Needs To Disable The Bigotry

, , , , , , | Working | September 11, 2020

I’m visiting a friend on campus, and we decide to go down to a cafeteria nearby for dinner. I expect to pay for myself, as I’m a visitor. I’m in a wheelchair, though I’m still very capable of taking care of myself. When we go through the entry line, instead of asking for payment, the cashier at the door just waves us in. My friend and I go in, giving each other confused looks.

Friend: “Huh. That’s a first.”

Me: “Maybe he thought I had a student ID out?”

Friend: “Maybe. Oh, well, free food!”

We get our food and start eating. My friend gets up to get more food, and the cashier comes over, apparently having swapped to the floor.

Cashier: “I can take your plate for you!”

He says this a little slowly, but I don’t think anything of it.

Me: “Oh, thank you!”

Cashier: “Where is your worker? She shouldn’t leave you alone here!”

Me: “My… worker?”

Cashier: “Yeah, your assistance worker!”

Me: “I don’t have one. That’s my friend.”

Cashier: “Okay, where did your friend go?”

He obviously exaggerates the word “friend,” as if mocking me.

Me: “She’s doing something somewhere else, as she’s allowed to do, as she is not in any way a caretaker for me or anybody else.”

My friend comes over and sets her plate down.

Friend: “Can I help you?”

Cashier: “Oh, good, you’re back. Your client is starting to get upset.”

Friend: *Pause* “She’s a friend. Who’s very capable of taking care of herself.”

Cashier: “They like to think that, huh?”

Friend: “I’d like to think you can grab your supervisor. Now.”

The cashier laughs and walks off. My friend then goes up to someone else wiping down a table, who does get a manager. The manager comes over.

Manager: “Can I help you?”

Me: “Yeah, one of your employees has been implying that because I’m disabled, I need a carer.”

Manager: “Well, I’m sure there’s an explanation—”

Me: “He refused to listen to me as a functional adult which, even if I did need a carer, is not appropriate. I do not need to be talked down to or told I can’t take care of myself.”

Manager: “I… I see. I’ll have a talk with him.”

I went back to visit my friend a couple of weeks later, and she had found out that the cashier had been fired. He apparently assumed that anyone with any visible disability needed or had a carer.

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Your Immunocompromised Friends And Family Are Listening

, , , , , | Related | September 11, 2020

I live in a different country from my family and we keep contact online. I call my mother to ask what my teenage sister might want for her birthday and the conversation starts going places. Keep in mind that this is in the middle of the global health crisis.

Mother: “My friend [Friend] visited recently; we went to the beach. It was fully packed! But we had a great time.”

Me: “Okay, glad to hear that you did.”

Mother: “Plane tickets are crazy cheap right now. Are you sure you won’t be coming home?”

I am annoyed at this question for several reasons. First, it’s not home anymore; I live somewhere else now. Second, I have two chronic illnesses, one of which is asthma, and the second ensures that I have a difficult time recovering from any illness, including the common cold. To put it on simply, I cannot afford to contract the disease that shall not be named.

Me: “Nope, not flying anywhere this year.”

Mother: “But why not? Are you afraid?”

Me: “Of course I am! I don’t love the idea of sitting in a packed plane for two hours while all this is going on, so I won’t be doing it. Not in the middle of a disease outbreak.”

My mother then starts “explaining” that not everyone dies of the disease in question, that it’s no worse than a common flu, and that the crisis isn’t real, ignoring official facts because she “doesn’t trust the media.”

Mother: “…anyway, only people with underlying health conditions have to worry about it. All of us can go about our lives as usual.”

Did I mention that I have asthma?

Me: “Great for you. I have to hang up now.”

Something tells me I won’t be visiting even when the crisis is under control.

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A Moving Story Of A Stubborn Oma

, , , , , | Related | September 10, 2020

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother has had this, like, fetish with moving furniture. She literally tries to rearrange things every other day. It was mostly fine while she was living alone, although it kind of sucked because pretty much any time we went up to see her, my mom, brothers, and/or myself would have to move something.

Several years ago, she had a stroke. After realizing that she wasn’t as steady as she’d once been, she finally agreed that moving was a good idea, and we got her into an assisted living facility.

She walks with a walker now and has been told by her doctor to literally never let that thing out of her reach. It’s okay to put it to the side so it’s out of the way of her recliner, but she needs to be able to grab it as soon as she gets up.

My grandmother takes that to mean that she can leave it across the room. She also keeps trying to move her furniture because she can “use those pieces to stabilize herself.”

First of all, she’s trying to move things like her bed and bookcases — things she shouldn’t be moving on her own anyway. She’s actually fallen a few times; one time they actually needed to call EMS to come check her out because she’d hit her head and given herself a black eye.

I am on the phone with her a couple of days ago, just checking in.

Oma: “I’m trying to move my chair into the bedroom.”

Me: “You don’t need to move anything!”

Oma: “Well, it’s just that I want the chair near the window so I can look outside and I’m going to move the TV in here so I can talk to people while watching TV.”

Me: “You don’t need to move anything. You can use your walker for a seat, and isn’t your bed near the window?”

Oma: “Well, yeah, but I still want to move it.”

Me: “Move a book. You can shift it from the bookcase to your table near the window. You don’t need to move your recliner.”

Oma: “Well, it would make it easier to see outside.”

Me: “Do I need to call Mom and have her talk to you?”

Oma: “No, I’ve already talked to her. And to [Aunt].”

Me: “And what did they say?”

Oma: “I don’t need to move anything.”

Me: “They’re right; you don’t need to move anything. You’re fine.”

Oma: “Well, I’ve got one of the guys coming tomorrow to help me move my sewing table and that’s the last thing I’m moving.”

I roll my eyes because it’s been “the last time” every time we’ve called her on this.

Me: “Whatever you say.”

Oma: “And my doctor did say that it wouldn’t hurt me to walk from the window to my chair and back.”

Me: “Just as long as you use your walker.”

Oma: “Well, I hear them coming down the hall, so it’s lunchtime. I’ll talk to you later.”

Me: “Enjoy.”

Oma: “Talk to you later!”

Me: “Bye. Love you!”

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Killer Pizza From Planet Jerk

, , , , , , | Working | September 8, 2020

I’m the author of the story “Definition Of Love: Sacrificing Pizza For Your Child“. Not too long ago, my mom came to visit for the day and we stopped at a pizza place in the mall food court I’d NEVER had problems with before. Of course, this is the one time things go wrong.

Me: “Can I get two slices of cheese pizza and a drink, please? And could you use a clean spatula? I have an unusual allergy and don’t want any chance of cross-contamination.”

To my horror, and embarrassment considering how I’ve just been praising them to my mother, I watch the man use one of the pizza spatulas to pick up some pepperoni that starts to slide off a pizza, put it back on the pizza, and then use that same spatula to start getting my slices.

Me: “No, no! A clean spatula! Can we replace that slice and use a clean spatula? I’m allergic to pepperoni.”

Pizza Man: “It’s the vegetarian spatula, no meat!”

Me: *With an increasing level of panic* “I just watched you. Please just swap out the slice and use a clean spatula!”

The pizza man speaks more pointedly, rolling his eyes slightly and talking as if I were a child.

Pizza Man: “It’s the vegetarian spatula; we don’t use it with meat.”

A man in line after us chimes in that he watched, too, and is in the process of telling him to just replace it when my mother speaks up in her “You just screwed up BIG TIME” voice, causing a few people at a nearby table to look.

Mom: “Get the manager, NOW.”

A manager was fetched from the back, and once we told him what had happened, my food was replaced, and he handled it himself with a fresh spatula with a lot of apologies and a discount. I now keep a photo on my phone from when I had my childhood reaction, just in case I need to show pizza place staff that, YES, I do, in fact, have an allergy. I also did the survey on the receipt and told the story there. Apparently, that and the complaint to the manager helped, since the rude man wasn’t there the next time I stopped by.

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The Incredible Squeaking Dad

, , , , , | Related | September 7, 2020

There’s no way to say this without sounding like a sadist, so I’m just gonna say it: it is REALLY FUNNY to cause my dad pain. I’m not talking serious injury here — that’s never funny — but rather small things like poking, pinching, or pulling out splinters. That sort.

When you do that to my dad he will immediately jump, shriek, and then — if it’s one of us kids — scream in near falsetto things like, “Don’t do that!” or, “Stop that!” or, “I don’t LIKE that!” while ineffectively flailing and trying to hit his aggressor.

For years, our whole family laughs at him whenever this happens, which just makes him angrier and his voice goes even higher, which makes us laugh harder. He also seems to be convinced that we are the only people on Earth who find his “genuine throes of distress” hilarious.

Then, one day, he calls me out of the blue.

Dad: “Okay. I admit it.”

Me: “Admit what?”

Dad: “It’s pretty funny how I react to pain.”

Me: “It is. What brought this on?”

Dad: “I just got back from physical therapy. They gave me a massage and I would yell every time they poked me where it hurts. By the time they were done, both the therapist and nurse were laughing. And apparently, the rooms aren’t very soundproof, because when I went out to the waiting room, everyone out there was giggling, too.”

Me: “That’s amazing.”

Dad: “Yeah, so I guess it is pretty funny. I still don’t like it when you poke me, though!”

Me: “Completely understandable! Love you, bye!”

Yes, I do bring this up every time he’s complained that I’m being a sadist ever since.

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