Your Impatience Has Hit The Roof

, , , , | Working | May 28, 2018

When I was fourteen we had a fire late at night that destroyed the roof and attic of our house. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, because our neighbours saw the fire and alerted the fire brigade. We found out that the fire was caused by lightning striking the overhead power line. The city was in the process of taking down the lines and putting them underground. Our house still had the overhead line, but they had already cut the grounding.

Since it was their fault, they were responsible for putting up a new roof. They had almost finished it one Friday but left the roof ridge open the entire length of the house. My mom asked them about rain, but they said that due to the slant of the roof it wouldn’t rain inside. Also, the forecast was good and they were finishing the roof on Monday.

Lo and behold, on Sunday one of the worst summer storms of the year happened. We were in church and came home to rain pouring down the open roof. We didn’t have enough containers, so we got all our woollen rugs and spread them under the opening to catch the water and prevent it from soaking through to our bedrooms. My mom and I spent two hours wringing woolen rugs into tubs and my twelve-year-old brother tried to carry them downstairs and outside to empty them. We called the guy in charge and he told us not to bother him because the rain had seeped into his basement and he was busy.

They did repair all the water damage, but a little help during the crisis would have been appreciated.

Silence, Oppressor!

, , , , , | | Working | May 23, 2018

I am black, living in Germany as the daughter of a mixed couple. My dad is the one with black skin, and my mum is German. I look more black than mixed, as I took more to my dad’s side of genes, I guess.

I have been asked where I am from on countless occasions, and in varying levels of rudeness. I grew up in Germany. German is my mother language. I speak English rather well because my mom is an English teacher.

Don’t get me wrong; there are tons and tons of wonderful people around me, and in my hometown it rarely happens anymore. But when I am travelling, I just get so many looks and questions in tones that grate on my peace of mind.

One day, a cashier at a store speaks to me like I am mentally disabled — slowly and in easy words, complimenting them with gestures and miming stuff out — despite me speaking German without an accent.

In the end she seriously asks, in the sweetest tone, “Where are you from in Africa? Are you here looking for a German boyfriend?”

I just look her dead in the eye and say, “I’m the queen of Wakanda, here to steal your men to make them my slaves, so you’d better get ready.“

Trash-Talking Your Ex

, , , , , | | Related | May 23, 2018

My parents recently divorced and my mom moved out as a consequence. Both of my parents were pretty down about it and relatively hostile towards each other, which put a lot of strain on me and my siblings.

One day my mom was visiting us children, eating a small snack with us at the table, while my dad was sitting on the sofa a few metres away. I went to the calendar hung on the wall to check for an appointment and realised that my dad had reassigned the row showing my mom’s appointments to instead show when each kind of trash was emptied by the city; however, the top row with her name was written in non-erasable pen.

That seemed like such a typical thing that a divorced couple would do out of spite that I broke down laughing hard, because my dad absolutely didn’t intend it to be malicious; he put it there simply because my mom used to take care of the trash and there was space. Of course my mom came to look at what was so funny and broke down laughing, too.

When my dad walked over, too, she joked about how insulted she was about being used as a trash reminder and he joked back that she deserved it. Consequently, my whole family spent a quarter hour laughing and wheezing on the floor. I think that moment saved our relationship as a family; that day was the first time they had talked with each other in person, not over text or asking us to relay messages. In the following days and weeks they started handling each other with a lot less tension and apologized for putting us between them. I’m very glad for that silly little coincidence.

Sued To Satisfaction

, , , | | Right | May 22, 2018

(I’m next in line at the cash register when a middle-aged woman shoves me out the way.)

Woman: “Last week that dress was only 80€. Now I come back today and it’s 110€.”

Cashier: *to me* “I’m sorry.” *to the woman* “Yes, we had a promotion last week for that brand but it has already ended.”

Woman: “NO! This is false advertising! Give it to me for 80€!”

Cashier: “The promotion has ended. That has nothing to do with false advertising.”

Woman: “GIVE IT TO ME FOR 80€ OR I’LL SUE THE H*** OUT OF YOU!”

Cashier: “I’m just going to call a manager. One second, please.”

(The annoying woman now looks incredibly smug as she apparently — as do I — expects them to cave in. After a minute a manager comes over and the cashier relays the story to him.)

Manager: “I see.” *fumbles around his pockets and hands the woman a piece of paper* “That’s the card of our lawyer. As you threatened to sue us, our employees are, as per policy, no longer allowed to talk to you. For further communications please contact the number on the card. Thank you and have a nice day.”

(The manager walks away and the cashier motions to me to step forward and starts scanning my purchase.)

Cashier: *ignoring the woman* “Do you have a loyalty card?”

Woman: “You can’t be serious. I’d still would’ve bought it!”

Me: *also ignoring her, to cashier* “No, thank you.”

Cashier: “Do you need a bag for 5¢?”

Woman: “Don’t you know how much I buy here?! Sell it to me for 110€ or I’ll take my business elsewhere!”

Me: *grinning uncontrollably, to cashier* “No, but thank you.”

Cashier: “All right. Have a nice day.”

Woman: “WHY IS EVERYONE IGNORING ME?! HELLO? I WANT THAT DRESS NOW!”

Me: “Thank you, I’m having a great day already.”

(Best. Policy. Ever.)

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Nice Customers Are Like Lightning Strikes

, , , | | Right | May 18, 2018

(We are in the bus bringing us to our plane when the sky suddenly turns dark and a thunderstorm appears out of nowhere. Forty-five minutes later, all flights are grounded, and I’m first in line waiting at the door to exit the aircraft. One of the young pilots opens the cockpit door, cautiously peeks out, mutters yet another apology, and apparently estimates his chances of survival in the mostly angry mob.)

Me: *feeling pity* “Thank you for not departing in these conditions! We are lucky to be in a part of the world where severe weather is actually considered for safety.”

Pilot: “I apologize…” *surprised* “Wait, what? You are not blaming me? Wow, this is a first. Thank you!”

Me: “Sure, there are idiots, but aren’t plenty of people thankful for not having their lives risked?”

(The flight attendant at the door emphatically shakes her head.)

Pilot: “You have no idea. For the next hour I’m going to be screamed at by at least 30 of the people behind you; the rest will threateningly glare at me, as if all this was my fault alone. Thank you so much for understanding. I’ll gladly remember your reaction.”

(Our subsequent trip was shortened by a day, and we lost our luggage for four days. Still, this was preferable to finding out whether we would have been struck by lightning.)

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