Hair Is Where The Heart Is

, , , , | Hopeless | March 16, 2016

(I’m traveling with my daughter to get her treatment for cancer. Since an old family friend lives in the area I have to take her for her treatments, we visit while we’re there and I meet his girlfriend for the first time. My daughter’s hair has just fallen out, and she admires the woman’s very long hair while we’re eating dinner. That weekend, the two of them stop by the hospital to visit and her very long hair is noticeably shorter.)

Daughter: *sadly* “Oh! You cut your hair!”

Friend: “Yup!”

Daughter: “If I had hair like yours, I’d never cut it.” *putting her hands on her scalp*

Friend: “Oh, really? I don’t mind it. I like doing new things with my hair, don’t you?”

Daughter: *sniffling* “Sometimes… I can’t wait for it to grow back!”

Friend: “Well, I have a surprise for you.”

(She took a wig out the box she had with her that looked like it would be about shoulder length on my daughter, and showed it to her. It turned out that a friend of hers was a wig maker, so she’d actually cut off a good deal of her own hair, and had it made into a wig. I hadn’t seen my daughter that happy since her diagnosis! She made a full recovery, and we just got a wedding invitation for those two last month!)

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Can’t Stand Any More

, , , , | Working | November 3, 2014

(I work as a security guard at a major museum. We are not allowed to sit down while on duty because it might make us look inattentive. I’ve just had a small surgical procedure, resulting in a very deep hole on the underside of my foot, and per doctor’s orders I shouldn’t stand for extended times. I have notified all three managers ahead of time that I can only take four-hour shifts this week, yet I have been scheduled for a nine-hour exhibition opening.)

Me: “Excuse me, [Manager], there must have been a mistake with the roster. I can’t cover such a long shift this week.”

Manager: “Oh,, but we really need you for that opening evening. It’s a big deal.”

Me: “I know and I’m sorry, but I really can’t do it. If I stand for that long, the wound on my foot could open up again and even get infected. Please find someone else.”

Manager: “But, [My Name], I really need you for this. You absolutely have to take that shift.” *pause* “You could go home early. Those events never take as long as scheduled.”

(This is true. However, in such a case only about half of the guards get to go home early.)

Me: *reluctantly* “Well, I guess if it’s really that important that I come in, I’ll do my best. But I need your promise that I will be the first to go home once you reduce the number of guards.”

Manager: “Of course. No problem.”

(At the evening of the opening, as I start my shift, I remind all managers and shift supervisors that because of my foot I need to be the first to go home. The hours tick by. I’m in severe pain and can feel my foot bleeding. Several of the remaining visitors ask me if I need help and even approach my supervisor to send me home, but nothing happens. Finally my shift ends. By now I can barely walk. As I go to put my name on the sign-out sheet I see that most guards have already signed out hours ago.)

Me: “Excuse me, [Manager]. What happened here? I was assured I could go home first because of my foot and now I see that lots of people left early while you left me to cover the full shift!”

Manager: “Oh, well, we can’t remember every detail of what’s going on with each individual employee. It’s your own fault for not reminding someone.”

Me: “What? I reminded all of you, more than once! I reminded you today!”

Manager: “Don’t make such a big deal out of nothing! Go home.”

Me: “Okay, I will. Before I do that, please cancel all my shifts for the rest of the week.”

Manager: “What? No, I can’t do that! We need you here.”

Me: “Thanks to your forgetting that I couldn’t stand for prolonged times the wound on my foot has opened again. I won’t be able to stand even for a short shift the coming days.”

(At this I take off my shoe and turn it upside down. Blood is dripping on the floor. Manager turns pale, then red.)

Manager: “How should I have known that you have a wound on your foot?! This is your own fault and I don’t appreciate the tone you’re taking with me! You’re just a guard and easily replaced! Do you think we actually need you here? You can leave now and I’ll cancel your shifts for this week. Others will be glad to have them!”

Me: “You know what? I’ve changed my mind.”

(At this she starts to look smug.)

Me: “Please cancel all of my scheduled shifts. I quit.”

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Desist The Tourist Assist

, , , | Right | October 6, 2014

(I’m Indonesian and I live in an area where there are lots of tourists. Being Bali itself, there are barely any traffic laws enforced and lots of tourists tend to rent out scooters and treat them like toys. I’m turning into my favorite restaurant at a T-junction with no red light and my blinkers on, and today I felt like being extra cautious since the scooter I borrowed is my friend’s. I slow down and see a tourist and her son far away in the opposite direction but as I cross from the other side of the street, I see her actually speed up in her attempt to pass me when clearly there is a hump coming up. It’s rainy season so the roads are wet and of course when she tries to brake while going 40 miles/hour the bike violently slides. I am watching the whole thing since I have already parked my motorbike. Luckily no one was badly hurt.)

Me: “Are you all right, lady?”

Tourist: “This is your fault, you stupid girl! That was an illegal turn!”

Me: “Well, no, that wasn’t illegal. This is a two-way road.”

Tourist: “You apologize and you go pay for my bike!”

Me: “No, you were going too fast on rainy day. I had my blinkers on and clearly about to turn in. I saw you and you were far away.”

Tourist: “I don’t care! I have an international license!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t mean anything, especially when you drive like that! I’m sorry this happened though. I suggest you go to the mechanics. They’ll fix up the scratches and it’s really cheap. Don’t go to the place where you rented the bike or they’ll make you pay $100.”

Tourist: “So you admit it? It’s your fault!”

Me: “I meant sorry this had to happen to you, not sorry my bad. Lady, I did nothing wrong. In fact I was actually trying to help you out!”

Tourist: “No, this is your fault! You owe me money! YOU OWE ME MONEY!”

(I look at the bike, it’s brand new but with a few scratches because of the crash. While the argument just goes back and forth, her son is clearly huddled under a tree crying and also he was wearing NO helmet while riding on the back with his mother.)

Tourist: “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT! WHY DID YOU DO THAT? YOU OWE ME MONEY OR I’LL CALL THE COPS!”

Me: “Lady, go ahead. I’m not worried. But clearly the money seems more important to you than your son who could be injured.”

(She looks at her son who is in shock. She asks him if he’s all right and takes a second to check for any bleeding and then goes back to me.)

Me: “If you’d like I can point you towards the closest hospital or clinic.”

Tourist: “NO! You owe me money! You are just a stupid girl! I’m calling the cops! Give me your address, phone number, and the money!”

Me: “Lady, I have no money! Not on me and certainly not enough in the bank and if I did I wouldn’t give any of it to you! I’ve offered to go to the mechanics with you but I’m not paying a cent for your own negligence! I’m a painter, lady! I’m broke!”

Tourist: “Well, I’m broke, too!”

Me: “Right, you’re so broke you rented a brand new bike during your vacation in Bali. Here let me call the police for you.”

(At this point I decided to call my boyfriend’s mom, a cop who is head of the district we’re in. As I’m calling I began to tear up a bit from all the frustration. I wait on the phone for a good five minutes until the tourist gave up and asked me for my number to show her a good mechanic. And after that full hour of arguing, she didn’t even feel it important enough follow through on the mechanic BECAUSE SHE WAS LATE FOR A MASSAGE!)

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A Cornell Deaf Knell

, , , , , , | Related | August 30, 2014

(I am eating lunch with my grandparents. They are in their late 80s and my grandfather is nearly deaf. He is sharing about the time he spent at Cornell University.)

Me: “I know someone who used to work at Cornell.”

Grandfather: “Really? What did he do?”

Me: “He’s a chemist.”

Grandfather: “He does table tennis!?”

Me: “No, he’s a chemist!”

Grandfather: “Okay… What does Dennis do?”

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A Rash Diagnosis

, , , | Related | March 23, 2014

(I am told a story from when my mother was 14 years old. My grandfather is a doctor, and has a quirky sense of humor. People often don’t know if he’s kidding or not. My mother has a rash. Naturally, she goes to him to see what it is and what to do about it.)

Grandfather: “Oh, my God! What is that?!”

Mother: “What? What?”

Grandfather: “Honey, I don’t know how to break this to you, but you only have six months to live.”

Mother: “What?!”

Grandfather: *laughing* “Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s a rash. I’ll give you some ointment for it. It’ll be gone in a few days.”

(My mother bursts into tears and runs from the room. You’d think he would have learned his lesson, but 20 years later, he managed to convince my sister that her heat rash was really ‘monkeypox’ and casually told her there was no cure for it. Thankfully, he doesn’t talk to his real patients that way!)

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