Children Take Note Of When You Take Notes

| Right | January 25, 2013

(I am at small cupcake store. I have Php100 (around $2.50), which is the exact amount for the two cupcakes I purchase. Next to me is a shifty woman with two rowdy kids. I order and leave my money on the counter. When I get my cupcakes, the money is gone, so I assume my cupcakes are paid. I’m about to leave, when the store owner says she hasn’t received payment.)

Me: “I already paid, miss. I left the money on the counter.”

(She looks down on the counter, and on the floor, but it isn’t there. I am about to take out another 100, doubting if my memory was fine or if the money flew away, when the owner makes a small gaze at the other woman, who quickly notices it.)

Lady: “So, what? You’re blaming me? Why am I to be responsible for some girl who’s whiter? Does that mean she’s not going to cheat you? She didn’t leave any money on the counter!”

(In the Philippines, like America, there’s some racism on the skin color as well. I’m unnaturally white for a Filipino, which hints to everyone about my Spanish ancestry. I’m part Spanish, but dominantly Filipino. Anyone with light skin are automatically assumed to be of Spanish heritage while tan and darker are pure Filipino ancestry. Because of the Spanish colonization back in the early day, some still believe that Spanish-lineage people look down on Filipinos. The lady goes on a rant about how hard her life is as a mother of two, and refuses to be a victim of a, as she puts it, a Spaniard. I keep a cool and unemotional face, but the owner, who triggered the woman’s anger, begins cowering. Finally, her little boy, who looks like he would want nothing more than to leave the kiosk and find a bathroom, butts in.)

Boy: “Mom, I really have to pee. Can’t you just give them back the money you got on the counter a while ago and we can go?”

(The mom’s face turns red, grabs her bag, dumps a crumpled 100 on the counter, turns on her heel, and leaves with her nose in the air.)

Me: “Merry Christmas!”

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Powers

, , , , , , , | Right | January 14, 2013

(I’m half-Chinese, but with my sunglasses on, people usually can’t tell. I’m fluent in Mandarin. One day I get a text from my friend, a grade-school teacher.)

Friend: “You speak Chinese, right?”

Me: “Yeah, why?”

Friend: “Come down to [intersection] around noon and explain what the f*** is going on.”

(At my lunch break I head down there. On one side of the street is a crowd of school kids, while on the other side an elderly Chinese man with an ice cream cart.)

Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

Kid #2: “No way.”

Kid #1: “Yeah way. I’m fast enough!”

Kid #2: “You’re not Chinese.”

Kid #1: “So?”

Kid #2: “Only [Chinese Name] can do it.”

Kid #1: “I’m gonna do it.”

(Kid #1 dashes across the street, yanks back the cover of the cart, and grabs a handful of ice cream. He takes off, but the vendor catches him, pinning both arms behind his back.)

Vendor: “Ah, three bars? Your total is $9.28.”

Kid #1: “Lemme go!”

(The vendor removes some money from the kid’s pocket with his free hand.)

Vendor: “Cash paid is $20.”

Kid #1: “Yeah, yeah, I know the drill.”

(While still holding the struggling kid, the vendor deposits the $20 in his till and takes out change.)

Vendor: “Your change is $10.72.”

(The vendor puts the change and ice creams in a bag and hands them to the kid, who takes off.)

Vendor: “Have a nice day!”

Kid #2: “Told you.”

Kid #1: “Fine! Okay, [Chinese Name], you do it!”

(A short Chinese boy steps forward. His clothes are patched and despite the weather, he’s not wearing a coat.)

Chinese Kid: “Let us meditate… on the way of the wind.”

(He strikes a ridiculous pose and exhales loudly. The other kids jump back.)

Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the snake…”

(New pose, hissing loudly. The others back away even more.)

Chinese Kid: “…on the way of the hawk.”

(He flaps his arms and jumps in a circle. The kids are a good twenty feet away now.)

Chinese Kid: “The meditation is done.”

(He runs up to the ice cream vendor and grabs a handful of bars. The vendor strikes him with an exaggerated karate chop which the kid easily blocks.)

Chinese Kid: *flees, speaking Chinese* “Thank you, Mr. [Vendor]!”

Vendor: *shakes his fist angrily, also in Chinese* “Sorry we are out of lime today!”

(The Chinese kid kicks towards the vendor from across the street.)

Chinese Kid: “My mother says she hopes your leg feels better!”

Vendor: *red-faced with rage* “It does! Tell her thank you for the tea!”

(The kids are enthralled. As they eat the ice cream, I approach the vendor.)

Me: *in Chinese* “What just happened?”

Vendor: “Oh… you understood. That little boy is a new immigrant, and all the other children mocked him because he is small and weak. He told them Chinese people have special powers, and they beat him up and told him to prove it. But I overheard and whispered to him to rob me. Now we have a deal.”

Me: “How wonderful!” *pointing behind him* “Hey, can you tell what that is?”

(As he turns around, I drop some money on the cart and grab a bar of ice cream, fleeing.)

Vendor: “You forgot your change!”

Me: *shakes my fist* “It’s a tip!”

Kids: “Whoa! How did you do that?”

(I slip off my sunglasses. The Chinese kid bows to me and I bow back.)

Kid #2: “Told you they have special powers. Never bully a Chinese kid, man. Never!”

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It Pays to Be Not Always Right

, | Right | October 29, 2012

(I’m the customer at a drink concession stand at a music festival. Sodas are $2 and special flavored waters (watermelon or blackberry) are $3.)

Me: “I’ll have a Sprite.”

Cashier: “We are all out of Sprite, sorry.”

Me: “Dang. I’d like a [brand of flavored water], but I only have $2. I’ll have a Coke.”

Cashier: “Would you like Blackberry or Watermelon?”

Me: “Coke.”

Cashier: “Blackberry or Watermelon?”

Me: “COKE.”

Cashier: *very slowly, with a knowing look on her face* “Blackberry or Watermelon?”

Me: “COKE!”

Another Cashier: *to me* “She’s trying to give you the water for the price of the soda.”

Me: “Oh! Er, Blackberry.”

Cashier: “There we go!”

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A-tip-ical Aging

, | Right | October 5, 2012

(I’m a woman and manager at a sausage/beer stand. I card everyone that orders beer, regardless of how old they look. Some customers get insulted, while others don’t mind. Note: I look at least 10 years younger than my actual age.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Customer: “I’d like two beers, polish, and a coke.”

Me: “May I see some ID, please?”

Customer: “I’m waaay older than you. How old do I look?”

(He looks in his mid-30s, so I guess much earlier in age.)

Me: “Uh, 24?”

Customer: “Haha! NO!”

(He shows me his ID, and his birth date makes him over 35.)

Me: “Wow, you don’t look it.”

Customer: “How old are you?”

Me: “I’m 47.”

Customer: *skeptically* “Sure… you can’t be any older than 30. Okay, show me YOUR ID.”

Me: “Okay…”

(I pull out my ID. Much to his surprise, he sees I’m older than he is.)

Customer: “HOLY S***! WOW! You look great! Good genes, huh?”

Me: *smiling* “Yeah, something like that…”

(He pays for his order, but also puts an additional $10 bill on the counter.)

Customer: “This tip is for putting up with me!”

(Made my night!)

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Please Pound Into Her Head We Don’t Use Dollars

| Right | August 28, 2012

(A tourist in front of me just ordered a coffee.)

Cashier: “That will be £6.10, please.”

Tourist: *hands him two USD $5 bills*

Cashier: “We only accept English sterling.”

Tourist: “So, you don’t take dollar bills?”

Cashier: “No, only English sterling.”

Tourist: *to her husband* “I can’t believe it! They only accept English sterling!”

Another Customer: “Well, it’s ENGLAND!”

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