It’s Payback Time… Literally

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 15, 2019

(I am broke, living with my broke friends. We won some tickets to an event in another city, and a well-off relative of mine is paying for a hotel stay for me, but he has asked for my friends to contribute their fair share back. This is easily agreed upon by everyone involved, with an invoice/contract for fairness’s sake. But, naturally, it can’t be that easy. [Friend #1] pays her share right away, [Friend #2] is paying in a couple of paychecks from now, and [Friend #3] is turning into trouble. [Friend #3] is the only one of us with a full-time job, and she is only living with us because she is fighting with her boyfriend. This takes place a few months after the event.)

Friend #3: “It’s no big deal; I’ll pay at the next paycheck.”

Me: “Okay, [Relative] is getting really impatient. You promised you’d pay him last month.”

Friend #3: *scoff and rolls eyes* “Well, I had expenses! The next check is Friday.”

(What she had was a fancy manicure, several new foreign comic books, two new video games, and five character plushies.)

Me: “Then, we’ll meet with him on Monday. Be ready so we can make it quick.”

(Over the weekend, [Friend #3] brags about her new anime plushies — which she bought on Saturday — has an entirely different manicure with acrylic nails and glitter-glaze, and has some new mid-range designer clothes, and her room REEKS of reefer. On Monday, [Friend #3] refuses to come to visit my relative.)

Friend #3: *shrugs and clicks her fake fingernails together idly* “I don’t have the money. I had bills to pay, so he can wait.”

(I’m pissed at this point, because my friend’s debt is causing tension in my relationship with the one relative who ever so much as tried being kind to me after I came out. I don’t reply; I just walk to [Friend #3]’s room and grab the nearest shopping bag of brand-name consumerist garbage, still new with tags. I check what’s in the bag to find four $60 figurines of popular anime characters.)

Me: *fake smile* “I’m sure this’ll be enough. I’ll just return these for you since you need to pay back your debts and you didn’t need to buy anime character figurines.”

([Friend #3] sputters and grunts; she can’t even come up with an argument. She follows me as I load the bag into my car. Just as I sit in the driver’s seat, she gets into the car.)

Friend #3: *dejected and quiet* “Take me to [Bank], please.”

(She got out the right amount of cash, so I let her have her stuff back and took her home. I brought the cash to the relative alone to avoid drama, but then he was upset with me because I couldn’t convince him that it was her money. He still thinks I covered for her. [Friend #3] helped herself to literally all the food in the house as revenge and gave it to her boyfriend, who she moved back in with. The rest of us were forced to go hungry for the next two weeks.)

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Dependent On Some Better Advice

, , , , | Related | January 21, 2019

(I’m nineteen and visiting my dad. I’m having trouble getting a part-time job to pay for college with, in part because nothing pays high enough and in part because any callbacks I’ve had make it clear they’ll refuse to let me take hours that accommodate my classes. I’m venting to him about it. My dad has worked for the same company for thirty years at this point.)

Me: “I just don’t know what else I can do to make myself clear and respected enough. I’m happy to work any hours excluding five per day when shops are usually slow anyway. I’m happy to work weekends or nights. But it’s like as soon as the manager hears I’m in college, they’ll suddenly only want me during the morning-to-afternoon of weekdays.”

Dad: *while reading over my resume and cover letter* “It looks good to me, but I don’t know squat.”

Me: “Huh?”

Dad: “Times have changed. The way everybody wants things done has changed, too. I haven’t applied for a job since I was your age. I know the Internet changed basically everything. Heck, I can’t even pay the bills without signing up for the utility company’s website.”

Me: “Oh, well, I guess that’s true. It’s just that mom’s advice was awful. She kept driving me around to make me ‘pound the pavement’ and apply in-person, but nobody takes walk-ins anyway. It’s embarrassing and frustrating. The people who work at the places I apply to give me weird looks. I thought because you’re smarter than mom…”

Dad: *laughs* “Hey, not really. But it’s funny she’s acting so ignorant about this, since she’s changed her career five times since you were born. Just do the opposite of whatever she says. Because she probably did the opposite of what she’s telling you. My guess is she wants you to fail to get a job, so you’re forced to stay with her, so she can get the tax benefits for a dependent.”

(How right he was! It’s a shame his house was full to the brim of my step-siblings or else I’d have moved in with him. Even after I moved to another state, my mother kept calling me around tax season to try to threaten and wear me down so she could claim me on her taxes. But that’s a story for another time!)

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Problem Customer Number Two

, , , , , | Right | October 29, 2018

(I am working at an independent gas station in the nineties. There not many shops in the area, and this is the only one open 24 hours. I am working the rare morning shift during the busy tourist season — the station is near a lake — and it’s just me and the manager. A customer comes up.)

Customer #1: “You might want to check the bathroom.”

(I do, and some lovely customer has liquid-pooped all over the small bathroom. That stuff covers from the ground up to four feet, even above the handicap bars and sink. The customer was also nice enough to leave his stinky underwear in the middle of floor. I get out and yell for the manager. He comes by.)

Me: “You might want to look in the bathroom.”

(He does and walks right out. He looks at me, and I look at him. He gets a quarter from his pocket and we flip on who is cleaning the bathroom. I lose. He goes to the booth to ring a customer up. I prop open the door, snake the outdoor hose in, and douse everything in bleach. While I’m doing this, a customer comes up.)

Customer #2: “I need to use the bathroom.”

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, the bathroom is closed for cleaning.”

Customer #2: “I really, really need to use the bathroom.”

(Mind you, the store is beginning to smell of bleach and poo.)

Me: “Again, sorry, ma’am, but the bathroom is closed. There is a fast food joint next door and a grocery store down the street.”

Customer #2: “I REALLY NEED TO USE THE BATHROOM!”

Me: “Ma’am, SOMEONE TOOK A S*** ALL OVER THERE! IT AIN’T GOING TO BE OPEN FOR ANOTHER HOUR!”

(The customer squeaks and turns around, then goes to the manager and complains. He is laughing over the conversation, and when she does complain, he says:)

Manager: “How did you not smell that?”

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The Mother Of All “Phases”

, , , , , , | Related | October 15, 2018

(I am 18. I live with my family. I have recently started dating a woman. I am a woman and identify as such at the time. My girlfriend has been my best friend for four years by this point, and my family already loves how respectful and helpful she is. As such, I assume that “coming out” won’t be a big deal. My girlfriend, my mother, my stepfather and I are in the room. I’m only including the most interesting parts of this event.)

Me: *after long conversation and lead-up* “So, after [Ex-Boyfriend] tried to hit me, then stormed off, [Girlfriend] said that she loves me and doesn’t want to see me hurt like that. I told her I didn’t have an answer yet, but it’s been four months, and we’re dating now; we started dating a couple weeks ago and it’s going well.”

Mom: *dramatically rolls her eyes* “Okay, whatever. It doesn’t matter. It won’t last.”

Girlfriend: *patient as a saint* “What makes you think so?”

Mom: *to girlfriend* “She isn’t a lesbian. This is a phase. Listen. We love having you around. We don’t care what you’re doing when the doors are closed. But don’t put your hopes up; I’d hate for my daughter to hurt you.”

Me: *angry* “It doesn’t even matter how I identify sexually. I love [Girlfriend] emotionally. You told me love is what matters most.”

(The conversation tapers off. Four years after, my girlfriend and I move in together, and sometime after that we get engaged. Throughout the whole time, my mother occasionally asks if we’ve broken up yet. We move a thousand miles away from my mother. A few weeks after the tenth year of our dating anniversary, we decide to get married, due to fear of marriage equality being abolished by a change of political control. I inform my mother that we are eloping and do not have time or money to have a proper wedding.)

Me: “We are eloping on [date], to make sure we can before the right is taken from us. We will send you pictures later.”

Mom: “HOW DARE YOU GET MARRIED WHEN I CAN’T EVEN BE THERE?!”

(She begins calling and texting several times.)

Me: *pissed off* “You weren’t even going to be invited if we had a proper wedding. You uninvited yourself after saying you didn’t think we’d last!”

(I had to block my mother’s phone number for a few weeks after that, but thankfully any relatives she told about the situation agreed with me, even the homophobic ones!)

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Feeding The Flames Of Bad Parenting

, , , , , | Related | October 6, 2018

(I am seven. A couple of months after the carnival, I become very ill. I’m so ill that I’m taken to the hospital and stay there overnight with medicine and IVs. This is, understandably, upsetting and frightening. My mother is the one who takes me there, but as soon as the staff are done asking questions, she leaves. I ask the nurse to call my dad, and he visits me. Shortly after he arrives, I suffer a grand mal seizure and get taken for an emergency surgery, since I’ve injured myself. I wake up hours later.)

Me: “Dad, what happened? Why does it hurt?”

Dad: *doing his best to keep me calm and explain how a child could understand* “It’s okay now. You got too hot from being sick, so your body panicked. And when your body panicked, you got hurt. The doctor fixed it. But hey, since you’ve been so good, I called your mom and she said she’s on her way with chicken nuggets.”

Me: *satisfied by the answer, but a little grumpy* “Okay, I guess. Can you stay while I read?”

Dad: *smiles* “Okay, let me know if you find a hard word.”

(Two hours pass. We are both hungry.)

Me: “Did Mom drive to another city?”

Dad: “She shouldn’t have. I’ll page her.”

(My father uses a payphone to page my mother. She arrives twenty minutes later, dressed like a jazz singer, in a flashy dress with a slit up to the hip, with makeup, jewelry, and perfume on. This is strange because she never wears perfume or dresses formally without reason. A man in a button-up shirt is with her but waits outside the room.)

Mom: *maximum sass and attitude* “What? I was on my way. Why couldn’t you just wait?”

Dad: “It’s eight pm; you know we usually have her fed by seven pm. She was worried. I called you hours ago. Where were you?”

Mom: *sighs indignantly* “I had a job interview!

Dad: “Since when do you go to job interviews with perfume and a dress that’s cut up to the hip?”

Mom: *shouts* “Since I said! Now shut up and eat.”

(She throws the bag of food across my legs. Being hungry, I grab what is obviously meant for me and take a bite.)

Me: *sad* “It’s cold.”

(I put my food back in the bag, grossed out.)

Mom: “Well, if you waste it, I’ll make you wish you’ll have to stay here longer! So eat!”

Dad: *takes the bags off of my legs* “No. If she doesn’t want to eat food that’s been sitting out long enough to get cold, she doesn’t have to. Kids have instincts about stuff like this. What if she is this sick because you forced her to eat bad food already?”

Mom: *smirks, then turns to face the hall and shouts* “HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE ME OF CHILD ABUSE! YOU’RE THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GET HER ANY FOOD!”

Man In Button-Up Shirt: *impatient, speaking to my mother* “Come on. Let’s just go. We are going to miss the movie!”

(Yes, my dad did get investigated. However, it was determined that it wasn’t unreasonable of him to trust that my own mother would bring edible food after agreeing to get dinner! And the man in the button-up shirt who waited for her? He became my stepfather within a year.)

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