A Very Telling Conversation

, , , , , | Friendly | April 1, 2018

(I am a crossing guard. A little girl comes to my corner. Several boys are coming up the street behind her.)

Me: *to little girl* “How was your day?”

Little Girl: *silence*

Me: “Okay, you can cross. Have a nice day.”

Little Boy: “Did she tell on me?”

Me: “No, she didn’t say a word. What did you do that needs telling on?”

Little Boy: “Nothin’.”

That Snow Way To Behave

, , , , , , , | Friendly | March 29, 2018

When enough snow accumulates on the ground, there’s an unspoken rule for parking: don’t steal a shoveled space. Someone else did the hard work, and even went to the trouble of digging out a lawn chair, cone, or trash barrel to tell the world it’s saved. While some people are kind about giving up their spaces, this is only acceptable if you ask first.

After one particular snow storm when I was 16, my parents, my uncle, and I got out and shoveled. After spending roughly two hours digging out the cars and clearing the sidewalk and walkway, my uncle — who lived with us — and my mother were free to head to work. While my mother’s car was parked on a paved portion of our property, my uncle’s was parked on the street, because we only had two parking spaces and my dad had his own car. So, to protect the spot, I dug out our trash barrels and placed one into the spot as soon as my uncle pulled out.

With school cancelled and my dad retired, he and I went back inside to rest up before we had to go back out and tackle more snow. We only rested about an hour, but the snow was coming down pretty hard that day. When we got outside to check for ice, I saw our barrel perched atop a mountain of snow in our front yard. Already having a sneaking suspicion, I circled around the pile to confirm it: someone tossed our barrel out of the way and swiped the spot.

I know plenty of people who would slash tires, smash windshields, and find other ways to vandalize the car, and a few others who would be waiting around the car with a few friends. I took a more civilized approach. After tossing the barrel into my backyard, I began deconstructing the mountain in my front yard and used it to bury the spot again, car and all. I didn’t stop until the snow was as high as it was when the four of us found it that morning.

If this person wanted this spot so badly, then they could do the work for it.

It Doesn’t Take A Rocket Scientist To Work Here… But It Helps

, , , , , | Working | March 26, 2018

(I, along with another new staff member, have just begun a job at the museum of a well-known institute of technology in Massachusetts that has numbered buildings. The manager is showing us how to use the POS system on the cash register, which we will need to sell admission tickets to museum visitors.)

Manager: *showing basic features* “…and when you’re ready to process the payment, you hit the ‘payment’ button. It’s a cash register, not rocket science.”

Me: “What building is rocket science in?”

Manager: *without missing a beat* “Building 17.”

Other New Hire: “How about brain surgery?”

Manager: “Neuroscience is Building 46.”

Me: “Nanotechnology?”

(This went on for a few more rounds and the manager knew the campus like the back of his hand. Working at a place that genuinely had rocket science took the old saying to a whole new level!)

Less Than A Fifty-Fifty Chance That Would Have Worked

, , , , | Right | March 23, 2018

(I’m alone in the small shop where I work when a customer comes in. Right away I get a bad feeling from him; he’s avoiding eye contact and acting nervous. After a few minutes he comes up to the counter with a couple of random items. I ring up his purchases, keeping an eye on him. I give him his total and he gives me a twenty-dollar bill. With my left hand, I reach into the cash drawer, take out his change, and hand it to him.)

Customer: “Hey! I gave you a fift…”

(He trails off when he notices that I’m still holding up the twenty in my right hand.)

Customer: “Oh.”

Me: “Yeah.”

(I have never seen anyone leave a store so quickly in all my life.)

A Different Kind Of Humanitarian Tour

, , , , , | Hopeless | March 18, 2018

(I’m a woman in my early 20s, and I decide to try traveling alone for the first time after finding a cheap flight to Massachusetts. I’ve always wanted to see Cape Cod, so my plan is to fly into Boston and then take a bus out to Provincetown. Right off the bat, the trip does not go well. Among other things, a woman on the plane tries to steal my clearly labelled backpack and has to be stopped by the flight attendant, and a man literally pushes me into the street to be the first one onto the bus. By the time I finally arrive in Provincetown, I’m exhausted and miserable and wondering if I made a mistake, but I came all this way, so I decide to at least get a drink before collapsing. While at the bar, I start chatting with a guy there with a bunch of his friends, and he mentions he works for a local whale-watching company.)

Guy: “If you’re only in town for a few days, you should definitely go. It’s probably the coolest thing to do in town.”

Me: “Yeah, it looked neat, but I’m not sure; the tickets were kind of pricey.”

Guy: “Oh, that’s no good! You can’t miss out on it just because of that! Go down to the pier tomorrow and tell them [Guy] sent you, and they’ll hook you up.”

(I thank him, and the conversation soon drifts in another direction. I’m not sure how serious the offer was, but I figure why not, so the next morning I head down to the pier and the ticket booth.)

Ticket Seller: “Hi, can I help you?”

Me: “Yeah, I’d like to get a ticket to the next whale-watching trip, please. [Guy] sent me down here; I was talking to him last night and he said it was absolutely not to be missed.”

Ticket Seller: “Oh, you’re a friend of [Guy]’s?”

Me: “Kind of? I met him in a bar last night.”

Ticket Seller: “Totally counts! He wouldn’t have sent you here if he didn’t like you. Which bar was it?”

(I tell him, and immediately get the impression that I’ve given him the best gossip of the month.)

Ticket Seller: “Oooh, [Guy] was at [Bar]? He hasn’t been back there since the breakup! Wait ‘til tell [Friend]!”

(He hands me a ticket and pulls out his cell phone.)

Me: “Wait, how much do I owe you?”

Ticket Seller: “On the house, m’dear. You’re a friend of [Guy]’s, and you just brought me the best gossip I’ve heard all day; that’s well worth a tour. Just make sure to tip the crew.”

(The tour was completely amazing, and I did indeed make sure to tip the crew well. It was like the conversation in the bar flipped a switch, and for the rest of the trip, everyone around me was so nice, I started to wonder if it was a town-wide prank or if I’d accidentally landed in a Disney movie or something. The locals cheerfully directed me to the best beaches and restaurants, usually with the offer of a ride from a friend who was heading that way. Complete strangers checked to make sure I was enjoying myself, pulled me out onto the dance floor, invited me to join their group heading to a club or karaoke, or insisted on walking me back to my hotel if I turned them down. If I stopped at a bakery or chocolate shop, half the time, there was an extra cookie or chocolate thrown in with whatever I’d ordered. And when I was disappointed that I’d waited too long to go for a walk along the point and night was falling, a quite lovely elderly couple lent me a flashlight and invited me to dinner when I came to return it. Anytime I asked, or expressed amazement at just how genuinely nice everyone was, the answer was always the same: “Well, it’s almost the end of tourist season, we might as well. And besides, we like people here!” Despite my initial misgivings, it was an amazing trip, made so by a bunch of seriously amazing people, and I can’t wait to go back!)

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