The Bartok Scenes Are A Bit Of A Stretch

, , , , , , | Related | October 5, 2017

(My grandmother takes me to see the animated movie “Anastasia” when it comes out. We’ve only seen the first few minutes. All the narration has said so far is that the Czar used to rule Russia, Anastasia was his daughter, and Rasputin was a mystic who was close to the royal family. Accurate enough, and certainly recognizable as right before the Russian Revolution.)

Narration: “The year was nineteen hundred and sixteen.”

Grandma: “Did she say 1916 or 1960?”

Me: “I dunno.”

(Give me a break; I was seven. I think for a second.)

Me: “You were alive in 1960, and not in 1916. Do you remember this?”

Grandma: “This is based on something that really happened?”

(I’m still not sure if she actually forgot that the Russian Revolution happened and that Czars were a real thing, or if she didn’t realize that no matter how unrealistic the rest of the movie was, if it was set at the time of the revolution it would still have to be in 1916, not 1960.)

A Revolutionary Revelation

, , , , | Learning | September 21, 2017

(My friends and I are cramming for our first European History test in our first class of the day. It covers the French Revolution.)

Best Friend: “The basic thing to know is that the French were on the losing side of every war they were in, including their own Revolution.”

Me: “Wait. Weren’t they on our side during the American Revolution?”

Another Friend: “Did we win that?”

Not Going Fully Native(ity)

, , , , , | Learning | August 24, 2017

(I am in charge of costuming all of the Sunday School kids for our church’s annual Christmas pageant. I have made a stack of patched, ragged tunics and headgear out of donated sheets, towels, etc. for the shepherds, and told them that they need to either bring a pair of dark colored leather sandals (no flip-flops) to wear that night, or if they prefer they can go barefoot. The dressing area is in the basement, and it’s a little chilly. An eleven-year-old boy has donned his tunic (and shorts under the tunic; I’m not a stickler for realism) and is arguing with me about his footwear.)

Boy: “Why can’t I wear my socks and running shoes? I’m cold!”

Me: “Because you’re a poor shepherd.”

Boy: “Couldn’t I be a rich shepherd?”

Praying For Them To Hang Up

, , , , | Right | July 1, 2017

(I work a desk at a public library. I’ve seen my fair share of strange in my career, but this interaction is one of the weirdest I’ve had at my current job.)

Me: *answers phone, gives standard greeting* “How can I help you today?”

Caller: “I don’t have Internet at home and I need you to tell me the weather for the next two days. Is it going to snow?”

Me: “All right, just give me a moment to pull up a weather report. Are you in [Town where library is located]?”

Caller: “No, I’m in [Neighboring Town].”

Me: “Okay, I’ll pull up the weather report for [Neighboring Town].”

(While I get on a popular weather website, the caller starts telling me how she needs the weather to be good for the next few days because she’s got friends coming to visit and she hasn’t seen them in forever.)

Me: “Okay, the weather for the next two days shows 1-3 inches of snow tomorrow and freezing rain the following day.”

Caller: “No, that can’t be true! What site are you using?” *I tell her the site name* “Well, [Other Popular Weather Site] must have a different report. Can you check them?”

(I proceed to do so, and give her the weather as stated in their site. It’s even worse than the first site.)

Caller: “Are you absolutely certain? My friends can’t come in if it snows! And I haven’t seen them in so long! I’m homebound and in a wheelchair and if it snows, I just don’t know what I’ll do!”

Me: “Well, I’m sorry, ma’am, but that’s what the weather is for the next two days.”

(I start to ask her if there’s anything else I can do for her, but she cuts me off.)

Caller: “But what will I do? What will I do? I never get out, I never see anyone, and my friends were going to help me pray for my niece! If they can’t come and pray for her, she might die!”

(At this point, it’s clear that this is someone who calls the library to talk to whoever picks up the phone. These people are usually lonely and the library is an outlet for them. I feel bad for her, but I now have one person standing in front of me waiting for help and I need to assist them.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m not really sure. I’m sorry the weather is interfering with your plans. Now, is there something else I can—”

Caller: *her voice is now quavering, like she might cry* “But what DO I DO?” *silence, mostly because I have no idea what to tell her* “Oh, I know! You can pray for her!”

Me: *who is an atheist and very private about my personal views* “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but if there isn’t anything else I can help you with that’s library related—”

Caller: “NO! You have to tell me you’ll pray for her!”

Me: *has to pull the phone away from my ear because she’s yelling into the phone, and the customer waiting at the desk shoots me a look because he can hear her* “Ma’am, I’m going to have to end this call, as I have someone else waiting for help. Have a good day!

Caller: *who is screeching at this point* “You’re a horrible person! You need to learn a little sympathy! People like you will burn in Hell! *click*

Customer: *who had patiently waiting* “Did that woman just hang up on you?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Customer: “What was her problem?”

Me: “It’s going to snow tomorrow and I’m apparently a horrible person.”

Customer: *who starts to laugh* “Well, the first is true but from what I saw, you handled her very well. Do you get calls like that often?”

Me: “With screaming? Not really. But with unusual requests? All the time.”

Customer: “Is that your best one that’s happened?”

Me: “Oh, no. My favorite was when someone called asking for the phone numbers of the first ten presidents.”

Brand New Vintage!

, , , , , | Right | June 26, 2017

(We sell a mixture of vintage and new items, including furniture. Everything vintage or antique is marked on the tag as such.)

Customer: “Hi, this antique mirror. How old is it?”

Me: “Oh, that’s not an antique. It’s made by a company upstate.”

Customer: “Not, it’s antique. See? On the tag it says ‘Nouveau.’”

Me: “Nouveau is a style. It was definitely most popular in the ‘20s here in the US, but this mirror is a modern replica in that style. If it was vintage it would say so on the tag.”

Customer: “It IS vintage. It says right here, ‘Nouveau’!”

Me: “If it was vintage, it would say ‘vintage.’ Like this tag here, see?”

Customer: “You don’t understand.”

Me: “Well, it is a very nice mirror either way. Are you looking for a mirror?”

Customer: “It’s VINTAGE. Just LOOK at it. I know more about this than you. I’ve been buying antiques for decades.”

Me: “If you say so. If you really like it you should purchase it; it’s a really stunning piece. ”

Customer: “Is this the only mirror you have? It’s a little big for me.”

Me: “No, but since we have those mirrors custom made for us by a company upstate we can request them in any size.”

Customer: “Never mind. I’ll keep looking.”

(She left.)

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