The Cake Is Bittersweet

, , , , , , , | | Friendly | May 10, 2019

I work at a restaurant that offers those “singing and cake” extras for birthdays. One day, I am approached by two teenage boys who pay for the birthday special for their female friend. I’m thinking, “Aw, that’s cute!”

We make the cake and we go sing “Happy Birthday” to their table… and it quickly becomes obvious that the girl is not into it. She’s death-glaring at the boys so hard I’m surprised they don’t burst into flames. They giggle the entire time. When it’s time to blow out the candle, she puts it out between her index and thumb, then smashes the cake against the face of the boy closest to her.

Turns out, she hated this kind of stuff and they got it anyway, just to mess with her. Good times.

Can’t Be As Smooth As Those Stairs

, , , , , | Learning | April 12, 2019

(I teach advanced classes at a fine arts school. The building is old, and it shows, but since it’s state property, it takes loads and loads of paperwork to get anything fixed. We’re left with buzzing lamps, cracked walls, and mirror-smooth floors and stairs with no friction whatsoever. One day, as I walk to the classroom, I find one of my students sprawled across the stairs, not moving.)

Me: “Oh, God! [Student], are you okay?!”

Student: “Yeah, doc, I’m fine. Just thinking, y’know? This place has been here for quite a while… Imagine how many scholars and artists walked on these stairs, how many other people must have been here before them, paving the way for us…”

Me: “You slipped and fell, didn’t you?”

Student: “I slipped and fell, doc. And it really hurts, so I’m just chillin’ until it passes.”

Sunday School Kindness Applies Seven Days A Week

, , , , , | Hopeless | March 12, 2019

One day, when I am little, my mom misplaces her keys to the house. This is pretty bad because she doesn’t realize this until we get there, and the taxi has already left. This is the age before cellphones, so we can’t call a locksmith, nor my dad, who is currently on the other side of the city with our only car.

There is no public transport nor open shops nearby, and since it’s getting dark, my mom is scared. It’s just her and her daughter on the streets at night.

She decides to go with her raised-Catholic instincts and carries me to a church. There’s no one there but the Sunday school teacher, who’s just finished tidying up, and her husband, who’s come to help her. My mom explains our situation to them and, as it turns out, they live a mere block away from us! They invite us to their house to use their phone, call my dad, and wait there until he arrives.

Everything turns out all right. I only vaguely remember this incident, but my mom still gets choked up thinking about the couple who helped her when she was a scared young mom in need of help.

That’s Stall They’re Saying

, , , | Friendly | March 7, 2019

(I go to the restroom between classes. Thanks to the humidity, my hair is a mess, and I say so out loud without thinking in front of the mirror. Suddenly, someone speaks up from an occupied stall.)

Random Girl: “Aw, don’t say that! I’m sure it looks lovely!”

(Guerrilla compliments seem to be a thing now. Nice.)

American Culture Sure Is A Picture Show

, , , , | Friendly | February 18, 2019

(I am an American living in Mexico in the 90s. I’m ice skating with my girlfriend when “The Time Warp” comes on the PA.)

Me: “Oh, this is from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Girlfriend: “What’s that?”

Me: “It’s an American movie about a transvestite scientist who creates a Frankenstein-like man to be their personal sex slave. But it turns out the doctor is an alien. In the US they have midnight showings of the movie, where the men wear women’s underwear and people say all these crazy quotes and throw things at the screen.”

Girlfriend: “I see.”

(It was then that I learned there are some concepts that simply do not transcend cultures.)

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