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She Pushed You Out Of The Way Of A Bullet

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 4, 2022

Back when I was fourteen and my sister was nineteen, she took me to the community pool. I was just learning how to handle my womanly cycles, so I wasn’t really comfortable getting in the water during that time. Still, when I saw my crush, I had to say hello. I sat beside him at the water’s edge. We talked for a few minutes when a woman, who turned out to be his mom, came up.

Mom: “Hi, who are you?”

Me: “Oh, I’m [My Name]. Nice to—”

Mom: “Oh, do you go to school with [Crush]?”

Me: “Yeah, we have English together.”

Mom: “Why don’t you get in the water, [My Name]?”

Me: “Ahh, I’m not in the mood to swim.”

Mom: “Oh, but it’s the pool! Everyone swims!”

Me: “No, I’m okay.”

Crush: “I’m gonna get a soda.”

Me: “Oh, me, too!”

I stood up and almost immediately ended up in the water. When I resurfaced, I saw [Crush] and his mom at the edge of the pool.

[Crush] laughed as I grabbed onto the side of the pool.

Me: “What just happened?”

Crush: “She pushed you! You should see your face.”

My sister came over.

Sister: “[My Name], I thought you weren’t swimming today?”

Me: “I was pushed.”

Sister: “What the f***? Who pushed you?”

Mom: “I didn’t hurt her. She—”

My sister shoved [Mom] in the water and pulled me out. [Mom] resurfaced, sputtering.

Mom: “What is wrong with you?!”

Sister: “Oh, you didn’t want to go in the water? It didn’t matter when [My Name] didn’t want to go in.”

[Mom] went to a lifeguard and complained about being pushed in against her will. My sister told the lifeguard that she only did it because [Mom] pushed me first. We were all banned from the pool for the rest of the summer. That was the moment I realized what an a** my crush was and lost interest in him.

Badly Accented Attitudes

, , , , , | Right | May 2, 2022

I worked at a call center while going to community college. It was common for any representative to have to deal with people insisting we were located in some random foreign location and then lecture us for outsourcing and lying about where we were located. I got a few more of these than most as I “sounded foreign,” and these calls could really hurt our metrics for time spent on a call and thus our bonuses.

Thus, I ended up deciding I would try a new strategy for handling these sorts of calls the next time I got one.

Customer: “Where are you from, China?”

Me: “No, sir, this call center is located in Maryland.”

Customer: “There is no way you’re from the USA! Don’t lie to me.”

Me: “I assure you, I live in [Town] in Maryland. I may not sound it due to my having a mild speech impediment linked to my ADD. I apologize if my disability inconveniences you at all, but I promise I’ll still be able to assist you.”

Customer: “Oh, umm… sorry, I…”

Me: “Now, as I was saying, I still need to verify your identity to help you. Could I ask you to please verify your social security number?”

The customer, now sounding apologetic, meekly gave me his information and allowed me to quickly finish the call with him. In fact, it worked so well that I started using this as my standard reply to all such calls. At least three-quarters of the time, it would work to end any debate about what country I was from and let me move on with the call. 

Sadly, I still got plenty that just transitioned to asking why they let someone who couldn’t speak do a job on the phone, despite the fact that they didn’t actually have any trouble understanding me. But I suppose some people are going to find a reason to complain no matter what.

Well, A Little Less Busy Now…

, , , , | Right | April 30, 2022

I’ve spent weeks trying to get a client to return my calls/emails in order to book a project review meeting.

Me: “Okay. Let’s nail down the review meeting for Friday [two days later]. What time is good for you?”

Client: “Don’t kid me. You’re not that busy. All you guys do is sit around and doodle s***, and I have stuff to do on Friday. We’ll do it today.”

Me: “Okay. You can come by if you want, but I’ll be at another client’s office. The bench outside my office can double as a bed and the coffee shop next door has Wi-Fi. See you Friday.”

I didn’t hear from him again.

It’s An Incredibly Annoying Day In The Neighborhood

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | April 29, 2022

In 1979, when my husband and I were first married, we bought a house near the university in the good-sized city where we lived. We liked the neighborhood for a lot of reasons. The nearby university had a lot of energy around it, and there was always something going on: free concerts, lectures, exhibits close by, etc. But our street was a quiet little backwater, off the main drag. With the exception of a mom-and-pop grocery store on the corner fronting the main street, the only other nonresidence was the church across the street from us. Everything else was a one- or two-family house.

Right next door to us was a single-family house. The owner lived nearby and owned several houses, living on one floor of a two-family a block or two away. We’d see him around sometimes. He charged people, usually students, $100 a month for a room with use of the bath and communal kitchen and living room.

There were anywhere from four to six students in the house at any given time. Most of them would move in and stay for a couple of years until they were out of school. We got along well with most of them, doing the usual neighborly thing, taking in mail, watering plants if they were out of town, and that sort of thing. For the most part, they were usually so busy with work and school that they had no time to misbehave. There were the usual parties and such, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Notice that I said, “for the most part”. There was one group of students who proceeded to make life hard for everyone on the whole street. They moved in a few days before the fall semester began. They were three guys and two girls, most of them wearing T-shirts from the same high school, so they were freshmen, friends from high school starting college, out on their own for the first time.

They were loud and rowdy moving in, but no one thought much about it at the time. School had not yet started and everyone was excited. Everyone assumed they would settle down in a couple of days when school began. We were wrong.

Apparently, the party started as soon as they moved in. Music was blaring from every open window, and people were on the front porch catcalling passersby and neighbors in the yard. The porch roof was flat, so they were up there sunbathing, eating, drinking, and throwing garbage all over the sidewalk and neighbors’ yards.

That was bad enough, but the worst was parking. I know parking in the area was usually tight, but there were no trendy bars or restaurants to bring people in, and the church across the street had its own parking lot, so except for a little while on Sunday morning or Wednesday night, there weren’t any on-street church parking problems, and you could usually find space across the street in front of the church.

It didn’t seem to matter to these kids; they parked where they wanted. About half the houses had driveways and we found ourselves with our driveways blocked — sometimes just fudging by a little, sometimes totally blocked. Everyone up and down the street had this issue. It got to the point where if my husband and I came home, more often than not, one of us would have to get out and go get someone from the house to move their car. The alpha girl told us:

Alpha Girl: “You can always come and we’ll move our cars, no problem.”

Me: “I’m getting tired of having to get your permission to use my own property.”

She ignored me.

One Friday night, my husband had to work late. It was well after 11:30 when he got home, and of course, our driveway was blocked. He laid on his horn, but the usual Friday night loud party was going on and no one heard. He got out of his car and knocked on the door. Nothing. Finally, he parked his car and came inside, and we called the police.

The police arrived a little while later, and apparently, the flashing light did what all the knocking and horn hadn’t. The door opened and seven or eight people ran out. We also came out to speak to the officer. The blonde ran over to the officer and demanded to know what he was doing. He looked at her and said:

Officer: “Writing a ticket. What does it look like? This car has completely blocked this driveway.”

Alpha Girl: “But the girl who owns that car is a visitor! She didn’t know; she shouldn’t be responsible!”

Officer: “She’s never seen a driveway before? Must be from a really small town.”

He finished writing the ticket and put it on the car.

Officer: “Does one of you own the blue [Car] down the street?”

Kid #1: “Yeah, that’s mine.”

Officer: “You need to move it before you get a ticket, too. You’re also blocking a driveway. I’ll be back again on patrol, and if both cars aren’t moved, I’ll call a tow truck and have them towed. You also need to turn down the music before we have a noise complaint.”

He left, and the blonde girl turned to us.

Alpha Girl: “I told you, all you had to do was ask and we would have moved the car!”

Husband: “I tried. No one answered.”

Me: “And I told you, we’re tired of having to get your permission to use our own driveway.”

They went back into their house, but I guess the life had gone out of the party as the music went off and so did the lights.

It was a quiet weekend for once, but that ticket would prove to be the opening volley of a vicious conflict. By Monday, music was blaring out of every window and door all day long, not just when they were home. If they were home, they were on the porch, now yelling at anyone and everyone obscenities and other unpleasant things. Parties every weekend got louder and bigger. The girls would go up on the porch roof and flash people. Of course, by the time the police got there, nothing was happening and they couldn’t really do anything.

One day, I got home from work and got the mail. Included was a letter addressed to one of the male students. I almost marked it return to sender, but from the return address, it looked important, so I decided to do the right thing and take it over. The three guys were on the porch doing their usual catcalling when I walked up.

Me: “[Kid #2]? There’s a letter for you.”

[Kid #2] smirked.

Kid #2: “What is it? An apology for how you treated us? Maybe if you f*** me I”ll consider forgiving you.”

At that, I threw the envelope on the porch.

Me: “It’s from your probation officer, jerk.”

I walked away. He jumped up, grabbed the letter, and ran inside while his buddies laughed.

After that, they doubled down on their usual hijinks. In addition to their routine, our newspaper would disappear from our porch and be scattered all over the yard, trash cans got upended and trash would be everywhere and even worse, in addition to the trash they usually threw around, they started throwing glass beer bottles into our driveway so we always had to check for broken glass every time we went in or out. And, of course, we could never catch them.

Finally, one day, I came home to find the piece de resistance. One of the guys had an old junker of a car. It one looked as if it had been hit front and back; both ends were crunched up so much that the car had an inverted V in the middle. My neighbor told me that they had somehow pushed it home and left it parked squarely in front of my house for us to look at. And they left it. It didn’t move for ten days or two weeks maybe; it just sat there.

One day, someone from the city came and asked me about a report of an abandoned car.

Me: “I think it belongs to someone next door.”

I guess the kids saw me talking to the city official and assumed I had been the one to call. It wasn’t me, actually; it turned out to be the minister from across the street, concerned that it was a safety hazard with all the kids in the neighborhood who were always out playing. And God knows what the thing was leaking all over the street. And the car didn’t move then.

The next day, Karma reared her pretty head. I don’t know if the city official did something, or whether the police finally caught up with the car owner, but the next day, the car got booted — for unpaid parking tickets, according to the stickers left on the car. By the end of the day, the car was gone with nothing but an ugly stain on the street left behind. I figured we were in for it. And I was not disappointed.

The next day, a sign went up. They put a four-by-eight sheet of beaten-up plywood on the front porch with a fairly obscene message painted on it, telling the neighbors where we could all go and what we could do when we got there, in graphic detail, accompanied by some pretty crude graphics. The artist was not too talented, evidently.  

I told my husband we should batten down the hatched and brace ourselves; it was probably only going to get worse. But I was wrong.

Silence came — absolute radio silence. The sign disappeared, the music stopped blaring, there was no one catcalling on the porch, no trash, nothing. We wondered if they had all died, but no one in the neighborhood cared enough to go check.

Several days later, someone knocked on our door, and we opened it to find the landlord from next door.  

Landlord: “First off, I’ve come to apologize for all the problems my tenants have caused. I’ve been renting to students for years and I’ve never had any problems like these kids before. I’ve had more complaints in these last two weeks than in my entire career. But they won’t be a problem anymore.”

Me: “How can you be so sure?”

He got an evil smile on his face.

Landlord: “I keep a room in the house that I never rent out; I keep it for when my brother comes to town. I’ve decided to move in there while I have some work done on my apartment.”

He shook my hand and left.

And he was true to his word. The students behaved themselves, the sign went out in the trash the following week, and there were no more problems.

One day, I was out in my yard when the blonde came home. She glared at me and I couldn’t help myself.

Me: “Having fun with your new roomie?”

She glared knives at me, went into her house, and slammed the door. There were no more problems for the rest of the year.

Peace came back to our street once again, and by the beginning of the winter semester, there were a whole new group of students next door.

Suddenly, I Have All The Time In The World

, , , , , , , | Friendly | April 28, 2022

I experienced this incident when I was younger and went grocery shopping with my mom. We were a big family, so weekly shopping easily filled a whole cart to the brim. Usually, she’d go with my dad, but this time, he couldn’t go, so I went with her to help carry all the stuff.

The shop was packed. We were lucky to even find a parking space and to top that off, it was a hot day, and none of us enjoyed having to haul all the stuff into the car. I would’ve loved to have an ice cream from the café next to the grocery store, but my mom said there wasn’t time.

While we were packing the car, this huge Mercedes appeared behind us and started honking. The guy inside then rolled down his window and started berating my mom because she wasn’t fast enough for his taste. 

We finally got in the car and my mom started to slowly reverse out of the parking spot when we heard the guy call out of his open window again.

Guy: “Can you go any slower? Geez, women shouldn’t be allowed to drive at all!”

My mom hit the brakes so hard I slammed into my seat, despite us going so slowly. She then pulled back into the spot and signaled for me to roll the window back up.

We got out, and she marched straight toward that guy and shouted in his face.

Mom: “You know what? I definitely won’t drive anywhere now! Good luck finding another spot to park!”

She then marched off and left me scrambling behind her.

I got my ice cream in the end. We both sat in the outside area of the cafe, got a nice, big ice cream each, and watched him driving in circles for quite a while until he found a spot. He gave us the stink-eye whenever he passed us.

It so happened that we just finished and left when he finally had found a spot and just rushed past us when we got up to leave.

I’ll never forget the nasty look he threw us. But he didn’t say another word to my mom, who just grinned at him in passing, since he now knew my mom wasn’t afraid to get in his face if he dared. It was epic.