Shelter Me From Sheltered People’s Decisions

, , , , , | Friendly | January 25, 2019

(My husband and I are having lunch with his elderly parents and their friend at a small, family-owned Chinese restaurant. This restaurant is noted for using reusable chopsticks — more on that later in the story. The purpose of the lunch is for me to help their friend get her cable bill lowered. I have worked various call center and debt collection jobs over the years, so I am very good at negotiating with these companies. Although this friend is in her 60s, she has been very sheltered her entire life and doesn’t understand much about the world. Her husband also left her a very significant sum of money when he died.)

Me: *to friend* “All you have to do is tell the cable company that you are an elderly widow on a fixed income and that you are having a little bit of trouble paying the bill.”

Parents’ Friend: “But that is a lie! My mama always taught me that you tell the truth at all times!”

Me: “It’s not a lie: you are an elderly widow who is on a fixed income.”

Parents’ Friend: “But a white lie is still a lie!”

(The restaurant owner has brought out our food. My husband and I both ask for chopsticks because we spent a lot of time in Asia while he was in the military and we both love chopsticks. Much to our surprise, the in-law’s friend decides to ask for chopsticks.)

Me: “I didn’t know that you learned how to use chopsticks?”

Parents’ Friend: “No, I’m not going to eat with them; I want them to use as a pokey stick for a sewing project that I am working on.”

(The restaurant owner hands us the chopsticks.)

Me: “You know those are reusable…”

Parents’ Friend: “But I want them!”

Me: “Uh… no. I’m not going to let you steal from a restaurant that [Husband] and I go to all the time!”

Parents’ Friend: “But my sewing book says to use a chopstick to poke out the corner of a seam!”

Me: “You still can’t take them!” *this sheltered old lady looks like she is about to cry* “Anyway, how is taking something from a small business any different than telling a borderline white lie to one of the biggest cable television providers in America?”

(My mother-in-law, who I really don’t get along with, decides to pipe in.)

Mother-In-Law: “Why can’t you let [Friend] just take the chopsticks? You know she has depression!”

Me: “Yeah, and I have Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Asperger’s Syndrome, and ADD. So, your point is? Mental illness isn’t an excuse for stealing! Plus, if she has enough money to continue paying her cable bill, she definitely has enough money to go [Major Retailer] and buy one of those sticks for $5! I will not allow her to embarrass [Husband] and me at a restaurant that we go to all the time!”

Mother-In-Law: “But she needs it for sewing!”

Me: “And that matters why?”

(My mother-in-law then looked like she was about to cuss me out and stood up. I stood up also. My father-in-law decided to ask for the check and ushered his wife and their friend out of the restaurant. When my husband and I got out to the car, we both said that his parents’ friend shouldn’t be living independently because her decision-making is so poor.)

Jerk Your Chain

, , , , | Friendly | January 24, 2019

I have a friend who is elderly, disabled, and quite overweight. He mentioned that he is “always losing his glasses” at home — he rarely goes out. In his situation, even walking ten steps or so is big deal, so going to the bedroom from the kitchen, for example, just to fetch the glasses is a big deal.

I am a girl on a tight budget, but I find $7.00 to purchase him a chain for his glasses so they can hang around his neck. This way he can keep track of them until he needs them again.

All is well and good for two weeks. Then, while a few of us are over at his place, he offers the chain to a lady. Now, I have zero romantic interest in the guy, and I think he was trying to impress, the lady. But still!

As I realized what he was doing — re-gifting my gift to him before my very eyes — I gasped quite loudly. He informed me that “once a gift is given, the receiver can do with it as he pleases.”

Okay, then. Next time you ask me to run all over your house to look for your glasses, guess who will:

  1. not hear you,
  2. be in the middle of something “important,” and,
  3. remind you that you once had a lovely chain to help you keep track of your glasses?

Am I the jerk? Or is he?

The DC Movies Are Making Some Weird Creative Decisions

, , | Friendly | January 18, 2019

(I’ve been a student of urban legends since I was very young, and I’ve heard thousands of them. This sometimes leads to conversations like this.)

Friend: “So, there was this minister, right? And one day the neighbors hear his wife calling for help. And they find her in the bedroom all tied up—“

Me: “Heard it.”

Friend: “No, this really happened.”

Me: “It’s an old story; I’ve heard it.”

Friend: *angrily* “No, it really happened in my hometown back in Canada!”

Me: “Well, I hope the guy didn’t tie up his wife during sex play and then slip and knock himself unconscious while he was dressed like Superman.”

Friend: *pause* “Batman, actually.”

That’s The Tall And The Short Of It

, , , , , | Friendly | January 13, 2019

(My 6’7”, male friend is a very intelligent engineer but is very oblivious to common sense and socially acceptable, appropriate, and expected behaviors. He asks me to go to the grocery store with him to help him get ripe produce — i.e. show him how to pick out good fruit and vegetables. We are rounding a corner to an aisle when I notice that a very short woman, maybe three and a half feet tall, is scaling the shelf and about halfway up the rack. My friend, being a southern gentleman, says, “Here! Let me help you!” and tries to grab what she is attempting to reach on the higher shelf. She snaps:)

Woman: “No! I will get it myself!”

(I watch in absolute shock and horror as he puts a hand on each side of her waist and lifts her up. She turns to look at him, slack-jawed, as she grabs the box of cereal. As he is setting her down, I profusely apologize as well as chastising him about not grabbing strange women, especially not picking them up! He immediately realizes something is amiss and sputters out:)

Friend: “But she said she wanted to get it herself!”

Me: “Then let her get it! You don’t pick random people up!”

Older Mind Readers

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 9, 2019

(I’m the twin brother of the girl from “A Graphic Train of Thought” and “Their Reactions are Identical”. My sister missed two of my favourite stories, so here they are. The first: when we have a double period last thing on a Friday, our teacher lets us get a drink between the two periods. I ask my sister if she wants something, and she asks for tea. When I come back with her drink, this happens.)

Girl: “Oh, my God. How did you know she wanted tea?”

Me: “I asked her. Why? Did you want me to get you something?”

Girl: “No, I would’ve heard. Are you guys psychic?”

Me: “You’re kidding, right?”

Friend: “He did ask her, [Girl].”

Girl: “No, I would’ve heard. Look. Aren’t twins meant to be psychic? I mean, how else would you have known how she wanted her tea?”

Sister: “Because we’ve lived together our entire lives and I haven’t changed my drink order since we were twelve?”

(The second: we’re in the same GCSE class for chemistry and our teacher is a newbie. He’s calling out the names on the register and gets to our surname.)

Teacher: “[My Name] and [Sister], are you two related?”

Sister: “Yeah, we’re twins.”

Teacher: “Oh, that’s really cool! So, who was born first?”

Me: “Me, by ten-ish minutes.”

Teacher: “Let me guess; you’re the dominant one.”

Me: “Wait. What?”

Teacher: “You know, you’re more independent.”

Sister: “What?”

Teacher: “Oh, I’m not doubting your abilities, [Sister]. It’s just that he’s older.”

(He kept on pigeonholing us for the two years we had him. He insisted on seeing my sister as “the smart one” and me as “the athletic one,” even though we got very similar grades all through the year and my sister broke a school record in the javelin. Also, when our parents saw him at parents’ evening, he told them he admired my independence and my willingness to help my sister, despite my sister being the most independent person I know and her helping me out as much as I helped her. It really annoys me that people don’t see us as two separate, unique people sometimes, but at least we get funny stories out of it.)

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