I made it home and thankfully never saw his car pull up again. The next class, I told the professor what had happened, and he made sure to let me go a few minutes early. I even had the security guard follow me out a few times just to make sure. I think the guy got the hint, as he never tried following me again.)

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What A Trans Wreck

, , , | Friendly | August 11, 2019

(An LGBT group at my university has hosted a lecturer to speak about trans issues. I decide to go along and bump into my friend, who is trans, who decides to tag along. This happens shortly after we leave.)

Me: “So, what did you make of it?” 

Friend: “I found it very uncomfortable to sit through. You shouldn’t have dragged me to it.”

Me: “I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but I didn’t ‘drag’ you. I was already going.”

Friend: “Whatever. I just found it incredibly misogynistic for a man to talk about what happens to my body when going through the transition.”

(I find this strange, as the speaker, who quite clearly is a woman, introduced herself as a trans woman who had undergone a full transition.)

Me: “Okay. I assume she wanted to share her experiences, and who else to share them than someone who has actually transitioned.”

Friend: “THAT WAS A WOMAN? Well, he needs to try harder if he’s going to be like us.” *laughs*

(I don’t know if this was internalised transphobia or if she was just joking, as she had only just started the process and was confused quite a lot on campus for being male, to which she reacted badly and with hostility. I can’t imagine why she would put someone else down who had gone through what she was about to. Either way, I’ve stayed away from the issue since then, and only talk about it when she introduces the topic herself.)

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God’s Dirt Has Been Paved Over In China

, , , , , , , | Friendly | August 9, 2019

(I am outside my university’s research lab building, by the parking deck. I am American, but ethnically I am half Chinese, which some people can spot right away. I’m also a scientist and an atheist. I am walking towards my lab and using the sidewalk next to the parking garage. There is a security guard standing on the sidewalk next to the garage, watching some birds in a patch of grass. I smile and say hi to her. She stops me.)

Guard: “Isn’t it amazing?”

Me: “…?”

Guard: “You can just throw anything in God’s dirt and it’ll grow!”

Me: “Uh… what?”

Guard: “Yeah, you can have any seeds at all, throw it into God’s dirt, and it’ll grow, just like that! Isn’t it amazing?”

Me: “Well, yes, life in general is pretty amazing. But I gotta tell you, not everything you throw in dirt is going to grow…”

(I launch into a very short explanation about plant needs, soil fertility, and crop rotation, which apparently is quite lost on the lady.)

Guard: *quickly changing the subject* “So, you work in that building over there?”

Me: “Yep, I’m a graduate student here at [University].”

Guard: “Are you Asian?”

Me: “I’m half Chinese.”

Guard: “Isn’t China a communist country?”

Me: “Yep.”

Guard: “Well, you have yourself a nice day.”

(She couldn’t get rid of me fast enough! Shun the non-believer!)

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Making Crippling Statements

, , , | Learning | August 4, 2019

(I am 22, working in a school office. Everyone agrees that the principal is the biggest a**hole alive. She makes countless rude, b****y, and discriminatory remarks and passes them off as jokes. One afternoon while out for lunch, I trip and sprain my knee. I’ve been limping around with a brace for a few weeks.)

Principal: “You’re still limping? What happened to you?”

(She’s seen me before; I’ve explained it to her a few times.)

Me: “I sprained my knee.”

Principal: *disgusted* “Really! You’re so young and already you’re crippled. How are you going to get married?!”

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