The Scariest Halloween Means Repeating Algebra

, , , | Learning | October 31, 2019

(It’s my first year as a college student, and I’m trying to make an effort to get more involved in local events. Halloween is right around the corner, and my physics professor has teamed up with a bunch of his students to set up a ‘Haunted Physics Lab’ for the local school kids. I offer my help as a volunteer, and get assigned to direct the (mostly middle-school-aged) field trip kids and their chaperones from one room of our ‘Haunted Lab’ to another. I’m also under 5′ in height, and look somewhat young for my age.)

Me: *greeting the latest field trip group as they leave one room* “Wasn’t that cool how the green volcano blew up?!” *most of the kids eagerly agree while I point the next stop on their ‘tour.’* “All right! Now, if you’ll just go down this hall and turn right at the—“

Random Teacher: *looking at me strangely* “What do you think you’re doing?”

Me: *unsure if my gothic costume is offending her somehow* “Um, I’m sorry; is something wrong, ma’am?”

Random Teacher: *giving me an exasperated look* “You’re supposed to stay in line with the rest of your class. Get back in your correct group now, please!”

Me: “But–! U-uh, ma’am; I’m a university student- I don’t—“

Random Teacher: *gently grabs my wrist and tries pulling me towards the group of very confused kids* “Enough of that; now, this is a very nice treat our local college has set up for you, and you should be more respectful of that!”

Me: *wrenches wrist out of grasp and pulls out a lanyard from beneath my costume* “Ma’am, I am a [Acronym] UNIVERSITY STUDENT. This is my ID and my ID number AS A COLLEGE STUDENT. I am volunteering here to guide you and your charges to the next part of said show!”

Random Teacher: *turns bright red and instantly changes tactics* “Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry; I truly thought you were a part of our group! We’ve had a lot of classes combined for this, and you– Well, you look so young and small!”

Me: *embarrassed but amused* “It’s fine; I just really don’t want to repeat algebra!”  

(She then quietly apologized again for getting so assertive, but I told her I understood that she was trying to be firm in front of all the other students (who, to be fair; were quite riled up by all the crazy ‘experiments’ they’d already seen!). I later told my professor, as well. He only laughed. But seriously, why would I be in costume and giving out directions if I wasn’t meant to?!)

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Even The Language Has Privilege

, , , , , , , | Learning | October 30, 2019

(I do a year-long high school student exchange in the US when I am 16. I’m from northern Europe originally. It is my second week in school and our English teacher — as in the “normal” language and literature teacher, not English as a second language teacher — starts a discussion in class about languages and how some people speak several.)

Teacher: “For example, in the US, Spanish is the most common second language. [My Name], you’re an exchange student, so what about you? Do you have a second language?”

Me: “Yeah, my second language is English.”

Teacher: “No, no, [My Name], a second language.”

Me: *pause* “Yeah, it’s English.”

Teacher: “A second language is something you learn later in life, for example in school. So English does not really count.”

Me: “Surely it counts if it’s not my first language? I mean, English is not the official language of my country and we do learn it at school.” 

Teacher: “Well, English is not really a second language, though. Do you speak any other languages? I mean it would be a bit strange if your school didn’t teach you a second language.”

Me: “Sure, okay. Yeah, I speak German well and Swedish decently.”

Teacher: “Hey, that’s great, two second languages! And if you are from–” *looks at her notes* “–Finland, then you also speak Finnish. So, that’s actually three second languages!” *moves on to another student*

Me: *quietly* ” That’s… that’s my first language.”

(On the plus side, my classmates thought the whole thing was funny so at least we added some comedic value to the class.)

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A Proof Vacuum

, , , , | Right | October 22, 2019

(The store opens at noon. At 11:25, a customer starts banging and pulling on the door. This conversation takes place with him yelling through the door.)

Customer: “Why is the f****** door locked?”

Me: “Because we don’t open until noon.”

Customer: “Then why do you get to be in there?”

Me: “Because I work here.”

Customer: “Prove it.”

(I walk away and go back to vacuuming. After a minute, I look up and he is still there. I point to the vacuum.)

Me: “Proof?”

Customer: “Yeah…”

(The customer walks away.)

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Counting The Pennies, Literally

, , , , , | Working | October 21, 2019

(I work as a cashier in a family-run burger restaurant. One of my fellow cashiers is very bad at math, which wouldn’t be an issue normally because the register does all the math for us. But he insists on writing out the prices and stuff on a pad next to the register before entering it, leading to conversations like this one:)

Customer: “I’d like [order].”

Cashier: *writes the order down on his pad, slowly working his way through the math* “That will be [Total].” *finally actually puts order into the register, which then promptly displays that total*

Customer: “Okay…” *hands over their payment*

Cashier: *starts figuring out the change he needs to give on the paper*

Customer: “Is something wrong with the machine?”

Cashier: *huffily* “I just like doing things myself.” *finally punches the payment in, getting prompted with the exact change needed*

(He’s been talked to by the supervisor several times, but he keeps insisting that he can do it himself. I’m pretty sure he is related to the owners in some way, which is why he hasn’t been fired yet.)

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Good News! You Already Have Some!

, , , | Right | October 21, 2019

(Around 1990, I’m working at the first gas station you come to after getting off the interstate in North Aurora, Illinois. As such, we get a lot of people asking for directions. The next town to the north is Batavia.)

Customer: “Can you tell me how to get to Bacteria?”

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