Let’s Dive Right Past This One, Shall We?

, , , , , | Learning | September 12, 2018

(I teach older kids who can already swim, but who want to improve their swimming. I usually have mixed groups, where the oldest are eighteen years old and the youngest eight. I also teach a brother and sister, ten and fourteen years old respectively. One day, only the boy shows up. The group has gathered for roll call.)

Boy: “[Sister] is not coming. She told me I had to say she was sick. But she’s not really sick. She is MEN-STRU-A-TING.”

(The group snickers, but the boy doesn’t understand why.)

Me: “Yeah, that’s understandable, and completely normal. Also, [Boy], I don’t think your sister would have wanted the whole group to know that.”

Boy: “Why not?”

Making Your Toes Curl Too

, , , , | Right | September 11, 2018

(I have long, curly hair. I am shopping in a beauty supply store where they are currently having a special on blow-outs and flat irons.)

Sales Associate: “Hi! Welcome to [Store]. Would you like a free demo of these ceramic flat irons?”

Me: “Thanks, but no. It would ruin my curls.”

Sales Associate: “Okay. Just so you know, we’re having a special—”

Random Customer: “HEY! You NEED this flat iron.” *grabs flat iron from associate and reaches towards my hair*

Me: *backing up* “Do NOT touch my hair.”

Random Customer: “But it’s so curly! And this is a flat iron!”

Sales Associate: “It’s okay, ma’am.” *tries to get flat iron from customer*

Random Customer: “But she’s got so many curls!”

Sales Associate: “I think she likes them.” *manages to get the cord to the flat iron but the customer is still holding onto it*

Random Customer: “No one likes curls! Let me just…” *grabs at my hair again*

Me: “If you touch me, it will be assault. Do not push your luck. Get away from me.”

Sales Associate: “Ma’am, I’m going to need that back.”

Random Customer: “But she has CURLS!”

(The sales associate managed to get the flat iron away from the customer but she insisted on following me around the store, yelling that I had curls and I needed to get rid of them. As I approached the register with my purchases, she had changed tactics to yelling that I was accusing her of assault just for trying to “fix” my hair. At that point the manager finally stepped in.)

Caning Is Coming Back As A Disciplinary Tool

, , , , , , | Related | September 11, 2018

(I grew up across the street from a family of seven kids; I was best friends with their youngest. Their second oldest was born with cerebral palsy. Although the doctors at the time urged his parents to institutionalize him, they ignored them and treated him like all the other kids. He had a severe speech impediment, and had to walk with a cane, but his brain was fine, and he was just one of the gang. He was never allowed to use his disability to get away with anything. One day, I am over playing with my friend, and her brother is sitting in the living room watching TV. As we go back and forth through the house, he tries to trip us with his cane, every. Single. Time. Finally, after about the sixth time, his sister grabs his cane and puts it in his bedroom two rooms away, and we bolt. He has to make his way very, very slowly down the hall to his room, holding onto the wall the whole way. On the way, he passes his mom, who is doing dishes in the kitchen.)

Brother: “Mom! [Sister] took my cane!”

Mom: “You tried to trip her. You had it coming.”

Brother: “Can you get it for me?”

Mom: “Nope. Leave your sister alone next time.”

(She went back to her dishes, and brother continued his trek. He grumbled, but he never did torment us that way again. I found that whole family the world’s best model for how to interact with folks with varying abilities: treat ’em like everyone else!)

They Are Disabling Themselves With Their Ignorance

, , , , , , , | Friendly | September 11, 2018

(I’m out with a friend and his daughter, who, thanks to complications and sheer medical bad luck, is just now learning to properly speak at the age of seven. Despite this, my friend loves her to the point of giving her anything she wants. We’re shopping, and I’m tagging along to help out, both of us having her read boxes and signs.)

Friend: “All right, [Daughter], what’s that?” *points to a bag of cat food I’m lifting*

Daughter: “Kitty! Kitty!” *jumps up and down*

Friend: “Good! It’s food for the kitty. Kitties have to eat, too.”

Daughter: “Kitty!”

Me: *to a passing woman* “Hello.”

Woman: “Why is it out here?”

Me: “What?” *puts down cat food*

Woman: “The [disabled slur]! It needs to be put up!”

(My friend’s head snaps up so quickly and I see a certain hate in his eyes that scares me.)

Friend: “Listen here—”

Woman: “Why don’t you let your poor wife deal with it? Lord knows she’s probably brain dead if she wanted to keep it.”

(I grab my friend’s daughter and immediately take her with me as I get a manager in hope they can diffuse the situation while keeping [Daughter] away from it. I return with the manager to find that the woman is near tears and my friend is red in the face from anger.)

Me: “Uh… Should I take [Daughter] away again?”

Friend: “No. We’re leaving.”

(He walks out quickly and I hesitate before following.)

Daughter: “Dada! Lady sad.”

Friend: “I know.”

Daughter: “Why, Dada?”

Friend: “I got onto her like [My Name] does when his sister is being mean. The lady was very mean and said some bad stuff. So I got onto her.”

Me: “What did you say to her?”

Friend: “Don’t worry about it. She won’t be insulting innocent children anymore, though.”

(I was both terrified and respectful of my friend after that. The look in his eyes when the woman called [Daughter] a hurtful slur for a disabled person was enough to make me know that [Friend] is not to be messed with.)

You Can’t Copy And Paste Decency

, , , , , , | Right | September 10, 2018

(I’m working in a supermarket deli near closing time when an older looking woman comes up to the counter. I’m alone except for a night manager and a few people at the cash registers and they’re all up towards the front of the store. We also have a pharmacist, but they closed hours before.)

Me: “What can I do for you?”

Customer: “I was wondering if you have a copy machine?”

Me: “We do. Why?”

(The machine is in the break-room and in all my years working there no one has ever asked me to use it.)

Customer: “I was wondering if you could scan and copy these documents for me. I want to keep them in my personal record but I don’t have a copy machine.”

(She hands me a couple small pieces of paper. I realize they look like medical prescriptions. I hand them back and tell her I can’t.)

Customer: “All I wanted was some copies! Why can’t anyone be decent anymore?!”

(She left and I told my store manager. Apparently she had come in a few times during the day and asked random associates to do so for her.)

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