Mystery Meat Burgers!

, , , , , | Working | October 24, 2017

(I have a red meat intolerance, and because of this, I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life. I work at a store that also has a food court. All the food is cooked on site. While I normally work hard lines, which is anything that isn’t clothing, every once in a while they have me work the food court to cover a break. This isn’t usually an issue, as breaks are 15 minutes and I normally didn’t get any customers, but one day someone calls in sick and they decide to put me in the food court all day by myself. These are two of my interactions with customers that day.)

Customer #1: “Hi, can I have a ham sandwich?”

Me: *after looking in the fridge and finding two bags of unlabeled meat* “So… I have a pinkish-white meat and an off-white, grey meat. Which one do you think is the ham?”

(And the second interaction…)

Customer #2: “Can I get a hamburger?”

Me: “I will try my best.”

(I put the meat on the grill and watch it intently.)

Customer #2: “Is everything all right?”

Me: “Well, to be honest, this is the first hamburger I’ve ever cooked, and I’ve never had one before. So, this could be interesting. I’m aiming for better than [National Hamburger Chain] but not as good as [Local Hamburger Chain].”

(After I’m done, I hand it over and [Customer #2] makes a big show of inspecting it and then cuts it in half to look at the center. Finally, they take a bite and slowly chew, looking thoughtful.)

Customer #2: “Well, I would say this is equivalent to [slightly nicer National Hamburger Chain], so I think you hit your mark.”

(At the end of the day, as I’m clocking out and talking to a coworker:)

Coworker: “So, how did it go?”

Me: “I’m fairly sure I didn’t poison anyone. I was also able to figure out how to make a [Local Hamburger Chain] grilled cheese sandwich, animal style, so I will call it a win.”

(My manager also thought it was a win, because I ended up there as my regular position after that. On the plus side, I learned to tell turkey apart from ham.)

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A Different Spin On Sex Education

, , , , | Learning | October 24, 2017

(I’m in seventh grade, and I have just gotten my first ever health textbook. I start flipping through it and land upon a page about sex.)

Textbook: “Sexual feelings are completely normal and okay. Try talking to a parent, guardian, teacher, coach, or counselor about these feelings. They might be able to offer some useful tips!”

(I start wheezing from trying to hold in my laughter, and motion towards my friend to get her to look at it. She looks at it, looks at me and says, “Are they serious?”)

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Making Some Piercing Assumptions

, , , | Healthy | October 23, 2017

(My mother and I are out for lunch on my twentieth birthday. I’ve been wanting to get my navel pierced for a while, so when we pass a tattoo and piercing parlor I go in to check it out. It’s very clean and on the up and up, so Mom offers to pay for the piercing right then and there, and we get it done. Around this same time, I have to go in for an MRI on my right knee to see why it’s hurting so much lately. Mom and I are currently attending the same college, so I’m living at home to save money. Mom drives me to the appointment. She brings her homework and spreads it out all over the table and the surrounding seats, as there are a lot of seats and almost no people.)

Doctor: “[My Last Name]?”

Me: *jumping up* “Right here!”

(Mom begins to pack up her schoolwork.)

Me: *quickly* “Oh, no, that’s fine; you don’t need to come back! Just keep working on your project.”

Mom: *laughs* “I keep forgetting you’re an adult now.”

(I go back with the doctor and, all of a sudden, remember that I’m now pierced.)

Me: “Oh. Oh, jeeze.”

Doctor: “What?”

Me: “Well… see, I know the rules about MRIs and metal, but I just realized that I have a fresh piercing that I can’t take out yet… uh… this is going to be a problem, isn’t it?”

Doctor: “Not if we only scan your knee. May I see it?”

(I lift up my shirt to show him my piercing.)

Doctor: “Are you cleaning it?”

Me: “Twice a day with soap, water, and hydrogen peroxide.”

Doctor: *starts going through his desk* “We get a lot of kids with piercings that they don’t take care of and it can get real ugly, you know.”

Me: “Oh, I know. I got my ears done when I was six. And eight.”

(The doctor gives me a handful of individually wrapped sanitary wipes.)

Doctor: “Here, you can use these to keep the area clean.” *pause* “So, does your mother know about the piercing?”

Me: “What? Oh! Yes; yes, she does. She’s the one who got it for me. I only told her to stay because I didn’t want her to have to pack everything up, that’s all.”

(The doctor looks suspicious.)

Me: “Honest!”

(I change into the hospital gown and the procedure goes well. I get a little more lecturing about how to clean a piercing, and to always make sure to go to a reputable place that uses sterile equipment, before the doctor leads me out. When we’re both in the waiting room, I turn to Mom.)

Me: “Hey, Mom, tell the doctor who bought my navel piercing.”

Mom: “Um… I did?”

(The doctor laughed. Then believed me, and sent me home to await the results.)

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Can You Hear The Irony?

, , , , , , | Right | October 23, 2017

(I answer the phone at my mother’s house, and since they have old party-lines in her area from forever ago, whenever the lines get wet from rain or condensation, they sound really static-filled and have a lot of feedback.)

Me: “Hello?”

Lady: *mumble mumble mumble*

Me: “Sorry, I can’t hear you. Can you speak louder?”

Lady: *slightly louder mumble mumble mumble*

Me: “You might have to yell; I really can’t hear you, sorry!”

Lady: “I’M CALLING FROM [TOWN] HEARING CLINIC TO ASK WHEN YOU LAST HAD YOUR HEARING CHECKED?!”

Me: “Never; my hearing is fine, thanks!”

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Saved By Play Time

, , , , , | Hopeless | October 22, 2017

(I am shopping in a department store with my five-year-old daughter. It has been a long, stressful day at work, and I have been on edge since picking her up from school. I just want to get my things and get home as soon as possible. I very quickly realize that my daughter is no longer beside me, and I go into Panic-Mom Mode. I call her name and rush around the aisles, until, finally, I see her sitting down on the floor next to a similar-aged boy, talking and playing. She looks up and me and beams a smile.)

Me: “[Daughter], what did I tell you about walking away from Mommy?!”

Daughter: “Mommy, this is [Boy]. He’s five, too!”

Me: “That’s nice, [Daughter], but remember, we don’t have time to play today.”

Daughter: “Okay. Bye, [Boy]!”

Boy: *big flashing smile* “Byyyyye!”

(I take my daughter’s hand and quickly finish up my shopping list.)

Daughter: “Can we get something for [Boy]?”

Me: “No, [Daughter]. We’re just here for a few quick things, remember?”

Daughter: “I know, but he doesn’t have anyone or anything to play with.”

Me: “His mom will take him home soon, so he won’t be bored for too long.”

Daughter: “No, she won’t.”

(This makes me stop, and I realize for the first time, to my shame, that the boy was all alone.)

Me: “What do you mean?”

Daughter: “His mom told him to wait for her, but she’s been gone for aaaaaages.”

(Knowing I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t go back and check, I find the boy in the exact same space that I left him.)

Me: “Hello, [Boy].”

Boy: *big beaming smile again* “Hiiiii!”

Me: “Where’s your mommy?”

Boy: *smile drops* “I don’t know. She went to look at clothes.”

Me: “How long ago did she go to look at clothes?”

Boy: “A while.”

(Knowing he probably didn’t have a good grasp of timing, I don’t know how to gauge this, but I pursue anyway.)

Me: “Do you know what time it was?”

Boy: “Since school.”

(That is a long time, but it wouldn’t be the first time a parent has left a child alone to play in a store for over an hour. I sit with the boy for another ten minutes while he plays a rhyming game with my daughter. I flag down a passing member of staff and let them know this boy has been left alone for almost an hour and a half.)

Employee: “Actually, yes, I do remember them coming in. That was closer to two hours ago.” *suddenly looking shameful* “Let’s bring him up to the customer service desk, and I’ll make an announcement through the store PA.”

(We do just that. The boy says he was told not to go anywhere with strangers, but my daughter takes his hand and convinces him that they’re now friends, so it is okay. The employee makes an announcement to the store, letting the mother know that [Boy] is at the customer service desk, and asking her to please make her way there immediately. After ten minutes, and no appearance of the mother, the employee makes a repeat announcement. Ten minutes after this…)

Me: “What happens now?”

Employee: “I’ve called my manager. They’ll call the police or social services, I guess.”

(A few minutes later, there is a scream from the other side of the floor. There is a scramble of employees to the area. An employee comes back over to me and speaks quietly to me so that the boy doesn’t hear.)

Employee: “We found a woman collapsed in one of the changing rooms. We think it might be his mom.”

(Very quickly, paramedics are on the scene, but I am focusing on keeping the boy occupied, playing with my daughter. He’s not stupid though, and he’s realizing that something is up. Almost three hours after I first met the boy, a woman walks over to us with a concerned look on her face. The manager has told her who I am and how I’ve been looking after the boy. She introduces herself as being from social services.)

Social Services Worker: “We found his mother collapsed in the changing room. The paramedics are about to take her to hospital, and I will be going there, too, with her son.”

(She then explains to the boy what has happened, in an age-appropriate manner. The boy is very upset, and holds my hand through the whole conversation. When the social services worker tries to encourage the boy to go to the hospital, he squeezes my hand even tighter and gives me a desperate look.)

Me: *to the social services worker* “Would I be able to come with [Boy]””

(The woman looks at me, then at the boy, assesses the situation, and smiles.)

Social Services Worker: “Of course. I will need to be present at all times, of course.”

(We all drove to the hospital together, and my daughter kept the boy occupied with some simple back-seat car games. We ended up spending the evening in the hospital, and the boy’s mother made a full recovery. She had been running a fever and collapsed from an infection. Our kids are now good friends and have grown up to become teenage “besties,” all thanks to my daughter’s playful spirit, and a well-behaved boy who wouldn’t stop waiting for his mom.)

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