School Can’t Prepare You For This Kind Of Life

, , , , | Learning | August 28, 2019

(I work at an elementary school. I am talking to one of my students at recess and the conversation turns to the local hockey team.)

Student: “My grandma’s boyfriend used to play for [Local Hockey Team].” 

Me: “Really? That’s so cool!”

Student: “Yeah, except now he plays for [Different Team]. Well, he’s not really her boyfriend. They’re dating, but they’re not official. They’re waiting until he leaves his wife. He doesn’t want to divorce her yet because they have two daughters and he wants to wait until they’re eighteen. If he breaks up with her now then she’ll go crazy and blame it on him. So they’re not official yet.”

Me: “Um… That’s nice.”

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My Little Baby Starfox

, , , , , , | Related | August 3, 2019

(My sister recently had a baby girl. The baby has been trying to roll over from stomach to her back for the past week but hasn’t been successful. During a family get-together, she is laying on a blanket in front of everyone and obviously starts trying to do it again. She’s at the tipping point and looks like she’s about to fall back onto her stomach again…)

Me: “[Baby]! Do a barrel roll!”

(Surprisingly, she managed to complete the roll and ended up on her back. She started waving her arms and legs happily as we all broke out laughing. Now she’ll roll over every time we tell her, “Do a barrel roll!”)

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Drugs Are Bad, Mmmkay?

, , , , , | Related | August 2, 2019

(I’m a teenager at a party attended by several families, all friends or acquaintances of my own family. I wander through the house with my best friend, also a teenager, as we talk about random stuff. I mention to her that I had a headache that morning until I took ibuprofen. A little while later, I’m sitting on the living room couch when four of the adults walk into the room together and sit down near me. They seem very solemn, and they’re all looking at me.)

Me: “Um… hi?”

Adult #1: “You know drugs are bad, right?”

Me: *confused* “Yes?”

Adult #1: “You know to stay away from them.”

Me: “Yes? What’s with the intervention?”

Adult #1: “You know you’re not supposed to take them.”

(I’m confused and a little hurt that they think I need a lecture. These people, who I’ve always respected and been friendly to, have never spoken so condescendingly to me before. I’ve known them for years. I’ve never had disciplinary problems or drug problems. I’ve even babysat some of their kids.)

Me: “Yep. Sure do. I mean, I do take [ADD pills] on the days I have classes. But I didn’t take one of those today since it’s Saturday and all. And this morning, I took ibuprofen because I had a headache. And then I stopped. Because the headache went away. And then, I didn’t need to take them anymore. Because I’m not an idiot. I’m also not addicted to drugs. And I don’t plan to be. Ever. I really don’t know why you would think I’d ever do that.”

(The group is silent. They seem to be digesting my words and don’t seem to know where to go next.)

Me: *stands up* “I’m going to go get some food. You guys want anything?”

(They said no, and I escaped to the kitchen. The whole encounter was very strange, but it was never brought up again.)

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Swipe Left On Family

, , , , , , | Right | July 24, 2019

Some grandparents wanted to celebrate their 60th wedding day and they invited their children and grandchildren to our restaurant for a family dinner. They made the reservations well ahead and all in all, there would be thirty persons attending the dinner.

We could see that the grandparents really were excited and looking forward to a nice dinner with their loved ones.

On the night of the event, everyone showed up as expected. Everyone sat down and was talking to each other in friendly conversation while I took their orders.

Sadly, that didn’t last long. 

Not even ten minutes had passed and everyone was busy on their phone. I looked at the grandparents and they motioned me to come over. They were visibly upset and asked me if they could cancel all the orders.

I told our boss what happened and if it was possible to cancel the orders. My boss looked at the table. The grandparents sat there surrounded by the family who were all texting and swiping on their phones. “Sure,” he said. “Cancel all orders. But prepare a table for two.”

He went to the table, had a word with the grandparents, and escorted them to another part of our restaurant where they would have a private dinner. Nobody of the entire party noticed what was happening. 

After having the couple seated, my boss returned to the group and made an announcement:

“I’m sorry to have to tell you that your grandparents cancelled the dinner. They wanted me to tell you this: they expected to have a nice evening with their family in a restaurant. Instead, they ended up with strangers acting like smartphone-zombies. They are not going to buy food for strangers, so they have left this table to have a meal on their own.”

The guests looked very embarrassed and left in a hurry. We tried to make this evening a bit better for the grandparents by treating them like royalty, and my boss didn’t want them to pay for their dinner. But it was still sad that this whole group of people was more interested in their phones than in their grandparents. 

My boss had placed signs in the restaurant asking people to act like it’s 1950 when there were no smartphones. But a lot of people felt offended by them. He even inquired for a phone-jammer, but it seems that these are illegal to have or to use.

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Having A Generational Blond Moment

, , , , | Right | July 19, 2019

(My friend often touches up and edits photos from customers — in other words, Photoshop. One day a customer comes in looking upset.)

Customer: “Can you please restore my photo? I don’t know why my granddad’s hair is faded white. I need you to put black on it. He’s so young!”

(My friend takes a look at the photo. It’s a gritty black-and-white photo of a young man and woman. The man is Caucasian while the woman is East Asian. They look like a couple from their demeanor.)

Customer: “Please! It’s my only picture of my granddad. Read the back. And this is the first time I’ve ever laid eyes on him.”

Friend: “Ma’am… your granddad is Caucasian. He has blond hair. That’s why it looks ‘faded white.’”

Customer: “What? I’m Korean! How is that possible?”

Friend: “…”

Customer: “…”

Friend: “Well. All I can say is that this man in the photo has blond hair. There is nothing wrong with this photo.”

Customer: “I’m white? Really?”

Friend: “You’re mixed race.”

Customer: “…”

(The customer left with her mouth open.)

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