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It’s Not Easy Being Green(eyed)

| Romantic | November 11, 2016

(I am a high school sophomore who is required to log service hours and decide to log some at a community center’s fundraiser. Note that I’m a biracial (black and white) female, and though I have hazel eyes that often look green, with my hair pulled up I appear decidedly African American. This is definitely the creepiest encounter I have while working the register. A middle-aged male customer walks up to my station with a few relatively inexpensive items and puts everything onto the table.)

Customer: “Hello.”

Me: *sits up straight* “Good evening, sir. Will this be all for you tonight?”

Customer: *nods* “You’re a pretty girl, honey.” *sounds somewhat creepy*

Me: *thinking that this is one of those polite compliments that adults give children* “Um, thank you.”

(I begin to enter the amounts of his items onto the iPad that is being used for transactions.)

Customer: *almost to himself* “I didn’t know they came with green eyes.”

Me: *thinking that he’s talking to himself* “Okay, sir, that comes to—”

Customer: *interrupts* “Are your eyes real, honey?”

Me: *confused* “Um, yeah, of course they are. Your total is twelve—”

Customer: *interrupts again, in a creepily soft tone* “Honey, I like green-eyed girls.”

Me: *beginning to be weirded out* “Uh, your total is twelve fifty. Card, check, or cash?”

Customer: *suddenly gets uncomfortably close to me* “I have cash. Lots of cash. You like cash, honey? I can make you a lot of it.”

Me: *now incredibly paranoid* “Um, sir, I-I’m fifteen…”

Customer: *suddenly steps back, looks at me like I’m crazy, pulls a twenty out of his pocket, slams it onto the table, grabs his items, and hurries out*

(I was immediately switched to another position when I informed the volunteer leader. Turned out they were trying to get that guy the heck out of the fundraiser for creeping out other volunteers.)

Girl Power

| Learning | February 8, 2016

(I’m volunteering in a kids reading group and I read a children’s story about family and love to a 4-6 year old girl. I’m female and have a girlfriend.)

Girl: “Do you have a family?”

Me: “Yes, I do. I have parents.”

Girl: “Do you have a husband or children?”

Me: “Not yet.”

Girl: “Do you have a boyfriend?”

Me: “Well… yes?”

Girl: “Is he kind?” *description of husband in book*

Me: “Yes.”

Girl: “Is he tall?” *another description of husband in book*

Me: “Not really.”

Girl: “What do you like about him?” *wife in book answers this with what her husband does around the house and his hobbies*

Me: “He can cook and likes to sing and make jewelry.”

Girl: “Really?”

Me: “Yes.”

Girl: “He sounds like a girl.”

Me: *pause* “Oh. I guess so.”

Girl: “But boys can do that. And girls can do boy things, too.”

Me: “Yes, that is very true.”

Girl: “Girls can also love girls and boys can also love boys, too.”

Me: *stunned* “You know about that?”

Girl: “Yeah. It’s called gay.”

Me: “Oh, wow. In that case, actually I don’t have a boyfriend. I have a girlfriend.”

Girl: *very loudly* “You are gay!”

(This attracted the attention of several people nearby, including the group leader. I sort of got in trouble because most youngsters don’t understand the issue, especially as some parents are uncomfortable, but after explaining how this came about it was understood. I later met the girl’s parents and found out the family was actually very open about these things.)

Mashing The Generations Together

| Friendly | January 13, 2016

(I am 23 years old. For my college program, I am doing a field placement at an agency that serves the surrounding low-income neighbourhood. During the day it mostly serves as a place for local kids to hang out, do homework, socialize, etc. I am watching over some kids to make sure they’re either reading or doing homework. Three of the girls, around 8 to 10 years old, are writing on sheets of paper. They claim they are doing math homework, but I suspect they are not. My suspicions are confirmed when one of them hands a sheet to another and I see that it’s set up for the game MASH.)

Me: “Are you guys playing MASH instead of doing homework?”

(All three girls stare at me in shock. The one who was holding the sheet is slack-jawed.)

Girl: *stammering* “I… you… how… but… YOU know what MASH is?!”

Me: “Of course! I remember playing that with my friends when I was your age!”

(It took a few seconds for the girls to digest this. The revelation that their game was not arcane knowledge understood only by children apparently shocked them to their very cores. For just a moment, the looks on their faces were as if I’d just shattered their entire conception of how the world works. It made me feel old.)

Barking Mad Flavors

| Friendly | September 21, 2015

Me: “Ooh, look at this. Earl grey cake with chocolate lavender frosting.”

Friend: “Chocolate labrador frosting?!”

Me: “…Lavender. Chocolate LAVENDER frosting.”

Friend: “Oh. That makes more sense.”

Got There The Long(ship) Way Round

| Friendly | February 24, 2015

(Several years ago, the Scandinavian Community Centre built a replica Viking longship. My husband and I are volunteering in the boat shed while the ship is being built, along with several others. We need to ask a question, but aren’t sure who to ask.)

Me: “…Do you know who would know?”

Fellow Volunteer: “Oh, sure, [Name] would know. He’s just over there.”

Me: “Um, which one is he?”

Fellow Volunteer: “He’s the Norwegian guy.”

Me: “They’re all Norwegian.”

Fellow Volunteer: “He’s the one with the grey hair.”

Me: “They all have grey hair.”

Fellow Volunteer: “Well, he’s the one with the glasses.”

Me: Uh… They all have glasses.”

Fellow Volunteer: “He’s the one in the project t-shirt!”

Me: “We’re all wearing the project t-shirt.”

Fellow Volunteer: *stops for a moment and looks at the group* “Okay… he’s the guy with the beard, beside the one with the camera.”

Me: “Awesome, thanks!”