The Only Help You Need Is To Get Away

, , , , , | Friendly | May 30, 2018

(I’m walking from the bus stop down a quiet residential street around 11 at night. I’m dressed like an average college student; I’m in a sweater and pants with a backpack, and I have a reusable bag with some shopping on my shoulder. The particular street section I’m on has no sidewalks, so I’m walking at the edge of the road by the parked cars. The street is completely deserted, but suddenly a truck shows up from somewhere, stops by me, and starts crawling along.)

Male Driver: *shouting at me* “Do you need help?”

(I’m weirded out and don’t answer, just keep walking.)

Male Driver: *shouting* “Do you need help?”

(I don’t answer.)

Male Driver: *shouting insistently* “Hey! Hey! Do you need help?”

(The truck is following along with me. I glance over; it’s a white, middle-aged guy, and maybe my eyes were just playing tricks on me in the dark but I’d swear he is wearing a cowboy hat. Any way you slice it, I want absolutely nothing to do with him. Meanwhile, he keeps on shouting, “Do you need help?” on endless repeat. I scuttle away from him, off the road toward the lawn of one of the houses, while giving him a very obvious freaked-out look in order to send a clear message: I’m not going to come anywhere near your truck in a million years, dude, and if you try anything, I’m going to run and start knocking on doors here for help. He finally gets the message and drives off. A couple of days later, I’m walking on that street again at the same time, in similar clothes and with my shopping bag, and when I get to the same exact part of the street, which is again deserted, a four-door car comes by and stops near me.)

Female Driver: *shouting at me* “Do you need help?”

(I glance sideways surreptitiously. This time, it’s a 35- to 45-year-old white woman, possibly with someone sitting in her passenger seat, but I can’t see clearly enough to be sure. I ignore her and walk on.)

Female Driver: *shouting* “Do you need help?”

(I don’t respond.)

Female Driver: *shouting* “Do you need help?”

(Boy, is she persistent. I walk past her car while making a decent pretence of being distracted by my phone. I also have earbuds in.)

Female Driver: *leaning out her car window and calling after me* “Do you need help? Do you need help? Do you need help? Do you need help? Do you need help? Do you need help?” *all while sounding inexplicably more and more entreating and outright desperate*

(I kid you not, I thought she’d fall out that window with how she was stretching toward me, and she didn’t stop calling after me until I finally walked out of sight. In the moment, the best way I could think of dealing with the weirdness was just acting like I didn’t see or hear her at all. Anyway, I don’t really think it was that safe to come up to talk to her on a deserted street just because she’s a woman. I’ve been wondering on and off if the man and woman were married or siblings or the like; it was way too much of a coincidence for two people to act identically within a couple of days of each other, on the exact same stretch of the street. For the record, I live a five minute walk from there. It’s MY neighborhood, just as much as theirs — if they even lived there themselves and weren’t just super-weird visitors. The only “help” I ever need while walking in my own neighbourhood, regardless of time of day or night, is figuring out a good way of getting rid of these sorts of creepy busybodies, without putting myself in danger by talking to them. Please don’t ever do things like this to someone just because they’re walking on some street alone at night; all this accomplishes is freaking us out and really annoying us.)

Checked Out A Long Time Ago

, , , , , | Right | April 26, 2018

(I’m a librarian, working at a college library’s reference desk. This happens in 2008.)

Patron: “Where’d the lending library go?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Patron: “You used to have a lending library: a cart with books to take and read on the honor system.”

Me: “That sounds like our entire library.”

Patron: “No, you could take a book without checking it out, then bring it back later. Where’s the cart? Did you move it?”

Me: “I’ve been here for two years, and I don’t think we’ve had anything like that in my time here. When did you last use it?”

Patron: “1987.”

Can’t Even Get Past Level One

, , , , , | Working | March 19, 2018

(I work in the video game industry. My coworkers and I are attending a large, well-known entertainment expo that has been opened to the public for the first time this year. While other people we’ve talked to have griped about this, largely I haven’t noticed a difference apart from trying to get through more crowds to my meetings. That changes when I sit down in the food court around lunch time and get approached by a guy wearing a green general public admission badge. My badge is blue, indicating I’m part of the industry.)

Guy: “Hey, can I ask you a question?”

Me: “Oh, um, sure.”

Guy: “How do I get a job like yours?”

Me: “You want to be a producer?”

Guy: “Well, or whatever. I’m just really passionate about video games and I knew this would be my big chance.”

(At this point, I am several days into the event, I’m exhausted from work and running from meeting to meeting, and I just want to have a quiet lunch, but I also want to be polite and supportive.)

Me: “Well… I mean, first you should probably figure out exactly what you want to do, and then research what that job typically entails so you can see what skills you might be missing and plan how to fill in those gaps. You can fi—”

Guy: *impatiently* “Give me your email. I’ll send you my resume.”

Me: *taken aback* “Well, we’re not looking to hire right now, but if you want to g—”

Guy: *slamming his palms angrily on the table, causing other people to turn around* “Then send it around to other companies! Help me get in the door! Pay it forward!”

Me: “Look, if you want to get a job in the industry, you sh—”

Guy: “Oh, my God.” *rolling his eyes* “Do me a solid or shut up, lady!” *spins around and storms off* “Elitist f***!”

(I’m more confused than anything else. I make eye contact with a table full of other industry folks sitting across from me, looking equally dumbfounded.)

Industry Guy: “Lesson one to get a job in video games… or any job, really. Don’t be that guy!”

Unfiltered Story #107367

, , | Unfiltered | March 16, 2018

(It was May 4th, Star Wars Day when this took place. I’m in a group boot camp with my trainer. He has been my trainer for some years, and we are both in our late 20s. He and all the boot camp members know I’m a nerd and be sarcastic to the trainer. We were doing our after-workout stretch as our cool down, and this gem presented itself. )

Boot Camp Member: Any exciting plans today, Personal trainer?
Personal Trainer: Yup! My wife and I are going to watch the Original Star Wars today for Star Wars Day!
(All the members give him a blank stare, and I can tell he is about to explain, so I raise my hand in a Vulcan salute and say:)
Me: May the Force be with you!
Everyone turns and it clicks, there are some laughs. My trainer calmly stops his stopwatch.
Personal Trainer: Okay we are done, except (my name) you have twenty burpees.

(Thankfully I knew he was joking, but for a second I did think he was serious).

Keeping Abnormal Psychology At Arm’s Length

, , , , , , , | Learning | March 14, 2018

(My teacher shares this story that took place several years ago, when she was beginning to teach. Although she gives out study guides, she’s always been very strict with tests, and this was one of the reasons of why.)

Teacher: *as she’s passing out tests* “Take everything off of your desks besides your writing utensil. If you haven’t already, turn your phones off. Before I give you a test, you have to show me your hands. I already went over this last class, but I will reiterate: If I see you on your phone, you will get an automatic fail. If I see your book open or out, you will get an automatic fail. If I see anything written on your hands, you will fail. If I suspect you of cheating at all, I will rip up your test and fail you. Is that clear? Are there any questions before you begin?”

(A student sitting in the front row, practically beside her, raises his hand.)

Teacher: “Yes?”

Student: *somewhat smugly* “You mentioned if they wrote on their hands. You forgot about if they wrote the answer on their arms.”

(She thinks the statement is a bit odd, as she will be watching her students to make sure they aren’t cheating, anyway, but thinks that’s fair to include.)

Teacher: “Hmm, good point. I guess I hadn’t thought about that. Would you care to roll up your sleeves for me to check?”

Student: *goes white and withdraws hand* “Uh… No?”

Teacher: “…”

(Turns out, the same student had written answers all over his arms. How he thought he would get away with that during the test, let alone pointing it out to the teacher at all, was baffling. As a Psychology professor, however, she found it oddly fitting or at least incredibly interesting that this flawed logic was present in her class of Abnormal Psychology. The student still failed, obviously.)

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