Long-Distance Relationships Before Social Media

, , , , , | Friendly | April 14, 2020

In college in the late 1980s, I had my own private phone line set up in my dorm room. However, I guess the number was close to a couple of others because I kept getting phone calls for Mark, Rick, and Mike.

They were always on my answering machine, but that meant they weren’t actually listening to my message because it was, “Hello, you’ve reached [My Name] at [Phone Number]. I’m sorry I’m not here…”

I eventually got tired of the wrong numbers and changed my message:

“Hello, you’ve reached [My Name] at [Phone Number]. This isn’t Mark. This isn’t Rick. And I’m sorry, Melissa, but this isn’t Mike. If you wish to speak to one of them, please hang up and dial again. If you wish to leave a message for [My Name], please do so after the tone.”

Melissa called. It seems she had finally paid attention to the outgoing message, as she left me one, and I could hear her trying to keep from laughing the entire time.

“I’m sorry, [My Name]. I didn’t realize I had been leaving all those wrong messages. Maybe one of these days, I’ll get on out to California and I can finally meet the wrong number.”

However, finals week was upon us, so I changed my answering machine message to indicate that I was going to always be studying, so people should leave a message and maybe I’d get back to them sometime.

Melissa called again. It seemed she liked being called out on someone’s answering machine and I guess she called so she could show it to someone. Again, she was trying to keep it together on the phone:

“[My Name]! It’s Melissa. What happened? Don’t you love me anymore?”

I think I still have that cassette tape somewhere.

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I Love You One Day A Year Because Corporate Says So

, , , , , , | Romantic | February 14, 2020

(My fiance and I go to the same college. We both live on campus, in the same building on separate floors. At the time of this story, we’ve been dating for three years, with our anniversary on February 9th. It’s right around Valentine’s Day, and one of his roommate’s girlfriends is in their room, waiting on her boyfriend before they go out. They’ve been dating for three months at this point.)

Roommate’s Girlfriend: “Do you have any plans to take [My Name] out for Valentine’s Day?”

Fiance: “Our anniversary is the ninth, so we usually just go out around then to celebrate, but [My Name] doesn’t really believe in Valentine’s Day.”

(This is true; I have no qualms with those who want to celebrate, but I’d rather not have a corporate holiday telling me when to celebrate the people I love. I’d rather do it on a random day than do it when society expects, but again, I don’t hold it against anyone who wants to celebrate and I’m happy for them if they do! He explains the above to her, but she’s proven in the three months they’ve been dating to not be the brightest bulb in the room. She takes the explanation in, sits for a moment, and then says:)

Roommate’s Girlfriend: “Oh, so you don’t love her?”

(He was not very happy. Neither was I, at first. After the anger waned, I felt a bit sad for her and people who believed the same. Valentine’s Day does not equal Love, and I hope we can teach our young folk that there’s more to love than being taken out on a holiday!)

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The Naked Fire Drill Versus Japanese Politeness

, , , , , , , | Learning | February 1, 2020

I’m a counsellor for students with mental problems, mostly stress-related anxiety or teenage mood swings. One day, I got a new patient who was said to have anger management issues. His teacher claimed that he threw a tantrum, complete with shouting, screaming, and swearing. Nothing I haven’t handled before. When the guy came in, I was very surprised.

He was pleasant and polite, and he even baked me some tasty cupcakes. He was always calm, even when we discussed the incident that led to his tantrum, though he did sound annoyed at points. Apparently, his dorm master decided that the best time to hold a fire drill was late at night, when the entire dorm was preparing to sleep. In his case, he was showering, and was forced out by the other students in nothing but his towel. I should mention that it was a cold and windy night.

Without his glasses, he was unable to see where to line up and ended up in the wrong line. When the dorm master saw him, he decided to scold him in front of the entire dorm for holding everyone up by being too slow and in the wrong line. He even mocked the student’s near-nakedness. This led to the student losing his temper and to the ensuing tantrum, which was grossly exaggerated. After screaming one vulgar insult and flipping the dorm master off, the student calmed down and apologised repeatedly, not just to the dorm master, but to the entire dorm. That was the first time the student was even angry in roughly three years.

The student was very embarrassed and apologetic about the whole situation as it was apparently wrong to talk back or complain in his (Japanese) culture. I honestly couldn’t believe his restraint. If it’d been me in that situation, I’d have punched the man. And he could forget any form of apology from me. After another two sessions to make sure that the student didn’t really have anger management issues, I told the college that he was fine and put in a good word for him.

Unfortunately, the dorm master disagreed and tried to send the student back. I sent him to one of my colleagues, who also certified that the student was fine, forcing the dorm master to give up. 

I was later visited by the same student almost a month later, who dropped by to offer cupcakes to everyone in the office. Apparently the dorm master, even after being told that the student had done nothing wrong, still stuck him in repeated detentions, wrote a bad report on his report card, and stripped away many of his privileges in the dorm.

He’s since planned to move out with a bunch of his friends to an apartment, though is still too polite to enact vengeance or even complain about the teacher to the school.

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Even Crazier That He Is Jack The Ripper

, , , , , | Friendly | December 18, 2019

(My friend and I like watching classic movies. This time we’re watching “12 Angry Men.” There’s a scene where Juror #2 has a monologue. He’s a tiny, meek, bald guy with glasses and a distinctly high, squeaky voice.)

Me: “Do you recognize that voice?”

Friend: “Uh… no?”

Me: “Well, you should. That’s Piglet from Winnie the Pooh.

(I then watch in amusement as it takes a couple of seconds for the voice to register in his head, and then his eyes bug out and his jaw drops.)

Friend: “Oh… my… God!”

Me: *laughing* “Yeah, have fun trying not to think about that every time he speaks now.”

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The Only Thing Blaring Is The Neighbor

, , , , , | Learning | December 8, 2019

(It is my first semester of freshman year. I live in a first-year dorm, but it is apartment-style, meaning the door from the hallway opens to a living room and kitchen and there is another door leading to my bedroom. During finals week, “24-hour quiet hours” are enforced, basically meaning that you’re not allowed to blast music or TV loud enough to be heard in the hallway or other rooms. I don’t have any finals, so I am laying in my bedroom with both doors shut watching TV when someone starts pounding on my door.)

Neighbor: “Open up!”

(I look through the peephole and recognize her as my neighbor from across the hall, so I open the door.)

Me: “What’s up?”

Neighbor: “I can’t focus with your music blaring like that!”

Me: “Um, I’m not playing music.”

Neighbor: “Don’t lie! I hear it right now!”

(Standing at the hallway door with my bedroom door open, I can just barely hear my TV playing.)

Me: “Oh, my TV? Sorry, I didn’t think it was that loud. I can turn it down some.” 

Neighbor: “You’d better!”

(She stomps off and I think that is the end of it. Fifteen minutes later:)

Resident Authority: “Campus housing!”

(I open the door, and my neighbor has brought our RA to my apartment.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

Resident Authority: “Do you know about the 24-hour quiet hours going on right now?”

Me: “Yes, that’s why I’m watching TV with my bedroom door shut. Could you hear it from the hall?”

Resident Authority: “Was it playing?”

Me: “Um, yes. It’s still playing right now.”

(He pauses and listens.)

Resident Authority: “I can barely hear that.” *turns to neighbor* “Is this really what you bothered me about?”

Neighbor: “I’m trying to study for finals! I can’t focus with her TV blaring!”

Resident Authority: “I have finals, too! And I can’t focus with people knocking on my door making fake complaints! If it really bothers you that bad, campus housing gave you earplugs at the beginning of the year. Dig those out.”

Me: “So, am I good?”

Resident Authority: “Yep, have a good week, and watch TV all you want.”

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