Engineered The Perfect Misunderstanding

, , , , , | Learning | November 13, 2017

(I’m checking engineers in at an alumni event where they each receive a name tag, but I am neither an engineer nor an alumni of the school.)

Engineer: “Where’s your name tag?”

Me: “I’m not an engineer.”

Engineer: “Don’t worry; it’s not that hard. Just peel the back off and stick it to your shirt.”

What Happens When You Insult A Real Lady

| Ottawa, ON, USA | Right | May 17, 2017

(My wife and I volunteer at an ‘alternative’ event for leather enthusiasts. A friend of ours is one of the producers of the event and we don’t have the 200 dollars a piece to spend on admission for the weekend it so we volunteer at the coat check to get in for free on the night of the stage show. Because it is an alternative scene there are a bunch of LGBT people at the event, my wife (a trans-woman) and myself (cis-woman) included, and it is generally regarded as a safe space. My wife has the added benefit of being profoundly deaf and with hearing aids. She has also been dealing with health issues and this the first time she has been out of the house for weeks, so she’s excited to be out. It’s the end of the show so my wife, two other volunteers, and I are running around like mad getting everyone’s items while also making playful, sexy small talk with the patrons while they wait, to keep them happy. A few are already three sheets to the wind. One patron, who is plastered, comes up.)

Patron: “Wow, there’s a few women back here.”

Other Volunteer: “I know! How often do you get such an array of ladies to handle your drawers?”

Patron: *looking pointedly at my partner* “So you are all real women?”

(I start to feel my hackles rise. I protectively put an arm around my wife and proudly declare with a smile…)

Me: “Of course we are ALL real women.”

Patron: *pointing to me* “Hmm, you’re a real woman.” *pointing to my wife* “You aren’t…” *pointing to the other two* “You are and you are…”

(I’m shocked and rush her to get someone’s coat before he can say any more insulting things about her, but while she didn’t catch the whole exchange she knows she was just clocked as transgender. He gets his things and steps away. My wife anxiously asks me what he said.)

Me: “He’s just a drunk; pay no attention to him.”

Wife: *pressing* “What did he say?”

Me: “It’s nothing.”

Wife: “I need to know. You know it drives me crazy not knowing.”

Me: *giving in* “He… said you aren’t a real girl. But he’s a jerk; don’t listen to him.”

(The other volunteers notice her reaction and back me up that he was an idiot and swoop in to support her. I slink over to the bouncer (another friend of ours) and tell him what just happened. He swoops in to deal with the drunk patron. The volunteer co-ordinator and other volunteers offer to let me and my wife take a break until he leaves. I haul my wife to the now almost-empty auditorium where she has a minute to compose herself. Our friend who’s the producer comes out of backstage as I’m rubbing her back. He’s run ragged and tired from running the whole weekend’s festivities and looks the part, but pauses when he sees us. He knows she’s been sick and asks how she’s doing.)

Me: “Oh, someone was just being a jerk.”

Producer Friend: *immediately worried* “What happened?”

Me: “Some drunk said that she wasn’t a ‘real’ girl.”

Producer Friend: *to my wife* “Come here.” *gives her a hug and a kiss* “Don’t listen to idiots like that. They aren’t worth your time. And if I’m in the same room as this guy point him out I will make sure he NEVER attends one of my events ever again! If anyone says you aren’t a real girl they have another thing coming. Got it?”

(My wife nodded and started to smile again. By the time we got back down to the coat check the drunk jerk had left. They cut off his service at the bar so he was forced to go somewhere else.)

Alienating Your Audience

| Sydney, NSW, Australia | Friendly | April 6, 2017

(I am working as a volunteer guide at an event when I notice another volunteer looking a bit uncomfortable while a man is talking to her. I watch as she tries to take a step away from him but every time he follows. I go over to back her up, thinking that I can make up an excuse to get her away from him.)

Volunteer: “This man has been telling me about aliens.”

Me: *genuinely interested* “Oh, really? I am interested in aliens.”

Man: “Really?” *the other volunteer makes a run for it*

Me: “Yeah, I am. In fact friends and I may have seen a UFO last weekend. Either that or it was a satellite.”

Man: “Where were you?”

Me: “In [Country Town].”

Man: “Yeah, there are a lot up there; I go there all the time.”

Me: “Can you tell me what you’ve seen?”

Man: “I’ve seen heaps.” *looks around, moves closer and loudly whispers* “They take me on their ships and give me messages.”

Me: “Riiigght.” *I take step back; he takes a step forward*

Man: “Yeah, they have told me that they are going to make themselves known in October, that they are going to take over the world then.”

Me: “Um, okay.” *takes a step back, he takes a step forward*

Man: *still loudly whispering* “I’m the only one they’ve told, because—” *leans in closer* “—they need humans to lead countries. I am going to be leader of Australia.”

Me: *backs away again but realising I have backed into a wall and there’s no escape* “Oh, okay.”

Man: “Anyway, I am part alien; my last name is [Name] and I am related to that family. They are part of the seven families that rule the world. I’m happy to be able to tell you this. Usually I only tell my therapist and at first he didn’t believe me but now he does. I can see you do, too.”

(I am wondering how I am going to get away from him. I notice my fellow volunteer beckoning to me and pointing to her watch. I’m not wearing one but notice he is.)

Me: “Oh, is that the time? Are you going onto [Other Event Location]?”

Man: “Yes, I want to see that.”

Me: “Well, as interesting as this has been, you better go because we only have 10 minutes before that event is closed.”

Man: “Okay, I better go. Bye. I’m sure I’ll see you again.”

Me: “Yeah, that will be great.” *thinking, not if I see you first*

(I head over to the other volunteers.)

Volunteer: “You handled that well. Thank you for saving me.”

Me: “Oh, gawd, I need a drink.”

(I should have asked him which October as two have been and gone since then, and I haven’t seen any invading aliens or seen him again.)

Not A Sue-table Scamming Model

| Tulsa, OK, USA | Friendly | August 4, 2016

(I do balloon twisting and magic a grand opening event. A mom and grandmother came up to get a card.)

Mom: “We wanted this because the balloon you made my kid wasn’t good enough, and he’s crying.”

(The kid asked for, received, and was very happy with what he got 15 minutes earlier.)

Mom: “We just needed your info so we knew who to sue because of this.”

(I stare for five seconds, and then laugh.)

Me: “Tell you what. You call me anytime you want, and I will help you fill out whatever paperwork is needed to take me to court because I want to be there when the judge calls you an idiot for suing over a free balloon animal. Seriously, I’ll even pay any filing charges.”

(The triumphant looks on their faces soon left when they realized that the ruse they probably used to get free stuff all the time wasn’t going to work, and they were stupid to try said ruse in this particular situation.)

Dumbo Could Do More Than Just Fly

| USA | Friendly | December 15, 2015

(I’m watching some little kids who are working on some crafts. They are making “listening ears”, a paper plate cut in half with paper ears pasted on the halves and hanging on their heads like headphone with pipe cleaners holding the two pieces together.)

Kid #1: “I have big ears!”

Me: “Just like Dumbo the flying elephant.”

Kid #2: *looks around at other children* “Dumbo had a lot of kids…”