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Making Assumptions Like That Is So Not Metal

, , , , | Friendly | September 1, 2022

This happened some years ago when I was in my early twenties, living and studying in Iceland. I once had to do a Uni assignment on heavy metal music. I went to borrow the only book in the city library about the history of heavy metal music.

I couldn’t find it, so I asked a librarian for help. Next to her was another patron who had been chit-chatting with her. As soon as I mentioned the book, he jumped up.

Patron: “I know that book!”

And he went to find it for me — all the while sort of complaining that it’s the devil’s music and so on (both in a joking but also serious tone).

He only pointed the book out for me but refused to touch it. As soon as I picked it up, the guy seriously made the cross with his fingers against the book!

The librarian and I talked a bit about this type of music, while the guy rambled on and on about it being bad and associated with the devil.

Then, he made the assumption of the year for me.

Patron: “Since you’re such a big fan of metal music, you must be covered in tattoos! And you probably smoke and drink and party all the time!”

None of that was true in any sense.

In his (tiny) defense, I was covered up in bicycling gear due to a fairly cold spring day, so he could only see my very plain face.

And then, he gave me the best offer ever: a promise to introduce me to the world of classical music. The joke’s on him, though.

Me: “Actually, I’ve been playing the flute since I was eleven, played in a harmony orchestra for many years, and am an avid fan of classical music, operas, and many others.”

The look on his face when I revealed that none of his assumptions and heavy metal stereotypes were true to me was absolutely priceless.

The Only Thing Expiring Is Our Patience

, , , , | Right | January 20, 2022

I live in Iceland, and I used to work in a mini supermarket in the city centre. An American woman bought some groceries. Fifteen minutes later, she came back.

Customer: *Yelling at me* “All your products are expired!”

Me: “Ma’am, in Europe, we format dates day, then month, and then year.”

Customer: “I don’t believe you! I want a refund!”

Me: “I can’t do that; the items aren’t expired.”

She got extra mad.

Customer: “I want a refund now!”

Regular Customer: “Ma’am, the dates are formatted differently; your groceries aren’t expired.”

Customer: “No, they’re expired! I want a refund!”

Me: “Good luck finding another store to sell you your groceries, ma’am. Everything is expired here in Iceland.”

Unable To Rest Their Local Phrasing

, , , , , | Right | November 18, 2021

I work in a cafeteria in a popular tourist place. We get customers from all over the world, many of whom speak English. While English is my third language, I would say I’m fairly fluent in it.

A middle-aged lady, most likely from the US by her accent, comes to the counter. She seems a bit upper-class in her dressing and actions, but as I’m from a small village in the middle of nowhere, I would have said that about pretty basically anyone from a bigger city!

Customer: “Could you tell me where your restroom is, please?”

I am very confused as I have never heard that word before.

Me: “Um… I’m sorry?”

Customer: *Scoffs.* “Restroom. Where is your restroom?”

Me: “Restroom?”

The customer now has a bit of an annoyed tone, like “I cannot believe you’re making me say it.”

Customer:Toilet! Where is your toilet?!

Me: “Oh! Just around the corner over there.”

The customer huffed and went on her way. I cannot remember if she thanked me because I was so confused as to why you would call a toilet a “restroom”. Who would go there to rest or relax?

Later on, I did find out that there are quite a few different words in English for toilet, and that “restroom” is another word for a public toilet. But I’m still confused as to why it was such a hassle to just call it a toilet.

Making A Boob Of One’s Self, Part 10

, , | Right | May 28, 2021

I work at a cafeteria which is located just under a fancy restaurant owned by the same owner. The restaurant has gotten a big group of tourists for the late evening, and they have a nice party.

My coworker and I (both women around twenty years old) are the only ones working in the cafeteria, which is more or less empty since it’s almost closing time.

She’s a beautiful young woman with elegant movements and fine features. I, on the other hand, am plainer; I use no makeup and let the pillow decide my hairstyle in the mornings.

While we’re working on closing for the night, one of the guests, a drunk man around thirty years old, comes down from the restaurant, stumbles up to us, and starts talking.

Drunk Guest: *Gesturing to my coworker* “Wow! You’re beautiful!” 

He’s continuously talking about how good she looks for quite a while, before he turns toward me.

Drunk Guest: “And you…” *cups his hands on his chest* “You got big boobs!”

Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 9
Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 8
Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 7
Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 6
Making A Boob Of One Self, Part 5

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 10

, , , , | Healthy | April 21, 2021

When I was almost nineteen years old, I moved to Iceland to try to work there. I had gotten the job prior to moving, so that and living quarters were not an issue. The job was as an uneducated gardener, so some of it was physical-labour intensive — digging and moving heavy stuff. It was nothing too bad, but as this was very new to me, I did find some new muscles.

One day, about three weeks after I had started, I noticed that my wrist was hurting very badly, every time I tried to use any equipment, light or heavy. Since I had some small problems with my wrist years before, I wanted to get it checked by a doctor to see if it just needed rest or something more.

As I was in a new country, I didn’t understand the local language too well, so I wasn’t sure where to find a healthcare center. Luckily, there was one close to my working area, so I went there to ask them how to get help.

I waited patiently in the queue, and when it was my turn, I asked politely if we could have the conversation in English. The receptionist started to huff, but she did reply in English.

Me: “My wrist is hurting, and I would like to know if someone could take a look at it. Since I haven’t been to a doctor in Iceland before, could you please tell me how I book a time with one?”

Receptionist: *Huffs in anger* “You cannot just walk in here and expect a doctor to just see you! You need to book a time!”

I was very confused, since that’s exactly what I asked for help with.

Me: “Well, yes, that’s what I’m planning on. I’m not expecting a doctor right now, but I just want to know how to book a time. I’ve never done that in Iceland before. Could you help me?”

Receptionist: *Still huffing in anger* “You need to call in order to book at time! This is not how you do it!” *Starts to look at some papers*

Me: *Lost for words* “But… I’m trying to do exactly that. How do I—”

Receptionist: *Cuts me off* “Here! Take this paper and fill it out. Give it back afterward.”

I was very confused, but the papers were in English, so I could fill them out. Afterward, I went back to the receptionist, since I thought maybe now I could get the info I needed.

Me: “Here is the paper. What now?”

Receptionist: *Still clearly annoyed* “Sit down over there. A doctor will take you as soon as possible.”

Me: *Very confused* “But… I did not mean…”

By now, the receptionist was just glaring at me, so I couldn’t do anything else but sit down and wait. Some fifteen or twenty minutes later, a door next to me opened and a doctor asked me to come in.

Doctor: *Visibly not satisfied, but not angry* “You know, you need to book a time before you can see a doctor here. You cannot just walk in and demand one.”

I was now even more confused and annoyed, but I was still trying to be polite.

Me: “But that’s exactly what I tried to do! I did ask the receptionist how to book a time, but they didn’t answer me. They just gave me some papers to fill out and asked me to sit down and wait! I never expected to see a doctor now or even today!”

The doctor finally seemed to realize what had happened.

Doctor: “Really? Well, there is a phone number you can call. And since you live outside of this area, you should go to another healthcare center closer to your address.”

The doctor checked my wrist, and thankfully, it was only about me not being used to this kind of work, so it only needed as much rest as I could give it for a few days. I was still allowed to work.

But I never got an answer to my original question: how do I book a time with a doctor at the healthcare center in my area? It took me at least a year before I found out on my own, and only because I had learned the language well enough.

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 9
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 8
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 7
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 6
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 5