That Falls Under A Different Umbrella (Corporation)

, , , , , | Friendly | October 28, 2020

Two of my friends are talking about cinema. I don’t know much about cinema.

Friend #1: “Personally, I didn’t like Resident Evil: Extinction.

Me: “They made a film about an ecological movement?”

Friend #1: “What?”

Me: “But you weren’t talking about that? The thing with extinction.”

Friend #2: “Uh, were you thinking about the ‘extinction rebellion’ movement? The environmental movement that advocates civil disobedience?”

Me: “Oops, yes. I confused the two.”

Friend #1: “Oh, no, now I want to see this movement against zombies!”

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Time To Retire From This Call

, , , , , | Working | October 20, 2020

My mother had me at thirty-five years old. Even though she’s retiring in a few months, she’s still working her long-term job at sixty-seven years old, but is taking full advantage of her right to do it remotely. She’s one of the lucky ones, as people past their mid-fifties are notoriously under-employed.

I, meanwhile, am at an age where most people have started their own household, but doing so has ended up not being in my stars. It’s a workday and new neighbors doing construction work have driven my mother to a small room and headphones blasting relaxing music.

The phone rings and I pick it up.

Representative: “Hi, I’m from [Place that makes sure people know they can get their homes insulated for cheap due to a government program].”

That program has been one of our recurring cold-callers who come back despite various “not interested” answers, but my mother has very recently been considering getting some work done that would technically count as heat insulation, and my own work is slow so I’m more in the mood to speak with one of their representatives than usual. The discussion quickly reaches the point where I have informed the representative that she’s not actually speaking to the house’s owner and mentioned my mother’s age.

Representative: “And where’s your mother right now?”

Me: “In the house, but she’s busy with her job.”

Representative: *In disbelief* “Is your mother really busy with her job at age sixty-seven?”

In the time it took for me to process that answer, my brain also pointed out that the questions had gotten a little too personal and that hanging up was probably the best course of action. With our government both considering adding financial penalties to early retirement and expecting my generation to retire a few years later than our parents did, a sixty-seven-year-old having a job shouldn’t be treated as something difficult to believe.

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Mother Knows Best. Really.

, , , , | Related | October 20, 2020

After my third child, I don’t go back to work. Three kids with various after-school activities keep me busy enough, and it’s just so much easier to just be there for school breaks or illnesses or any unexpected event.

Apparently, this sends the wrong message to my eight-year-old son, who one day makes a remark amounting to, “Dads work; moms don’t.”

Me: “Are you saying that only men work and women don’t? That women don’t have jobs?”

Son: “Erm, yes? I mean, Dad goes to work every morning and you just stay home.”

Me: “Well, first of all, I do work at home, thank you very much. I may not get paid for it, but I do all of the cleaning, and the cooking, and the mowing, and the fixing. If I wasn’t home, we would have to do all of this work on the weekend, or we would have to pay someone to come and help us.”

Son: “Okay?”

Me: “Second of all, of course, women can have jobs. You know it. You’ve seen it. What do you think your teacher is doing at school? She’s working. This is her job.”

Son: “Oh.”

Me: “Last week, we went to the doctor and to the dentist. Didn’t you notice that they were women? What about the cashiers in the supermarket? You’ve seen plenty of women working.”

Son: “That’s true.”

Me: “Do you remember when you went to [Caregiver] after school? That was her job, too. It’s not just for fun that she took care of your sister all day. I paid her.”

Son: “That’s a job? Okay.”

Me: “And just why do you think you were going to [Caregiver]? Why wasn’t I home to take care of you? WELL, I WAS AT WORK.”

Son: “Ohhh.”

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Bad Communication, Unmasked

, , , , | Legal | October 11, 2020

Our mayor and our prefect decided to make masks compulsory in all the streets during the health crisis. The administrative court found the decree too restrictive and suspended it.

On Friday, I leave work at lunchtime with a friend because she comes to eat at my house and it is the day of the new, less restrictive decree.

Me: “Oh! Oh! We don’t need masks anymore for commuting! Our streets are no longer in the decree.”

I show the article on my phone.

Friend: “That’s good. I’m too hot; I’ll take it off!”

I decide to keep my mask on anyway.

On the way, we come across two policemen.

Policeman #1: *To my friend* “The absence of a mask is a 135-euro fine!”

Friend: “It’s no longer obligatory in this street!”

Policeman #2: “What do you mean?”

I still have my phone. I find the article and show it to him.

Policeman #1: “Yes, but you have it!”

Me: “Yes, but it’s no longer an obligation!”

Policeman #2: *Rereading the article* “And the mayor says that, even in the streets where it’s no longer compulsory, he still recommends wearing it!”

Friend: “And you’re going to fine me for not taking a simple recommendation?”

The policeman finally stopped trying to give my friend the fine.

I can understand that the police are not informed; the article was published ten minutes before this at the most, and it is possible that there are communication problems between the hierarchy and the police officers in the field, but it is better to recognize when you make a mistake, rather than justify it in any way.

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Brace(let) Yourselves For An Angry Ending, Part 2

, , , , , | Right | September 29, 2020

I’m at the front desk at my school fair where people buy tickets for activities, helping out to get service hours needed to graduate. When you buy tickets, your child/children automatically get a bracelet so they can play the Wheel of Fortune. It is one bracelet per child, and you can only play once. A boy, about ten or eleven, comes up with his newly-purchased tickets.

Boy: “I’d like a bracelet, please.”

Me: “Sure, what color would you like? We have red, blue, green, and yellow.”

Boy: “I’ll have blue, please.”

I attach his blue bracelet and he is on his way. After this, it gets incredibly busy and we are rushing to give bracelets and change. The boy returns to the counter and he looks vaguely familiar, but at this point, I’ve seen probably 150 children in thirty minutes.

Boy: “Could I have a bracelet, please?”

Me: “Have you had one already? I’m sorry, I don’t remember if I’ve seen you already.”

Boy: “No, I haven’t had one yet, but my brother did.”

Me: “All right, pick a color.”

He picks a color and I put it on him before he runs off again. I make note of his face and clothes in case he returns again. Sure enough, ten minutes later, he’s back.

Boy: “I’d like a bracelet, please.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t give you one; I remember you from earlier. In fact, I think I already gave you two.”

Boy: “No! I haven’t had one yet! Give me a bracelet!”

Me: “Could you go get your parent, please? I’d like to confirm with them; I don’t want to make any mistakes.”

He leaves again and comes back with one of his parents. It’s important to note that parents and kids can’t see the boxes of bracelets since they’re under the table with a table cloth over it, covering the front.

Parent: “What seems to be the issue? My son told me you’re refusing to give him a bracelet. They come free with the tickets, right?”

Me: “Yes, they do, but they are limited to one per child. I could be wrong, but I think I remember your child coming by once, if not twice already.”

Parent: *Now angry* “He hasn’t had his bracelet yet! How dare you accuse my child of lying?! Now give him a yellow bracelet or I’ll report you to administration!”

Me: “Sir, there are other families around, so I need you to keep your voice down. I cannot give your child another bracelet since you’ve just proved to me that he’s had one already. The bracelets are under the table so you have no way of knowing what colors we have available right now. And if I may add, next time you try to trick us, throw away the previous bracelets. I can see them sticking out of the pocket of your coat.”

He turned bright red and spluttered incoherent sounds before grabbing his child and speed-walking away. Our “manager” congratulated me for standing my ground and gave me a free drink from the concessions stand, as well as bonus service hours.

Brace(let) Yourselves For An Angry Ending

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