The Worst Of Times Brings Out The Best In People

, , , , , , | Hopeless | June 15, 2018

(I live in New York. It’s the evening of September 11, 2001. I am eleven years old, in middle school. The teachers let us watch the news, but my parents are working late, and the elementary school my eight-year-old brother goes to has not let the kids see. I am at a loss to explain things to him, and really worried, myself. The phone rings. I pounce, thinking it’s my mom, but it’s a very long, unfamiliar number.)

Me: “Hello?”

(I hear a voice I haven’t heard in ages, and realize why the number on the caller ID was so long. It’s my mom’s colleague, from Germany.)

Colleague: “[My Name]? You’re okay! You know about the terrorist attack, don’t you? I’m so sorry. Let me talk to your mom, all right?”

Me: “I’m fine… I don’t know where my mom is… Still at work I guess. Dad, too. I haven’t been able to reach them. And my brother doesn’t know. They haven’t told the little kids. I don’t know what’s happening.”

(I start to cry.)

Colleague: “But you and [Brother] are okay. Don’t let him turn on the TV or radio. I’m sure your mom and dad are fine, too. The phone lines are just so packed with people calling; it takes several times to get through. You’ll be okay. Hug [Dog], all right? Don’t cry… Shh, don’t cry… Give the phone to your brother, okay? I’ll explain.”

(I get my brother and turn on the speakerphone; the colleague explains in a way a kid can understand, without scaring my brother too much.)

Colleague: “Okay, I have to go to bed, but I’ll let your mother’s other colleagues know you’re all okay. You’re home alone?”

Me: *sniffling* “Yes.”

Colleague: “Don’t cry. I’ll pass the news on.”

(From then on, I ended up fielding calls from everyone my mom knows overseas; I was prepared to tell them that yes, we were all fine, but instead, people I hadn’t seen since I was a toddler just seemed to want to comfort us, since we were alone. To top it off, I realized that by the time the calls ended, it was nearly two am German time; they stayed up, just for us.)

The Pelican Yellowhammer State

, , , , | Friendly | June 14, 2018

(I recently moved to California from New Orleans. I have made a few friends who are introducing me to someone new.)

Friend #1: “Oh, yeah, and this is [My Name].”

Me: “It’s nice to meet you!”

New Friend: “Nice to meet you, too. I like your accent, by the way.”

Me: “Oh, thank you!”

Friend #1: “She’s from Louisialabama!”

(We all laugh.)

Friend #1: “What?”

Friend #2: “Louisiana. She’s from Louisiana.”

Me: “You said, ‘Louisialabama!’”

Friend #1: “I said what?!”

(We all still laugh about this.)

Stop Being A Baby

, , , , | Friendly | June 13, 2018

(This is just after the first Twilight movie has come out on DVD. A good friend of my husband’s and mine has just gotten married.)

Friend: “Oh, so, [Friend’s Wife] is kind of obsessed with Twilight lately.”

Me: “…”

Friend: “Not like that! She loves making fun of it. She read all the books because she loves laughing at terrible books, and she really wants you guys to come over and watch the movie with us.”

My Husband: “I’m not sure I want to watch that.”

Friend: “C’mon, it’ll be fun! We’ll just make fun of it. You can come over at eight, and [Friend’s Wife] promised to have the baby fed and in bed by then, so it’s just adults like old times!”

(My husband and I agree; since the baby, we never get to see our old friend. The day rolls around, and we get to our friend’s house. Lights are off, and nobody answers the doorbell. We try calling his cell phone to no answer.)

Me: “I hope everything’s okay…”

My Husband: “Let’s wait until we can at least get him on the phone to make sure they’re okay.”

(Twenty minutes later, [Friend] and [Friend’s Wife] pull up in their car and pile out, laughing, holding a crying and very awake baby.)

Friend’s Wife: “Oh, hi guys! We were out to dinner with some friends, and I told them we were going to watch Twilight tonight, and we were having so much fun mocking the books we didn’t want to leave!”

Me: “Oh, okay. So the little one is probably ready for bed, then?”

Friend’s Wife: “Oh, no, she hasn’t had dinner or her bath, yet. We didn’t have time.”

(We all troop into the house and wait another half-hour at the kitchen table. Finally, [Friend] comes and ushers us into the living room with the movie and puts it in. Soon, [Friend’s Wife] follows… holding the crying baby.)

Friend’s Wife: “I still haven’t fed her yet, and then she’s off to bed!”

(Our friend’s wife then sits down in the only chair in the room… besides the one that [Friend] is sitting in. My husband and I sit on a strange bench that they have in the back of the room, since the floor looks pretty icky.)

Friend’s Wife: “Should we tell them that’s where we change the baby’s diaper?” *laughs as we jump up* “Yeah, the floor is always dirty so we can’t change her down there.”

(Not sure what to do now, we slowly sit on the floor. [Friend] and his wife in their recliners are directly in front of the television, at just enough of an angle so that we can’t look at the screen without watching [Friend’s Wife] breastfeeding — topless — a baby who does NOT want her dinner. When the movie is finally over, [Friend’s Wife] sees us to the door, baby in hand, with this parting gem:)

Friend’s Wife: “You guys were awfully quiet tonight! I just don’t understand people who are uncomfortable around babies. You need to get over it.”

(We still don’t see them much.)

Found Out Accidentally

, , , , , | Friendly | June 12, 2018

(My daughter is friends with a guy that I can’t stand. I feel that he treats her badly, often ditching her at the last minute, and I strongly suspect that he is a liar. I know better than to forbid her from being friends with him, though; all I can hope is that she’ll eventually come to realize that he is a terrible person. One day, she comes home with this story.)

Daughter: “I was out having coffee with [Friend] and [Friend’s Brother]. I got onto Facebook on my phone, and there’s a whole bunch of messages on [Friend]’s wall, saying how awful it is that his brother got into a terrible accident.”

Me: “Doesn’t he only have one brother? The one that was having coffee with you?”

Daughter: “Yup.”

Me: “So… What’s all this about a terrible accident?”

Daughter: “I asked the same thing. [Brother] just sighed and said, ‘Yeah, [Friend] didn’t want to go to a party he’d been invited to, so he told everyone that I’d been in an accident and was in the hospital.’Then [Friend] started laughing his a** off and said, ‘Pretty smart, eh? That way, I don’t have to go to the party, and everyone is sorry for me! Someone even brought food to the house to make us feel better in our time of trouble!’”

Me: *horrified* “That’s unbelievable!”

Daughter: “Yeah. I think I was supposed to think it was funny, but all I could think of was all those friends who were feeling sorry for him, not knowing that he was laughing at them.”

(Then, she starts looking thoughtful.)

Daughter: “You know… there have been plenty of times when [Friend] and I had plans, and he’s called me at the last minute to say that he’s sick, or he slept in, or he forgot that he had plans with someone else. I’m starting to think that at least some of those excuses were lies, too.”

Me: “That’s possible, yeah.”

(Not long after that, she decided to stop being friends with the guy. Hallelujah.)

Bros Before Woes

, , , , , | Friendly | June 12, 2018

(I am a bisexual female, and one of my guy friends knows this. He also isn’t exactly the brightest bulb. Right now he’s discussing the “bro code,” and how in his mind it applies to me, too, since I can develop crushes on girls.)

Friend: “So, do you like anyone right now?”

Me: “I do have a crush on [Girl], but I’m pretty sure it’s unrequited because I think she’s straight, and she’s engaged to [Girl’s Fiancé]. I’m okay with that, though, because I also want to be friends with her.”

Friend: “So, bro code says I can’t hit on her.”

Me: *wondering if he even heard half of what I said* “I don’t think bro code is the reason you shouldn’t hit on her. Remember, she has a fiancé.”

Friend: “But I can’t hit on her because you like her.”

Me: *giving in* “Fine, yes. Don’t hit on her because of bro code. It would be rude to me.”

(I don’t think he ever figured out that bro code played no factor in this situation, but on the plus side, I think he also never figured out who [Girl] was, so I doubt her fiancé ever had to worry about me apparently having more “claim” over his future wife’s potential suitors than he did.)

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