Welcome To 2019

, , , | Friendly | March 3, 2019

(We have a new girl join our dragon boat team. She’s very sweet and seems kind of sheltered. One day after practice, some of the girls from the team go for a Bloody Mary and she joins us, which is unusual. We are discussing what we did for Valentine’s Day.)

Me: “We stayed in, I made us a special dinner, we split a bottle of wine, and he washed up. Nothing too special.”

New Starter: “Aw, it’s nice that your husband washed up.”

Me: “Oh, well, actually, he always does. I always cook, so it’s only fair really.”

New Starter: *kind of wide-eyed* “Really?”

Me: “Well, of course! We both earn and we both split the chores.”

(There are murmurs of agreement from the rest of the group.)

New Starter: “Um, I thought it was like, a woman’s thing to do housework?”

(I think we all look a little bit shocked at her, which, in retrospect, I feel bad about because she seems to really believe what she’s saying. It’s also worth noting that she works full time.)

New Starter: “That’s what my mum said, and my husband, too. She showed me, like in the movies?”

Teammate: *known for being super blunt* “Were these movies from the fifties?”

(A couple of girls laugh and I shoot them a look. Clearly, this poor girl has been brainwashed or something. I lean over to her.)

Me: “[New Starter], it definitely used to be like that, but it really isn’t anymore. In a healthy relationship, it’s fair to share the workload.”

(She looked at me like I’d just told her where babies come from. Then, she turned bright pink, and jumped up and ran out of the cafe. I hope she’s enlightened her husband, or dumped him!)

They’ve Scrambled A Few Too Many Eggs

, , , , | Working | February 26, 2019

On weekends my boyfriend and I usually go to the same cafe for breakfast. The food is good and the portions generous. I like it most of all because the seating is right next to the ocean. However, the service varies from “weird” to “downright awful.”

The first incident, I ordered a veggie cheeseburger and specified no tomato. When the sullen waiter brought my food he shrugged and said, “I guess the chef forgot to take the tomato off.” I was a little peeved; how hard is it to remove a slice of tomato? But I didn’t want to be “that customer,” so I just took it off myself and said nothing.

The next week, we got breakfast there again and we were both reading the paper. My boyfriend asked the waiter for a pen so he could do the crossword and the waiter went into a rant about how we couldn’t just sit there and take up space, that there were other customers who wanted to sit on the patio, too, and that this wasn’t a place where we could just lounge around doing crossword puzzles. We were the only customers there, and until that tirade, we’d had every intention of ordering another round of coffee. My boyfriend was really annoyed, but I’ve worked in a few coffee shops myself and I know how annoying it is to have lingering customers, so I persuaded him not to get too down on the place.

We returned again a couple of weeks later, and I ordered the salmon bagel which was beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. However, I was slightly put off because when the waiter brought it to the table I noticed the chef hovering in the doorway. He kept staring at me, looking furious and muttering to himself, so when I got up to use the bathroom I politely asked him if there was a problem. He didn’t speak English, so he went back into the kitchen. As we left the waiter told me that the chef was upset because I ate my bagel. When I enquired exactly what I was supposed to do with said bagel other than eating it, the waiter said that the chef worked very hard on making the bagel look nice and he thought I would take a photo of it first and put it on Instagram to promote the restaurant. I don’t actually use Instagram, but I guess because I’m a blonde white girl, the chef assumed I did.

We still went back the weekend after that — I guess because we’re idiots? — and this time my boyfriend decided to try the eggs royale. It looked absolutely delicious, but when I asked him how it was he remarked that the hollandaise was cold. He still ate it all and I finished up my food. As we left, my boyfriend mentioned to the waiter — again, very politely — that the hollandaise on his eggs was cold and maybe they could pass that along to the chef. The waiter threw down the tea towel on his shoulder and yelled, “RIGHT! GET OUT! DON’T COME BACK! YOU TWO ARE NOTHING BUT TROUBLE!”

And that is how we got banned from our favourite breakfast place for not complaining about the little things, wanting to spend more money there, eating the food we ordered, and trying to give a little constructive criticism. We now eat breakfast at a new place which is run by sane people.

Isn’t All Work Homework When You’re Tutored At Home?

, , , | Learning | February 21, 2019

(I tutor English as a Second Language students at their homes. I assign homework to students each week. My students are usually quite young, so very often my homework is left undone for various reasons. I’m usually quite understanding if they have a good reason. This particular student has been neglecting most of her work because she was busy playing. I’m talking to her before I leave her house.)

Me: “[Student], can you try to finish some of your homework? It’s quite the waste of your parents’ money right now to just attend an hour of lessons per week without doing the assigned work.”

Student: “But I’m going on holiday next week! I’m going to [Overseas Country]!”

Me: “That sounds fun. But the homework that I’m talking about is the one the one from around three weeks ago.”

Student: *clearly not listening* “Maybe I’ll buy you a gift from [Overseas Country]!”

Me: “How about this? Instead of buying me a present, you bring me the gift of your completed homework!”

Student: “Ha ha, no.” *bounces away*

A Recipe For Misunderstanding

, , , , | Friendly | January 8, 2019

(I live in the outlying islands of Hong Kong. Not to brag, but I make a cracking veggie sausage roll. Friends both veggie and carnivorous rave about them and I am always happy to give out the recipe. One weekend we are invited to a barbecue at a friend’s place, so I make a batch to take along — barbecues can be fairly miserable for vegetarians. I pop them on the table of snacks and grab myself a drink. Presently I am introduced to a young woman who has recently moved to the island. The following ensues:)

Young Woman: “These sausage rolls are delicious! It’s so nice to have proper veggie food at a barbecue!”

Me: “Aw, thank you! I absolutely agree; my husband and I are both veg and we love them, too.”

Young Woman: “You must give me the recipe!”

Me: “Oh, hang on.”

(I am about to tell her what goes into the rolls but my attention is diverted to my overly-helpful two-year-old trying to carry three plates at once. I bend down to take them off her and gently tell her just to take one since they’re heavy. Straightening back up, I am greeted with…)

Young Woman: “WELL, FINE! I suppose it’s one of these bloody secret family recipes is it?”

Me: “No, no, it’s—“

Young Woman: “I can’t stand people like you. You all think you’re so clever and above all of us, and you don’t even have the decency to share a little love!”

Me: “No, no, really! It’s—“

Young Woman: “SHARE A LITTLE LOVE!” *flounces out*

Friend: “It’s not a secret recipe, is it? You gave me the recipe after Christmas.”

Me: “You know me; I’m all about sharing the love!”

Need To Elevate The Standard Of Youth

, , , , , | Friendly | January 7, 2019

(I am in Hong Kong. I enter an elevator that is descending. It’s a bit of a tight squeeze at first, so I accidentally bump into the other occupants who are already in there. Everyone involved in this story appears to be East Asian, myself included.)

Me: “Whoops. Sorry, everyone! My apologies.”

(We go down a few floors and several people exit. The only people remaining in the elevator are an old man and me. We go down one more floor, and standing in front is a young man who is hesitant to enter.)

Me: “What seems to be the matter, friend? Come on in; there’s plenty of room.”

(The young man is standing still, and not moving an inch.)

Me: “Are you going up, or going down?”

Young Man: “Up!”

Me: “Well, okay, looks like you might want to try the other elevator. This one’s going down for at least several more floors, so it’ll be a while before it starts going back up again. Have a good one, then.”

(The young man stops acknowledging me and just waits for the door to close. While we’re going down again, the old man standing next to me finally decides to talk to me.)

Old Man: “Where are you from, son?”

Me: “Me? I’m from Canada, sir.”

Old Man: “That explains it! Your English and your manners are both exceptionally good! I knew there was no way you could be one of the local kids!”

(Rather unfortunate that he has such a view of his own country’s youth, but hey, he said it, not me.)

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