Sometimes A Little Pick-Me-Up Picks You Up A Lot

, , , , , | Friendly | June 20, 2020

I’ve had a less than calm-inducing day today, to say the least. Day-to-day, I am a single parent to my young daughter, but she usually visits her mother — my ex — for a night each weekend. My daughter usually looks forward to these visits, especially since Mummy takes her to [Fast Food Restaurant] for a [Kids’ Meal] most times.

However, late this afternoon, I was informed that my ex would not be able to collect our daughter after school for the visit as planned because she had been arrested. I now found myself in the position of rearranging my plans for my no-longer-child-free night, getting organized to collect my daughter, and figuring out how to tell her that she wouldn’t see Mummy this weekend without letting on the reason why.

Oh, and trying to get in touch with lawyers on a Friday afternoon to figure out how this affects future visits. Like I said, it’s been “interesting.”

[Daughter] was understandably disappointed when she found out she wouldn’t get to see Mum that night. After we got in the car, she asked me if she could please have [Fast Food], because Mummy always gets it for her. While I can’t afford to buy fast food all the time, I decided to say yes this time, partly because she still seemed sad and maybe it would help her feel a little better about it, and also because I wouldn’t mind something nice myself.

Is it still “comfort food” if it’s a drink? Sure, why not!

When we got to the drive-thru, the place was packed. We finally ordered her kids’ meal and a coffee for me, and we slowly inched our way forward to the payment window.

When we finally got there, the worker at the window asked, “Hi, did you have the [Kids’ Meal] and the coffee?”, in a tone of voice that immediately made me think they were going to tell me something was wrong. 

Great, I thought. Now there’s a problem with this, as well?

Out loud, I just said, “Uh, yeah, that’s ours.”

I definitely did not expect her response: “Yeah, so, the lady a few cars ahead paid for your order and said to tell you to have a happy Friday.”

I was in a mild state of shock as I pulled up to the next window to collect our food, though I was quickly brought back to earth by having to explain to my daughter why someone we don’t know would pay for our food.

I guess sometimes, people just want to do a random act of kindness… and I don’t know why, but sometimes what seems like almost nothing can really make a big difference to how you’re feeling. Thanks, random stranger lady!

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‘Til Death Or Pyramid Scheme Do Us Part

, , , , , , | Romantic | May 14, 2020

I got married to my first husband very young, and after only a few months, we discovered that getting married was a huge mistake. We had a very amicable divorce and parted friends. We didn’t stay in touch, but our parents did, so we often heard about what was going on in each other’s lives.

Time passed, and I married again. My second husband and I had a little girl, and we gave her a sister two years later.

I get the following phone call about a month after giving birth the second time. It has probably been six years or more since my ex and I last spoke.

Ex: “Hi, [My Name]! How are you?”

Me: “[Ex]! It’s been so long! I’m fine; thanks for asking. How are you?”

I honestly think he called to catch up and perhaps congratulate me on the new baby.

Ex: “Things couldn’t be better for me. Your parents probably heard from mine that I’m now involved in [Pyramid Scheme]?”

He doesn’t call it a pyramid scheme, of course. It is a vitamin company which is — if you believe the hype — going to be responsible for the human race staying in the peak of health for decades and living to be 120.

Me: “Yes, I heard that.”

Ex: “Let me tell you all about it. These vitamins are the best thing ever, and—”

Me: “Uh, let me stop you right there. I’m not interested in buying any vitamins.”

Ex: “Oh, that’s not why I’m calling. I have a business proposition for you and [Second Husband] which you’d be crazy to turn down.”

Me: “No, thanks.”

Ex: “Don’t say no right away. You haven’t heard about it—”

Me: “Look, [Ex], I’m not interested in anything to do with that company, so please don’t waste your time.”

Ex: “…”

Me: “But anyway, enough about that. What’s new? How’s the family?”

How pathetic is that? I still think that he called for a friendly chat, not a sales pitch.

Ex: *Hurriedly* “Oh, they’re fine, but I really have to go. Nice talking to you, [My Name].” *Click*

And that was that. I couldn’t help but be saddened that the sweet young man who’d once promised to love me for all time had turned into a sleazy salesman, but that’s life, I guess. I never heard from him again.

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Oh, Jeez, I’m Like A Crackpot Magnet!

, , , , , | Romantic | May 1, 2020

Apparently, I have been engaged twice and didn’t even know it. One incident involves an ex-boyfriend. A coworker and I are play-arguing and my ex comes up, wraps an arm around me, and tells my coworker, “Hey! Be nice to my fiancé!” The coworker sees my eyes bug out. After my shift:

Me: “Um, [Ex], you do know that we’re not engaged, right?”

Ex: “Yeah, well, you know, you never know.”

Me: “Um, no. No, I know that we’re not engaged. I don’t love you.”

Ex: “Wow, that’s kind of harsh!”

Me: “That’s why we started dating last week! To see if it would change into love!”

The other time is shortly after my ex and I break up. A regular customer comes through my line.

Me: “Wow, you must like this store! You’re in here almost every other day!”

Customer: “Yeah, well… You know.” *Grins* “Your last name is [Last Name].”

Me: “Um… yeah.”

Customer: “You went to [High School].”

Me: “Uh-huh…”

Customer: “You graduated in 2006.”

Me: “You’re a stalker.”

Customer: “No! We went to high school together!”

I looked it up afterward and saw that yes, we went to school together. He asked me out and for my phone number, and I decided I would put first impressions aside.

However, within ten minutes of texting, he told me we were going to have lilies as our wedding flower and started making wedding plans. I, of course, freaked out and told him I wasn’t ready to date anyone yet. He ended with, “But you’re the one!”

Why do I always get the crazy ones?!

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Forgiveness Isn’t Everything

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 8, 2020

My friend, [Friend #1], has an ex whom she still talks to. I’ve been fairly straightforward about saying that I will not be friendly to him, which has annoyed the friend and other people in our social circle, who push me to make nice. Things come to a head one day with another friend, [Friend #2].

Friend #2: “I don’t get why you can’t just let bygones be bygones. She’s forgiven him; you should, too.”

Me: “When they were together, he tried to get her pregnant without her consent and threatened to kill himself if she left him. Excuse me for thinking that makes him an abuser and that she’d be better off with him completely out of her life.”

Friend #2: “I don’t see what good it does to demonize him.”

Me: “I’m not ‘demonizing’. I’m stating a fact. People who do what he did are abusive.”

Friend #2: “It’s not healthy to hold a grudge like this, you know.”

Me: “Um, not to point fingers here, but you still refuse to go to parties if that one woman from our writing workshop is going to be there.”

Friend #2: “Well, she’s a b****.”

Me: “She gave you some slightly harsh feedback that one time. Years ago.”

Friend #2: “I was really sensitive back then! I cried about it for hours!”

Me: “So, a psychologically manipulative b*****d who nearly ruined our friend’s life can be forgiven, but someone who wasn’t completely diplomatic about saying she didn’t like your poetry is beyond redemption?”

Friend #2: “I felt really strongly about that poem.”

I have since begun to distance myself from this person, and life is less stressful.

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Excuse Us Whilst We Fling Our Phones Into A River

, , , , , , | Romantic | March 6, 2020

I used to work in a car stereo shop. We had a reputation for electrical work; mechanics in the area would often refer tricky stuff to us because we were the only ones who had the equipment and knowledge to figure it out.

One day we received a call saying that they were referring a customer to us with questions about a GPS tracker.

After a short discussion, it became clear that the customer was trying to find out if a tracker had been somehow installed in her car. Apparently, her crazy ex had been stalking her all over town… just happening to appear wherever she was, even at places where he should have had no idea that she was even there.

I had never seen someone look so scared; she was pale as a ghost and her voice shook when she spoke. She was so terrified that she was literally looking over her shoulder every few seconds and speaking in whispers. 

I gave a cursory inspection at the easy spots in the parking lot. There was nothing under the wheel, nothing on the roof or under the chassis, nothing in the engine compartment, and nothing under or in the seats. There was no factory GPS, no On-Star, nothing that would track her. 

I told her that I didn’t see anything in the typical spots, but if he had somehow managed to have access to her vehicle for a good block of time, then God knows where it could be. 

I told her that I would have to do a shop charge to go deeper. For $75 an hour, we’d look anywhere and for as long as she wanted.

She paid for two hours of inspection without blinking. We took the whole dash apart, dropped the headliner, pulled a bunch of interior panels, flashlight and mirrored the chassis, and generally tore the thing apart. We couldn’t find a single wire out of place anywhere. The whole thing looked totally stock and untouched. (After a while in the industry, you can tell if you’re the first to remove a panel.)

I handed her the keys and reviewed what we did and where we looked as I walked her back to her car. She looked so relieved to finally know there was nothing on her vehicle.

Then, her ex drove by our lot, staring her down. He wasn’t even subtle; he was practically hanging out the window, staring at her like a hawk stares at a fat mouse.

That was my holy-s*** moment: watching this guy blatantly cruise past our business. I’m a big guy, and he didn’t even spare me a glance.

She just burst into tears, practically diving behind me to hide. One of my coworkers came sprinting over to us and said that that vehicle had cruised past three times already, and this was his fourth pass in the two hours we had been stripping her car practically down to the paint.

I walked her back into the store. I told her that we knew it wasn’t in her car, but that I wanted to check something that might help her.

I asked to look at her phone. 

Sure enough, location services were on and had geotagged at our store on Facebook. In fact, it had geotagged everywhere she’d seen him. 

She had him blocked from all her social media in moments and turned the location services off for good measure.

We moved her vehicle out of sight from the road and called the police. We didn’t want her leaving without some proper actions taken, or without a police vehicle on-site to make sure she got away without him coming by again.

From there, we helped her get a restraining order filed against him, and she was able to leave safely.

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