The Hardest Event Tonight Is The Waiting Game

, , , , , , , | Working | October 19, 2019

(My brother has the opportunity to be on a TV competition about physical strength and agility. The show films at night so we all have to stay up to watch. The coordinator tells us that he will be on at 11:00 pm with the other competitors in his group. Not bad at all! It is supposed to be a warmer night, so we only bring sweaters to keep us warm. While my brother stays with the other competitors, the rest of us walk toward the seating area. A security guard stops us.)

Guard #1: “Can I help you?”

Mother: “My son is competing tonight and—”

Guard #1: “And you’ll be called when he goes on.”

Mother: “Oh. We just thought we would watch the other people.”

Guard #1: “That’s not allowed. Go wait outside until it’s your son’s turn.”

Mother: “We can’t watch? Do we have to buy tickets or something?”

Guard #1: “No, only seat fillers and people with the current competitor can be in there.”

Mother: “But there’s barely anyone watching. How do we become seat fillers?”

Guard #1: “Seat fillers can’t be family. Move along.”

(So, away we go to wait our turn. Small groups file in and out for a few hours. Eleven comes and goes and my brother still hasn’t had his chance. We go to another guard.)

Mother: “Excuse me? My son was supposed to run with the 11:00 group and—”

Guard #2: “You’ll be called when his turn comes.”

Mother: “Is there a coordinator or supervisor or someone I can talk to? It’s almost 1:00 am.”

Guard #2: “No.” *turns and walks away*

(It is getting colder and we are getting tired and impatient. Another hour passes with no word. My brother isn’t allowed to have his phone on him, so we can’t even ask if he knows anything. Some of us decide to nap until it is my brother’s turn. I am too excited to sleep, so I stay up as long as I could. Eventually, though, I nod off. My mother shakes me awake and tells me to get up. I open my eyes to see sunlight peeking over some of the buildings. I check my watch and see that it is nearly 6:00 am. Seven hours have passed since my brother was supposed to compete and FINALLY, his group is going. We go back to the entrance and [Guard #1] escorts us to a section by the end of the competition. Half of our group sits down and he ushers the other half to another section. It is far colder than any of us anticipated, so we are all shivering.)

Mother: “Excuse me. Why can’t we all sit together?”

Guard #1: “Gotta fill the spaces. A few small empty spots look better than one big empty spot.”

Mother: “You wouldn’t have empty spots if you’d let people watch.”

Guard #1: *glares* “Okay. Cheer loud, be proud, and don’t shiver!”

Sister: “We’re cold!”

Guard #1: “You should have thought of that!”

Mother: “We would have if someone had said we’d be here all night!”

Guard #1: “Not my problem, lady.” *walks away*

(My brother has his turn and the next person comes up. We all get up to leave but [Guard #1] steps in our way.)

Guard #1: “Where are you going?”

Mother: “We’re leaving.”

Guard #1: “There are more runners in the group. Go sit down.”

Mother: “And we would have stayed to watch had we not been here all night waiting.”

Guard #1: “What?”

Mother: “[Son] was supposed to run at 11:00 pm. That was seven hours ago. I would have sat here all night and watched everyone compete, but you said we couldn’t be here.”

Guard #1: “Well, I—”

Mother: *holds up her hand* “I understand that you’re just doing your job. But I hope you understand why I’m not willing to sit here anymore.”

(My mother pushes past the man, who stands there in stunned silence as we leave. When we are just beyond the exit, the guard decides he wants the last word.)

Guard #1: “Hey! Thanks for being true fans of [Competition]! Great team spirit!”

(The next season, my brother was contacted and asked to compete again. He declined.)

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She’s Going To LOVE TrejoBot!

, , , , | Right | October 19, 2019

(I am working out at my gym on one of the recumbent bikes. Beside me, a technician is working on four of the eight treadmills. He’s sealed up two and tested them. A woman walks up and points to one of the machines still being worked on. The technician is Latino.)

Woman: “That’s my favorite.”

(The treadmill in question is still in pieces. Trying to be helpful, I point to the two that have been completed.)

Me: “These two are done. I just watched him test them.”

Woman: “I don’t trust you.”

(She gets on one treadmill and declares that the belt is uneven. I just watched as the tech check the belt with a laser; the belt was straight. She gets on the other treadmill that was serviced. After thirty seconds of walking…)

Woman: “Ugh! This belt needs to be replaced!”

Technician: “Ma’am, the machine monitors the belt and tells us when it needs a replace—”

Woman: *cutting him off* “I don’t trust robots or Mexicans.”

(She then flounces off to the free weights. As the tech is packing up, his phone rings with a song by a semi-obscure metal band I’m a big fan of. We talk about the band for a few minutes before he finishes packing his gear and leaves. As I’m finishing up on the bike, the woman comes back, wags a finger in my face, and tells me I shouldn’t talk to Mexicans.)

Me: “But he wasn’t Mexican; he’s Honduran.” *pause* “And so am I.”

(To preclude any questions, I have a Honduran mother and a Swedish-American father, so I’m light-skinned.)

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Widow Fight!

, , , , | Related | October 19, 2019

(My grandmother always has to be worse off than anyone else; she cannot understand that others have valid feelings. She and my father’s elder sister are having a disagreement one day, when she decides to pull the widow card; my grandfather passed five years ago.)

Grandmother: “You have no idea what it feels like to have lost your husband and be a widow for the rest of your life.” 

Aunt: “I lost my husband when I was forty.”

Grandmother: “That doesn’t count; you should be used to it by now.”

(I had never seen my aunt so angry before.)

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Will Not Be Influenced By The Influencer, Part 2

, , , , | Right | October 18, 2019

(I recently started working in a café in a fancy neighborhood, the kind that gets snobby ladies with their small dogs. The kitchen just closed and we’re getting the last orders out to the customers. I approach a table with two ladies sitting and give them their food.)

Customer: *snaps her fingers* “Sweetie, sorry, but I also ordered fries.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, but the kitchen gave me everything for your order. Let me just go check.”

(I highly doubt the kitchen has forgotten to make her fries, as they always closely check orders, but I check, and there’s nothing there for her. By now, the kitchen has been mostly cleaned and closed.)

Me: “Sorry, there really isn’t anything else. The kitchen is closed, but I can give you a free slice of cake after you’ve eaten, instead?”

Customer: “Ugh, no, I can’t have cake!”

Me: “Well… Should I bring you some more bread?”

Customer: “I can’t have bread, either!”

(I eye her bread bowl; she’s eating our other kind of bread so it isn’t a gluten allergy.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m out of options now.”

Customer: “But I’m going to be hungry! This isn’t enough; I wanted my fries! Young lady, I am a highly influential person on Instagram! I have over fifteen thousand followers! I just posted about being here; you’re going to lose a lot of customers! I’ll tell all of my friends!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but you didn’t want any of the options I gave you, so I don’t know what to tell you.”

Customer: “I’ll tell my fifteen thousand followers about this!”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry, but the kitchen is closed.”

(With that, I walked off and BARELY made it behind the counter before I burst into laughter. She really tried to threaten us with her fifteen thousand followers!)

Will Not Be Influenced By The Influencer

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Just Shout “WRONG” To The Lefties And Hope It Sticks  

, , , , , , , | Working | October 18, 2019

(One of our designers brings his daughter in as an “intern” over spring break as she is studying art and he wants her to get some real-world experience. Ugh, right? But no, she is great and, even though she was foisted on me, we have a great time. One day, we are making some signs from start to finish: design, print, mount, cut. We are on the last step when I notice the resident mansplainer watching us. After a few minutes, he comes over and takes the straight edge from her.)

Mansplainer: “Here. You should put it this way.”

(He puts the ruler on the line she was cutting and moves back for her to cut it with the knife she had. The intern looks at me and I shrug, with a look on my face saying, “This is totally normal. Why don’t you humour him for both of our entertainment?” She steps in, holding the ruler, then crossing her cutting arm to the far side of it in a ridiculous position.)

Mansplainer: “No, no, no. Not that way.”

(He takes the knife from her and deftly cuts the line.)

Me: “Why don’t you try it her way? Then, you can understand what she’s doing wrong better.”

Mansplainer: “Yeah.”

(I nod encouragingly at her to line up the ruler.)

Mansplainer: “Not like that. That’s wrong.”

Me: “Wait. Wait. Just try it.”

Mansplainer: “No. That’s the wrong way. You women always do it the wrong way.”

Me: “You mean lefties.”

Mansplainer: “What?”

Me: “We’re not doing it the ‘women’s way,’ we’re doing it left-handed.”

(I wasn’t training her that way; she happens to be a lefty, too.)

Mansplainer: “You always do it wrong. You’ve done it wrong since you got here.”

Me: “Wrong for you.”


Me: “Okay, then. But we’re just going to keep doing this way because it works for us.”

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