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Not Yet A Pro With These Pronouns

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 28, 2022

For some reason, possibly due to my ADD, I’m horrible at remembering details about people. I remember the people, the conversations we’ve had, and how I’m helping them if applicable, but a lot of what my mind considers “unimportant” gets lost quickly. Unfortunately, my mind files such trivial details as name, facial features, race, and gender in the “unimportant” category. This has resulted in my often needing to fake remembering people whose names I can’t recall to avoid others taking offense. I also volunteer with a large number of people, which makes it worse. I am always having to look back at old conversations when someone messages me just to remember which person they are.

One particular person I’d been helping for a while now and had come to consider a friend. I already knew she had dated women in the past; however, I remember being confused on several occasions about who they were dating currently. I presumed it was just my usual inability to remember details, but for reasons I couldn’t quite figure out, it seemed to happen far more often with this woman than others I volunteered with.

Finally, I had to travel out to my friend, staying with her for a few days, to help her with something important, and so I finally met her partner. They seemed nice enough, and at one point while my friend was gone, I was joking around with them and I jokingly agreed with them about something.

Me: “Aye-aye, ma’am!”

To this, they gave me a quiet, half-grumbled response, which surprised me a bit given the levity of the situation prior. Then, they almost immediately wandered off.

Partner: “Yeah, well, that’s ‘Aye-aye, sir.’”

This surprised me, since I’d been using — and had thought I heard others using — female pronouns to refer to this person for a few days now. I’m sorry to admit that I wasn’t knowledgeable enough back then to have considered they may be gender-fluid; I still thought people were either cis or trans, and neither of those concepts fit with someone who was referred to by both pronouns. More to the point, I figured that if my friend’s partner was trans, or non-cis, it surely would have come up during all the time I spent speaking to my friend by now. I would have asked her partner for details, but they didn’t seem to want to discuss their pronouns or identity anymore.

Still, they had asked me to go with “sir,” so I did my best to stick with male pronouns after that, especially once I heard others also using male pronouns for them. Given how oblivious I can be, I have no doubt I likely screwed up and used the wrong pronouns a few times, but I did my best.

Sometime the next day, my friend and I were alone.

Friend: “I noticed you started calling [Partner] ‘him’? How did that happen?”

Me: “Oh, he mentioned something offhand about preferring to be called ‘sir,’ plus [Other People that visited last night] were using ‘he,’ so I figured that’s what he wanted. Why? Did I screw up and call him something wrong?”

Friend: “Oh, no. He’s trans. It’s just that we hadn’t told you, so I was surprised you knew.”

Me: “No wonder I was so confused. I’d figured you would have said something if he was trans. Why didn’t you?”

Friend: “Well, we were kind of afraid you might refuse to keep helping us if you knew he was trans.”

Me: “I would never do that! He’s been putting up with female pronouns for the last few days just out of fear I wouldn’t support him? The poor man.”

Friend: “I’m so glad to hear you say that! He was the one that suggested we not mention he was trans, but I felt wrong calling him ‘her’ this whole time anyway. Sorry for not telling you sooner.

Me: “Oh. Oh, now I get it! No wonder I thought I was going crazy; you’ve been gaslighting me this whole time!

Friend: “What do you mean?”

Me: “You’ve been trying to refer to him as female, but I think you’ve slipped up and let out male pronouns a few times. Every time you did, I thought I must be confused about who you were dating or that you dumped them for a man or something, and you would tell me you’re still dating the same person, and I’d just think I was crazy. I figured it was my usual problem with remembering details about people, but man, I was starting to wonder why I could never keep who you were dating straight.”

Friend: “Oh, yeah, that probably was me. I’m sorry again that we didn’t trust you enough to tell you sooner.”

As it happened, my friend and the man she was dating had a mutual breakup a few months later. However, I’ve stayed in contact with my friend since, and many years later, she has recently married a genderfluid woman. As my friend’s six-year-old daughter, my goddaughter, likes to explain it:

Goddaughter: “[Mother’s Wife] is mostly a girl but is sometimes a boy. Mommy loves people like that!”

Thankfully, now my friend trusts me enough to just be honest with me about these sorts of things rather than confusing me with half-truths now.

You Have To Watch Out For People Like That

, , , , , | Learning | January 19, 2022

I am in my freshman year of college, living in the dorms. My roommate and I immediately become the best of friends. 

One day, I realize I’ve misplaced a watch that my father gave me. I’m sad as I really loved it. About a week later, it shows up on my roommate’s half of my shared desk. I’m thrilled to see it and immediately put it on. 

A few hours later, my roommate comes in from class.

Roommate: “Hey, I’d put a watch on my desk. Did you see it?”

Me: “Oh! That was my watch I’d lost. Where did you find it?”

Roommate: “Uh, no, that was my friend’s watch that she left here. I was saving it for her.”

Me: “I just lost my watch somewhere around here a week ago. I’m pretty sure this is mine. Did your friend have the same brand?”

Roommate: “You’re lying. My friend lost her watch, and I found it in the common area where we were hanging out. No way you also lost yours there.”

Me: “Um… I mean, this is the watch I lost. And I sit in the common area, too.”

Roommate: “NO! You just want it for yourself!”

She starts screaming at me. I’m completely stunned as she’s never been mean to me and I can’t understand why she thinks I’m lying. I have anxiety, as well, and I can’t help but tear up.

The commotion gets the Resident Assistant’s attention. 

RA: “What’s going on here?”

Roommate: “She stole my friend’s watch! I found it and I already told her, and [My Name] is pretending it’s hers.”

RA: *To me* “Is this true?”

Me: *In tears* “No. It’s my watch that my father gave me. It’s really important to me. I lost it and I saw it on the desk and thought [Roommate] had found it.”

Roommate: “LIAR!”

RA: “Calm down, [Roommate]. [My Name], can you prove it’s yours?”

Me: “I mean, it looks just like the one I lost here in the dorm. Haven’t either of you seen me wearing it?”

Roommate: “All I know is, my friend lost her watch and I found this one. It’s gotta be hers. [My Name] is just jealous because she doesn’t have nice things so she’s trying to steal it!”

My family has never been well-off, and I have been mocked for years for wearing secondhand clothing and not owning expensive things. I’m so hurt at this point.

RA: “Okay, that’s enough. I’m keeping the watch until this is resolved. [Roommate], have your friend send a detailed description of their lost watch. [My Name], you write down all the details you remember.”

The next day…

RA: “Okay, I’ve compared the two descriptions to the watch. They are very similar, to the point that I almost couldn’t find the difference. But one detail stood out to me that proves…”

I’m thinking, “Get to the point!” [Roommate] stares smugly at me. 

RA: “…that this is [My Name]’s watch.”

Roommate: “WHAT?! That’s not fair! She had time to study it!”

RA: “That may be true, but your friend said that her watch used Roman numerals. And this watch uses Arabic numerals…”

Roommate: “She could have misremembered!”

RA: “…and [My Name] said her watch used Arabic numerals.” *Hands me the watch* “So, here you go.”

Roommate: “THAT’S NOT FAIR!”

RA: “Enough. It’s resolved, and I don’t want to hear any more about this.”

While I have my beloved watch back, my roommate stares daggers at me. Our friendship is over. A few days later, I overhear her talking to her friend.

Roommate: *On the phone* “Oh… you found your watch?” *Nervous laugh* “That’s great!”

Still, she never forgave me. She made mean comments every chance she got. I caught her messing with my belongings several times. Eventually, she was bullying me so badly that I had to switch roommates. I was glad to be rid of her, although that incident definitely gave me trust issues for years!

And yes, I still have the watch fifteen years later.

BRB, Googling How IVF Works

, , , , , | Related | January 18, 2022

My older sister and I were conceived via IVF after years of our parents trying without success. Now that we’re adults, we’ve both moved, so she now lives several states north of me.

She called me to invite me to fly up and stay for a few days so I could be part of her New Year’s Eve party.

Me: “Thanks for the invite, but I’m going to pass. It’s just too cold up there in December for me.”

Sister: “This coming from the woman who spent the first two years of her life living in a freezer?”

Scammers Sure Hate Getting Called Out

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 30, 2021

I am part of a social group consisting of former employees from a company I used to work with. We got along well, so we kept in touch, and we will occasionally meet up for lunch or bowling or similar activities.

On this particular occasion, we were eating out, and I was seated next to a guy who I’d never really interacted much with, so we made small talk to get to know each other. I talked about my new job and hobbies, and he shared about his “big business plan”.

In short, it was basically a hybrid of a pyramid scheme and a payday loan program. Get people to sign up, make a pool of money, use that money to help pay people’s debts. The more people you get to sign up, the more money you can call on to pay your debts. He made vague mention of investing the pool and using the interest for payments, but the whole thing just came across as very scummy.

Still, I was trying to be polite and not cause a scene, so I just smiled, nodded, and tried to change the subject. Unfortunately, he kept pressing with his idea and started asking if I could help with making him an app. I tried to decline politely, saying I was busy, but he eventually dropped this gem.

Acquaintance: “You just don’t know what it’s like to be desperate. People need help, and this will provide help quickly!”

I lost control of my mouth a bit.

Me: “The fact that you are taking advantage of them being desperate makes this worse, not better.”

And there went all my effort to keep things civil. He shoved his chair out and loomed up over the table, shouting at me for being “heartless” and “unwilling to help”. Other conversations in the group ground to a halt as they turned to look, the other patrons and employees were staring, and spittle was hitting my face. I was torn between leaving and staying, but at that point, a manager came over and said that [Acquaintance] needed to calm down. He looked like he was about to take a swing at the manager, but he finally flopped back down.

One of the other members of the group came over and offered to swap places with me, which I gratefully accepted. [Acquaintance] spent the rest of the meal glaring at everyone. I felt bad but only because I couldn’t hold my tongue enough to not set off the crazy.

How Dare There Be Other Customers?!

, , , , , , , | Right | December 29, 2021

I am staying at a hotel in Atlanta. There is a café in the lobby, and I go down to get my morning coffee. The door looks like it should be a “pull” door, but someone has to help me get in because it’s actually a “push”. While I’m waiting for my coffee, I see a couple having the same problem with the door, so I let them in.

The man says something but I think he’s talking to the barista behind me, and I’m listening to Fergie at an obscene volume.

Woman: “Helloooo?”

Man: “Are you doing service inside or out?”

Me: *Removing my headphones* “Huh?”

Woman: *Huffy* “Do we order here or will they come to take our order at our table?”

Me: “Um, you order at the counter.”

They look deeply offended by my work ethic, which is weird, considering my mullet is still wet and I have a**-out shorts, a shirt that says, “YEEHAW,” across the front, and a rainbow fanny pack with a Pokémon plush attached. I clearly don’t work there.

Barista: “Iced mocha and lemon poppyseed muffin?”

Woman: “That’s not ours.”

Barista: “I know. I’m trying to get it to the person behind you.”

Me: *Trying to get to the counter* “Excuse me.”

Man: “It’s not mine.”

Me: “Excuse me.”

The couple gives me a death glare.

Me: “Um…” *Tries to scoot past again, unsuccessfully* “Can you hand me my stuff?”

No luck.

Me: “Well, okay…”

I reached between them, invading all of our personal spaces; they huffed and puffed about it.

They gave me another sour look when they walked past my table outside. I don’t know if they genuinely thought I was a lazy employee, they thought the world revolved around them, or they just had a problem with my appearance, or a mix of all three.