Take A Deep Breath

, , , , , | Related | May 10, 2020

This takes place before the recent disease outbreak hits the US shores but is still making big headlines all over the evening news, which my elderly mother watches religiously. She’s also an avid Facebook user and believes that anything on Facebook is true.

One afternoon, I help my mother open Amazon packages and put her new over-the-counter meds away. At the end, I gather all of the air-filled packing pillows that came in the box

Me: “Oh, boy! I have air pillows to pop!”

Mom: *Suddenly angry and anxious* “DO NOT POP THOSE IN HERE!”

Me: “Why? What’s wrong with popping the air pillows?”

Mom: “Don’t you know?! I saw it on Facebook! Those are manufactured in China! They’re filled with Chinese air! We could get that awful illness!”

I stand there for a moment, my brain trying to make sense of what she said.

Me: “Mom, these air pockets came from Amazon. They’re filled in the Amazon warehouse. I’ve seen them do it! So, these are filled with—” 

I look at the box code.

Me: “—Dallas air, not Chinese.”

She stares at me for a moment.

Mom: “Are you sure?”

Me: “I’m 100% sure, mom. Remember, I worked at the local warehouse a few years ago. They have a little machine that fills them on demand right there in the warehouse.”

Mom: “Oh. Okay. You can pop those, then.”

Of course, now, every time we get packages with the air packing pillows, I show them to my mom and jokingly ask, “Do you want some Chinese air?” She is NOT amused.

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You Won’t Save Soap, And You’ve Got Plenty Of Time

, , , , , , , | Related | May 9, 2020

We are several months into a worldwide health crisis and my mother-in-law is currently laid off from her work. This means she’s home three extra days per week when she’d normally be working. She lives with my husband and me.

It’s just after dinner on a Sunday night and we’re getting ready to do the dishes when she turns to me.

“The soap is going down much faster than it used to,” she says. “Don’t worry about washing your hands for twenty seconds. You only have to do that if you go out and you don’t go out.”

I resist rolling my eyes visibly at her and take my container from lunch upstairs. I seriously can’t believe how dumb she’s being. First of all, we use liquid soap, so whether we wash our hands for ten seconds or twenty, the same amount is used. Secondly, does she not even think that her being at the house for an additional eight to ten hours, three days a week, for the past six weeks might make a difference?

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Wipe Away Your Judgements About Others’ Purchases

, , , , , | Friendly | May 7, 2020

I am replenishing my quarantine supplies at a store. I grab a three-pack of baby wipes. I have an eleventh-month-old daughter, and finding baby wipes is very difficult right now as people seem to be using them for toilet paper and disinfecting things — they are not disinfectant, by the way.

But this store actually has quite a supply. I put the package of wipes into my cart and start to move on to the next thing on my list. It is three packs of wipes, but they’re packaged as one and not sold separately.

A lady calls from behind me.

Woman: “Excuse me, but I’m elderly.”

Me: “Oh… umm…”

Woman: “I’m at risk.”

Me: “Yes.”

Woman: “I need the wipes. You don’t.”

Me: “Well, I have a baby, so I do need them.”

Woman: “Where is your baby, then?”

Me: “At home, with her father, social distancing.”

Woman: “Well, I need the wipes more than you.”

Me: “There are actually plenty right here.”

I motion to the well-stocked shelf.

Woman: “There won’t be if people like you keep taking them.”

Me: “People like me? You mean, people with babies?”

Woman: “Yes, hoarding like that.”

Me: “I took one. And I have a baby.”

Woman: “You took three.”

Me: “I took three, which are packaged as one. I took one.”

Woman: “I need wipes, though. I’m at risk.”

Me: “And I have a baby. I need them, too.”

She tried to continue the conversation, but I just walked away.

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Crippling Her Chances Of Getting The Job

, , , , , | Working | May 5, 2020

I work in the same office as my brother. He had an injury as a child and finds it difficult to move around without a wheelchair. We are doing interviews today.

Brother: “[My Name]! Can you help, please!” 

I turn and see him being wheeled away by someone I have never seen before. My brother is trying to keep the brakes on, but she is pushing so hard it is wearing them down. 

Brother: “She isn’t listening to me!”

Woman: “Now shush. You shouldn’t be talking!”

Me: “Excuse me! What on earth are you doing? 

Woman: “Oh, I’m just taking this differently-abled person for a walk. They need extra special attention!”

I’m speechless.

Woman: “Do you mind holding the door?” 

Me: “I do, actually.”

I move to grab the chair and she pushes me hard into the printer behind me. 

Woman: “Excuse me, misogynist! You do not have permission to touch me!” 

Brother: “And you don’t have permission to touch me!”

The woman actually pokes his cheek.

Woman: “SHUSH!”

Me: “All right. I’ve had enough. [Coworker], call security. This woman is to be removed.”

Woman: “Oh, how typical. The woman has to leave because the misogynist assaulted her.”

Me: “You are physically moving my brother against his will. You’re lucky I’m not getting the police involved.”

Woman: “Whatever. I’m actually here for an interview.”

Me: *Laughing* “Well, I doubt you’ll be getting that job. What is it for, anyway?”

Woman: “IT technician.”

My brother starts laughing hysterically.

Woman: “Poor boy. He’s obviously depraved.”

Me: “No, he’s laughing because he’s the IT manager. He would be your boss if you got through the interview.”

Brother: “Not a chance in Hell!”

She gawks at him and stutters a garbled excuse for her behaviour. As security arrives and escorts her out, she finally says something coherent. 


Half The Office: “ME!”

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Ah, Yes, The Old “Ignore It And Hope It Goes Away” Strategy

, , , , , , , | Working | May 4, 2020

I am fourteen years old and not very assertive. I go to a rollerskating rink with a friend who’s a year younger than me. My friend spots a few friends of hers and goes off briefly to skate with them, but while she’s gone, I trip on the skating rink and end up hurting my elbow. My friend comes up, and I tell her that I think I’ll be okay. I sit at a booth on the edge of the rink, but the pain doesn’t fade and feels pretty bad.

I approach the concession stand. Half a dozen employees are there, and they all pause to look at me.

Employee: “Hi. What can we get you?”

Me: “I fell on the rink and hurt my elbow…”

The employees immediately scattered and started doing other things. I stood there for an instant, hoping they would come back to me, but they didn’t.

I left and sat back down, unsure what to do. I eventually got back up, went back to the stand, and specifically asked for some ice. They gave me some in a cup. I sat back down and waited for my friend’s mom to pick us up.

When I told my dad about it later, he suggested that the employees didn’t want to be liable for my accident, so that’s why they ignored me. I wonder why the employees would expect a fourteen-year-old girl to sue them.

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