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!)

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?”

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!)

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.)

Wish He Could Just Sell Him On eBay

, , , , , , , | Related | October 1, 2018

(I’m twelve-ish. A fast food company is doing a special event for collectable items — gold plated cards in decorative cases themed for a cartoon and card game. I want them, and my mother thinks they look nice for decor for my room, so we make sure to get all six variants. They get placed in a trunk in my room while I reorganize the space. It takes a few days, but I go to get them out of the trunk to find they’re gone. I am very upset about this. I pass by the family computer to see my step-dad has left the web browser on his eBay sales page, where he has just sold a set of the six collectables. Knowing we only had the one set, which was mine, I print a copy of the page to confront him when he gets home from work.)

Me: *upset and yelling* “What made you think this was okay? You stole from me! What is wrong with you?!”

Step-Dad: *lying* “I don’t know why you’re talking about. Leave me alone.”

Me: *shows him the printed page, without letting him touch it* “You need to call the post office and request the shipment to be returned to sender, and you need to refund the buyer. Now! I know how it works. You do it now!

Step-Dad: *laughs mockingly* “No, you don’t order me around.”

Me: “Fine. Then I’ll just tell Mom you’re a dirty thief who steals from children. Have you been gambling again? Are you covering up the missing money by stealing from me?”

Step-Dad: *stops laughing and looks serious* “If you f****** dare bring her into this, I’ll–”

Me: *speaking over him, totally unconvinced because he’s a coward in all respects* “Oh, so you want to go to prison for threatening a child, now? After stealing from said child? Please. Do it.” *opens arms* “Hit me, dirtbag! I don’t even care if it hurts. I want you to get out of my life; if I can do it by sending you to prison for child abuse that’s fine by me!”

(He storms off to his and my mother’s bedroom. I call her emergency work number.)

Mom: *angry* “What is it? This had better be an emergency; you know better than to call me at work!”

Me: “It is. Your husband threatened my safety when I confronted him for stealing from me. I have proof of the theft. If you don’t come and handle it, he will go to jail tonight.”

Mom: *deflates, softly* “Uh… Okay. I’ll be home in thirty minutes. Take the dog and lock yourself in your room.”

(I did so, and she came home. I showed her the printed page, and she forced him to let her onto his eBay account so she could confirm it. They had a huge fight but tragically didn’t divorce. He didn’t get my collectables back. It’s been about 15 years since then, and I live far enough away that my mother only speaks to me on my terms now. I said that on top of whatever my mother wanted to send me for my upcoming birthday, that my step-dad needs to send me a birthday gift for the first time in my entire life… I think you can guess what I asked for, but now they’re 10 to 20 times the price he received for them, and much rarer! Time will tell if he’s still a dirty thief or if my mother is finally ready to make him do the right thing for once.)

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