The Human Step-Counter

, , , , , | Working | March 29, 2020

(I fall off my bike on my way to get some dinner before covering an overnight shift at the front desk for my coworker on a night I don’t usually work. I bang up my knee pretty good, but I am able to walk and everything, and working at a retirement home means orphaned canes. This is about twelve hours after I fell, and my shift is over. We have calendars listing weekly events in the elevators.)

Coworker: “You didn’t change the calendars last night.”

Me: “No, I fell off my bike. Can’t walk that far. I can wait here if you want to do them now.”

Coworker: “No, I’ll get someone else to do them. Why didn’t you do them?”

Me: “Because I fell off my bike yesterday.”

Coworker: “But you can walk?”

Me: “Yeah, it’s not that bad, but it’s really limited how many steps I can take today.”

Coworker: “But you didn’t change the calendars.”

Me: “Yeah, because I can’t walk that far. My knee hurts.”

Coworker: “But you can walk home?”

Me: “Yes, because I didn’t do the calendars.”

Coworker: “Then why didn’t you do the calendars?”

Me: “Because I can only walk so far. And not fast enough to catch the elevators.”

Coworker: “Then why didn’t you come back to the desk and rest in between?”

Me: “Because that is physically more steps.”

Coworker: “No, it’s not; you rest in between.”

Me: “It’s physically more steps.”

Coworker: “Whatever. Why didn’t you stay home?”

Me: “Because I was already covering a shift and there wasn’t anybody to take it?”

Coworker: “I wouldn’t have come in if I was in pain.”

(Note: this coworker didn’t show up for her shift the day before, stranding the coworker I was covering for two extra hours and making our boss work the shift.)

Me: “Well, I have chronic pain, so it isn’t that big of a deal.”

Coworker: “Then why didn’t you do the calendars?”

Me: “Because I have a limited number of steps.”

Coworker: “Whatever. I don’t believe you anyway.”

Me: “All right, if you could only eat 2,000 calories a day, you wouldn’t spend it all on candy, right? You would eat something else? That’s what I’m doing with my steps. I have a limited number.”

Coworker: “I don’t get it.”

Me: “And I don’t think you ever will.”

(I limped out then with my cane. As it was the weekend, I had to go further to catch public transit and barely made it home as it was. I don’t think I would have made it if I’d done the calendars. I’m very glad that I don’t see her very often. Thanks for nothing, [Coworker]!)

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When Paper Towels Are Worth More Than Gold

, , , , , , | Related | March 29, 2020

Our home computer is in the kitchen/dining room area. My mom is at the computer and I am in the kitchen. I’m puttering around when I feel the need to blow my nose, so I tear off a paper towel and blow.

Nothing comes out. No snot, boogers, or mucous-like substances. Just hot air. So, now, I’m standing there with a perfectly good paper towel, wondering what to do with it, when I spot a water spill on the counter. Happy that the paper towel shall not go unused, I quickly wipe up the spill with the non-nosed side of the towel and turn to toss it.

That’s when I see my mother looking at me as though she is replaying my entire childhood in her head and wondering where exactly we went wrong with my upbringing. I explain that I’d actually failed to blow my nose, and we share a laugh, but I don’t know if she actually believed me or just thought I was covering for myself.

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Pick A Better Habit Or It’s Your Loss

, , , , , , , | Friendly | March 28, 2020

(When my nephew is little he picks his nose until it bleeds CONSTANTLY. Nothing we nor the doctor do will stop him. Even painting his nails with medicine the doctor recommends barely helps.

One year, when he is still in this stage, my parents and I take him to the Fred Hall Sportsman Show. It’s an annual California show for people who fish, hunt, hike, and generally love the outdoors.

We’re passing a booth run by an older man who sees my nephew with his finger back up his nose despite us telling him to stop. The man walks up to my nephew holding out his right hand, revealing that his index and middle finger have been amputated at the knuckle.)

Man: “Do you know how I lost these? By picking my nose.”

(My nephew instantly took his finger out of his nose and never put it back up there. He still talks about that now that he’s in his early thirties, laughing about it. Thank you, sir, for getting him to stop picking his nose. Now, we just need to find another man with amputated fingers to talk to my great-nephew. No, not my nephew’s son — his sister’s.)

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I Bet He Feels Wheely Bad

, , , , | Right | March 27, 2020

(Prior to this story, I got into an accident that caused me to break my left leg and severely bruise my right leg. I’m able to commute to work regardless, and since I work behind a desk as IT support, it usually goes fine… until a guest comes in that demands to be helped on the spot. He stands at the counter as he stares at me before he begins to talk.)

Customer: “You, with the glasses! Help me. Come on.”

Me: “Of course, sir. What can I do for you today?”

Customer: “I have a tablet that won’t connect with my work email anymore. I need to be able to access it.”

Me: “I’ll take a look at it. Could you hand me the tablet, please?” *holds out my hand*

(The customer looks me over suspiciously and I’m starting to get the feeling he doesn’t trust me. Note: he can’t see I’m in a wheelchair because I’m behind the desk.)

Customer: “No, I’d rather you come up here so you can show me.”

Me: “Oh, sir, I’m sorry, but I can’t. See, I–”

(Before I can explain that I cannot get to the desk due to my wheelchair, he interrupts and suddenly becomes irate)

Customer: “Why the f*** not?! I knew it! You were planning to look through my private information, weren’t you?!”

Me: *shocked and confused* “N-no sir, I am simply unable to come to the desk due to m–”

Customer: “Screw you! I’ve been waiting here for 20 minutes and had to walk all the way here from [Location], which is another 20-minute walk. If I can do that, you can get off your lazy a** and get to the desk!”

Me: “Sir, I am trying to explain that I cannot stand up due to my current condition.”

(I roll my wheelchair backward and show in clear view that my leg is in a cast and the other is wrapped up.)

Customer: *visibly turns a little pale* “Oh… Oh, I’m so sorry. I just… I mean…”

Me: “Sir, if I may, you probably had a long day. Let’s just take a look at the tablet and get it fixed, okay?”

Customer: “Yeah… Yeah… Thanks.”

(I fixed the problem and he got his email back. He came back the next day with a box that contained all kinds of goodies and he apologized for his behavior. That was the first time I had a customer that actually felt bad about yelling at me.)

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Do You Want Me To Not Say It Any Clearer?

, , , , , , | Working | March 27, 2020

(I’ve unfortunately inherited my dad’s severe reactions to orthodontic work. A procedure that would cause most people a day or two of mild pain will cause me a week of severe pain and residual pain for another two. Nothing seems to help and dentists don’t always take it seriously. One summer, I’m working my first two customer service jobs and I get some dental work done. I’m in my usual pain, meaning I can’t talk for more than a few seconds at a time, which is fine at [Job #1]; it’s the front desk of a gym, so it’s mostly just, “Hi, how are you?” But [Job #2] is cashiering at a restaurant, which means I spend most of my day talking. I go into [Job #2] a few hours after getting the dental work and these are the conversations that happen for the next few days:)

Me: *explains dental work, level of pain, and requests non-talking jobs*

Shift Lead: “Are you sure?”

Me: *in a slow whisper, which is all I can handle* “Absolutely. I cannot talk today and I probably won’t be able to stay on register all shift for at least three days.”

Shift Lead: “Okay…”

(They seem to be willing to accommodate, but then…)

Shift Lead: *thirty minutes later* “Hey, can you get on register?”

Me: “Umm… No? Remember it hurts to talk?”

Shift Lead: “Oh, okay. Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

Shift Lead: *two hours later* “Hey, are you feeling better? Can you get on register? [Coworker] needs to go on break.”

Me: “Can anybody else do it?”

Shift Lead: “Well…”

Me: “Okay, fine, but no more than fifteen minutes.”

(Ten minutes pass.)

Me: “Sorry, I tried but I really can’t. You’re going to have to find someone else.”

(It finally seems to get through, but then, the next day…)

Shift Lead: *in pre-shift meeting* “Okay, [My Name] you’re on register today.”

Me: *thinking* “Seriously?” *saying* “I feel just as bad as I did yesterday. I really can’t. I’m sorry.”

(The same thing repeated the next day, and on the fourth day, I finally felt like I could do half a shift on register without too much pain… Buuuuuuut, you guessed it — the same questions were repeated all day again. I was eventually fine and went back to my normal duties, but having had several customer service jobs since then, the situation seems a lot sillier than I realized it was at the time. It makes absolute sense that they need me on my regular job, but when I couldn’t do it they didn’t hold to the accommodations they agreed to or ask me to go home until I felt better, which would have saved them the cost of paying an employee that couldn’t do their job!)

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