Drive You To Have Fun

, , , , , | | Romantic | May 23, 2018

(I’ve had a rough couple of months, splitting up with my abusive partner, changing stores for work, and moving to a new place. I have scraped together basic furniture but have no luxuries like a washing machine, TV, or stereo. I also regularly walk 35 minutes to work, then wait 45 minutes in the dark to catch the last bus home. My closest friends and family all live in another state, about a 10-hour drive away. This year my birthday falls on a long weekend. My best friend rings me early on the Friday morning.)

Best Friend: “Hey, how are you? Sorry if I woke you.”

Me: “No, that’s okay. I’ve got to see if the laundromat is open today, anyway. I’m okay. How are you?”

Best Friend: “I’m good. Since I got a bonus at work, [Housemate], [Close Friend], [Other Close Friend], and I are on a road trip down the coast. Just thought I’d check in on you.”

Me: “Oh, that’s sweet. I hope you guys have a good time. Say hi to everyone.”

Best Friend: “Will do. Any plans for your birthday?”

Me: “Nope. Just some housework.”

(We chatted for a few minutes before hanging up. A few minutes later, there was a knock at my door. I opened it to find my friends. My best friend had bought me a good secondhand car with six months rego on it, a new washing machine and dryer, TV, and stereo, among other little things. My friends then hired a trailer, packed up the car, and made the long trip to surprise me for my birthday. They had booked a nice motel, took me shopping for new clothes, out for dinner on my birthday and sightseeing around the city, before flying home on Sunday, without me spending a cent. My best friend had spent pretty much all of the money from his bonus on the car and other things for my flat, while my other friends had pooled their money and paid for their flights, the motel, and shopping. I will be ever grateful for their love and support.)

Trash-Talking Your Ex

, , , , , | | Related | May 23, 2018

My parents recently divorced and my mom moved out as a consequence. Both of my parents were pretty down about it and relatively hostile towards each other, which put a lot of strain on me and my siblings.

One day my mom was visiting us children, eating a small snack with us at the table, while my dad was sitting on the sofa a few metres away. I went to the calendar hung on the wall to check for an appointment and realised that my dad had reassigned the row showing my mom’s appointments to instead show when each kind of trash was emptied by the city; however, the top row with her name was written in non-erasable pen.

That seemed like such a typical thing that a divorced couple would do out of spite that I broke down laughing hard, because my dad absolutely didn’t intend it to be malicious; he put it there simply because my mom used to take care of the trash and there was space. Of course my mom came to look at what was so funny and broke down laughing, too.

When my dad walked over, too, she joked about how insulted she was about being used as a trash reminder and he joked back that she deserved it. Consequently, my whole family spent a quarter hour laughing and wheezing on the floor. I think that moment saved our relationship as a family; that day was the first time they had talked with each other in person, not over text or asking us to relay messages. In the following days and weeks they started handling each other with a lot less tension and apologized for putting us between them. I’m very glad for that silly little coincidence.

Homeownership Is A Deal-Breaker

, , , , | | Friendly | May 22, 2018

(My uncle’s friend’s partner has taken a liking to my grandmother. My uncle warns my mother to keep an eye on this woman; he doesn’t trust her, as his friend told him she was a golddigger, which is why he never married her. We notice that she has manipulated my grandmother into giving her specific items that she likes. My grandmother lives in my parent’s house, and one day my mother finds a handwritten note on my grandmother’s table.)

Note: “I, [Grandmother] hereby adopt [Friend] as my daughter.” *signed and dated by [Grandmother]*

Mum: “What the hell is this?”

Grandmother: “Oh, I was going to give that to [Friend] when she’s here today”

Mum: “Was this [Friend]’s idea?”

Grandmother: “Um… No, I thought it would be nice; she doesn’t have a family.”

Mum: “Has [Friend] seen this? Did you tell her that you wrote it?”

Grandmother: “No, not yet.”

Mum: “Please don’t do this again; I don’t trust her.”

Grandmother: “But she’s all alone; she’s got no family.”

Mum: “She’s got family and even grandchildren.”

(Mum made sure she stayed during the woman’s visit, happily telling the woman the story of how they had extended their house so that grandmother had her own rooms. She told me that the look on the woman’s face showed that she had thought that my grandmother owned the house.)

Soliciting Deceit

, , , , , | | Working | May 21, 2018

(My mom and I are at home when someone knocks on our door rhythmically, as though they are a friend or relative. My mom has several health issues that tend to make her sleep in a lot, so she’s still in her night clothes. Since the person knocking tapped a little tune on our door, she figures it’s someone we know, so she answers the door in her nightshirt. It’s a guy in a business uniform for a cable service. He looks my mom up and down with a sneer, his arms crossed.)

Cable Guy: “Is there a problem here?”

Mom: “Uh, excuse me? No, there is not. Can I help you?”

(He puts on a massive sales-pitch grin, readying his pitch:)

Cable Guy: “Well, ma’am, we at [Cable Company #1] are going around to customers of [Cable Company #2] to let them know about [some malarkey about a sale or something].”

Mom: *holds up her hand* “I’m going to stop you right there.” *she gestures to the obvious “NO SOLICITING” sign on our door* “Did you not see that?”

Cable Guy: “Well, ma’am, I’m not soliciting; I’m just trying to do you a favour—”

Mom: “Yeah, that’s soliciting.” *closes the door in his face*

Bigotry Can Be Unlearned

, , , , | | Related | May 21, 2018

(I have always been very close to my grandfather, to the point we were nearly inseparable when I was little. My grandfather has very dated views on the world and I am told that I helped to change those views. All of these stories are told to me when I am older.)

Grandpa: *talking to his daughter* “I’m just saying that women shouldn’t be preachers! Y’a’ll can work normal jobs now, and that’s fine, but certain jobs should be for a man! A preacher is called Father for a reason!”

Me: “Grandpa, does that mean I can’t be a preacher when I’m older?”

Grandpa: “Well, I… That’s a bit different, Squirt. You’re a very smart young girl, and I think you’d be good at whatever you did. But other women shouldn’t do those things. It’s not natural.”

Me: “But if I’m smart enough, couldn’t there be other girls that are smart enough, too?”

Grandpa: “I mean, there could be… It’s just… Oh, forget it. You just don’t understand yet.”

(On another occasion.)

Grandpa: *to his friend* “I fought in Vietnam, so I know those Asians are good for nothing! I watched them kill their own people over there. One woman died right in front of me because she hid us away. They killed one of their own in cold blood, no proof at all she’d done it! They’re disgusting.”

Me: “But Grandpa, you just said one lady saved your life. She was Asian. Doesn’t that mean there are good Asians. too?”

Grandpa: “Squirt, don’t you go mixing me up now. I know what I saw, and those people were evil.”

Me: “Were the people who were killed evil?”

Grandpa: “No, they weren’t, but it’s just… Ugh, you’re too young to understand.”

(Yet another time…)

Grandpa: *at the kitchen table* “When I moved up from the south to my new schoo,l there was a [racial slur] in my class. I walked straight up to him and punched him straight in the nose! That taught him real quick who was boss!”

Me: “Did he hurt you, Grandpa?”

Grandpa: “He couldn’t land a hit on me! I got him before he even knew it was coming!”

Me: “But Grandpa, you told me never to hit someone unless they hurt me first!”

Grandpa: “That’s right, Squirt, but sometimes you just have to show who’s stronger.”

Me: “You told me the bigger person is the one who can solve things without hurting people.”

Grandpa: *thoughtful pause* “You’re right. You remember not to hit people now, you hear?”

(Years later when I heard these stories, I asked my Grandpa about them. He said he learned some valuable lessons from me about discrimination, violence, and how to keep his mouth shut in front of the kids. Every once in a while I still have to talk some sense into him, but he has come a long way and I still love him dearly.)

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