The Language Of Disrespect

, , , , , , , | Working | August 3, 2018

(I’m a Caucasian woman, but as my stepfather is Indian, I speak fluent Punjabi. I regularly catch taxis for work, which are charged to a work account. I book a taxi four hours before I want to travel. The taxi is thirty-five minutes late. When I get in, the driver is on the phone through bluetooth — which runs through the radio — talking in Punjabi. He offers no explanation on why he is late. I give my destination, which he doesn’t comment on; he just keeps on talking, but starts driving. As the trip progresses, he is still on his phone commenting, among other things, about me.)

Driver: *in Punjabi* “I’m taking a b**** to [Destination], then I’ll get lunch.”

(I decide to record the conversation on my phone and start taking down his license number and the taxi number.)

Driver: *in English* “What are you doing?”

Me: “Just writing some notes for my meeting. Are you going to spend the whole trip on the phone? It’s incredibly rude and unprofessional, and it is giving me a headache.”

Driver: *in Punjabi* “This stupid, white b**** wants me off the phone. I’ll take her the long way and make her pay. I’ll call you back once I drop the [insult] off.”

Driver: *in English* “I was talking to my brother. We have many taxis and are coordinating our drivers. I’m trying to make a living here.”

Me: “If you have many drivers, why were you thirty-five minutes late? And I fully understand you’re trying to make a living, but if I turned up over half an hour late without so much as an apology or explanation, completely ignored the client, and then spent fifteen minutes on the phone, I wouldn’t have my job.”

(He looks at me angrily, but says nothing and continues driving. When his phone rings again…)

Driver: *in English* “This is my wife. It could be an emergency.”

Me: *giving him the benefit of the doubt* “Fine, but please make it quick.”

Driver: *in Punjabi* “Hi, sorry, I’ve got some white [insult] who thinks she’s too good and doesn’t want me on the phone. A man needs to teach the b**** a lesson.”

Me: *in Punjabi* “Pull over, now! I’ve had enough. I’ll be making a complaint and making sure my boss does, too.”

Driver: *in Punjabi* “You understand?”

Me: *still in perfect Punjabi* “Yes, I do. Now pull over.”

(The driver pulls over and stops the metre.)

Driver: “Okay, that’s [amount way higher than the metre].”

Me: “Seriously? One, it’s on an account. Two, that’s not what the metre showed, and three, after what just happened, you expect me to pay?”

Driver: *now really angry, locks the door* “You discriminate against me. Pay the fare; otherwise, I’ll call the police.”

Me: “Call the police. You’re holding me against my will. Plus, it should all be recorded.” *I point to a mandatory camera that by law should record audio and video* “I think they would be interested in what has happened.”

(He unlocked the door. I quickly got out and he took off. I called my boss to explain what had happened. My boss sent a coworker to get me. I filed a complaint with the cops and the taxi company. It turns out he was already under investigation for similar incidents and for not having the camera hooked up. He tried to say I had offered him sex in return for a free ride, then called him racist slurs and threatened to kill him. Luckily, I had enough of the trip recorded on my phone. He was charged with numerous offenses, including holding me against my will.)

Some People Are Half A Cookie Away From Crumbling

, , , , | Right | July 26, 2018

(I am a fellow customer in this story. It’s a busy night at a popular fast food outlet linked to a major railway station. I am next in line to be served, but the cashier has had to momentarily help out the staff making food. Everyone is waiting patiently. The whole kitchen process is visible to everyone on the street outside waiting to order or pick up. I have also worked in both retail and food service extensively in the past. A well-dressed woman, in her 50s or 60s, sidles up beside me. Thinking that she’ll work out that there’s a sizeable queue behind me any second, I say nothing to her and order my food. The woman takes a cookie from a jar on the counter and begins to eat it.)

Cashier: *noticing, smiles at the woman* “Hey there, just please keep in mind that the cookies aren’t free.”

Woman: *offended* “I’m going to pay for it!”

(She takes another bite and then opens the jar and puts the half-eaten cookie back in. I look around to the people behind me in shock; everyone just stares at her.)

Woman: *begins to order food*

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am; there’s a queue to order food.”

Woman: *scowls at me* “I’ve been here for ages! It’s my turn now! I’ve been here for ages.”

Me: *not in the mood to tolerate such a childish lie, knowing that the cashier won’t feel comfortable to contradict her* “You have not been here for ages. Please get to the back of the queue and wait your turn.”

(The woman continues to argue with me.)

Customers Behind Me: *taps me on shoulder* “Thank you for trying, but don’t worry. Just let her go.”

(The woman orders her food, making several corrections and alterations, making everyone wait longer. The cashier doesn’t even charge her for the half-eaten cookie, which has ended up in the bin along with the rest of the jar. I am standing patiently to the side waiting for my food. The woman unnecessarily stands less than a foot away from me.)

Woman: *sneers* “You’re a sticky-nose, aren’t you?”

Me: *looks at her, stony-faced*

Woman: “You don’t come into the city very often, do you?”

Me: *another stony glance before pointedly ignoring her*

Woman: “Nobody would notice you without your stupid hair and stuff through your lip…” *referring to my brightly-coloured hair and neat facial piercings*

Me: *hungry and losing patience, I respond firmly, but without anger* “I will not be spoken to like that by you. Please stop talking to me.”

Woman: *leans in even closer, trying to continue her critical assessment of my physical appearance*

Me: *talking over her, sternly* “I said, stop talking to me.”

Woman: *keeps going*

Me: *with sharp contempt* “I’ve tried to be reasonable with you. Stop. Talking. To. Me… And GROW UP.”

Woman: *stunned, she mutters repeatedly* “Get f***ed.”

(I collected my food, smiled at the cashier, and told him that I hoped that his night would improve. He smiled and thanked me. I walked past the woman, who was still glowering at me. Some people really are truly horrendous.)

Trying To Get Pay Dirt

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 25, 2018

My friend’s father apparently has marijuana in his backyard, and my friend claims that he can get some.

One day, he and another friend were walking very quickly around the school, and my dumb friend said that he is going to sell his dad’s weed to a girl at school — they were walking around to mask the smell of the drugs. I walked away, and later at lunch I saw him exchange something with the girl he’d been talking about.

Only then did I find out that my dumb friend had sold dirt for $30(AUD). He got caught by the police, as it was still illegal for students to be selling things on school grounds. What baffled me was that his parents weren’t mad, but almost impressed that he got 30 bucks for dirt!

Bouncing This Lesson Off Of The Students

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 24, 2018

(It’s the first day of school in our new high school, and our new science teacher is teaching us about lab safety.)

Teacher: “I’ll teach this once, and once only, as my teacher taught me.”

(He picks up a test tube.)

Teacher: “Test tubes do not bounce.”

(He drops it. It shatters on the floor.)

Teacher: “Neither do beakers.”

(The beaker is dropped.)

Teacher: “Nor anything else, really.”

(He swept the assortment of lab equipment in front of him off the table. It landed on the floor with a resounding crash. We had a great time with that teacher.)

Not On Fine Form Today

, , , | Legal | July 23, 2018

(Due to my income, age, and the fact that I’m studying full-time, I receive a small youth allowance from the government. As part of this, I also receive a concession card which, among other things, helps me receive cheaper train fares. I realise that this card is going to expire in only a couple of days, and I don’t want to be fined for travelling on the train with an expired card. I head down to the nearest office to sort this out. After queuing up for a while, I’m informed that I can renew my card online. I try this on the computers they have on hand, but for whatever reason, I am unable to access the form. No one seems to be able to work out why that is, so they offer to print one off for me to do manually. After waiting longer still, I finally receive the form.)

Staff Member #1: “Here you go. Quickly fill this out and hand it back in at the front desk and you should be good to go.”

(I begin filling it out, only to realise fast that there is no quickly filling this form in. It takes at least half an hour to fill in, plus requires me to attach various forms such as payslips and bank statements, none of which I have with me. As a result, I drive home again and spend the afternoon organising all of these things. I finally get it all together and, having now wasted far more of my afternoon than I had planned to, I return to the office and am made to wait again before I can see someone. After almost an hour of waiting, I’m called over and hand in my form.)

Staff Member #2: “This all looks in order. We’ll send it off to get verified.”

Me: “Do you have any idea how long this will take? It’s just that my card is going to expire in a couple of days. I left this a bit late.”

Staff Member #2: “No problem. I can organise a temporary one for you.”

(She opens up my file on her computer.)

Staff Member #2: “Oh, unfortunately I can’t do that until your current card expires.”

Me: “It expires the day after tomorrow. You can’t do anything?”

Staff Member #2: “Really? It says here that it expires in a year.”

Me: “Huh? That can’t be right.”

(I show her the expiry date on the card. Sure enough, it says it expires that week.)

Staff Member #2: “Well, it says January 2019 here. You must have already renewed it. Have you already filled out one of these forms recently?”

Me: “No, I only realised the card was expiring yesterday.”

Staff Member #2: “It must have automatically renewed. Your new card should arrive in the mail sometime soon. You can have this back ,too.”

(She handed back all the paperwork I’d spent the day organising. Turned out the reason that I couldn’t access the form online to begin with was that it had already been renewed, but rather than anyone realising that, I was made to waste my entire afternoon filling it out and finding the necessary forms to attach. When I finally got home, I checked the letterbox to see that my new card had arrived while I was out.)

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