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.)

She’s Really Pushing It

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 6, 2019

(My family has gathered to celebrate a birthday, and I go with my fifteen-year-old cousin to buy a cake. Since it’s quite busy, I tell my cousin to get in line for the registers while I go and pick the cake. Just as I’m getting in line with her, a middle-aged woman cuts the line right in front. My cousin speaks up but the woman just tells her to get out of her way. I tell my cousin to just let it go, and when she asks why, I say, loudly:)

Me: “Well… it’s clear that she’s in such a hurry, she can’t wait any longer and felt it necessary to be rude to other people and cut the line. If we let her go before us, we get to be the kind young people who let an older lady who’s in a hurry go first, while she ends up as the one who shouted and almost pushed a fifteen-year-old girl.”

(The woman, as was my intention, heard me and began to shout at me and my cousin. The manager approached her and asked her to leave, because she had cut the line and was annoying the other customers.)

 

The Ten Year Challenge Where Nothing Changed

, , , , , | Friendly | February 1, 2019

(It is the late 90s. My grandparents have just moved into a new apartment and we are all hanging out when the telephone rings.)

Caller: *in a strong Argentinian accent* “Alo? I’m looking for Charlie.”

Uncle: “You must have the wrong number; there’s no Charlie here.”

Caller: “Okay. Thank you.”

(We think nothing of that… until 2006. We are all hanging out one last time in the apartment, since the next day my grandparents will move to a new house. The phone rings.)

Caller: *with a strong Argentinian accent* “Alo? I’m looking for Charlie.”

Uncle: “You must have the wrong number; there’s no Charlie here.”

Caller: *suddenly remembering the last phone call* “Che… do you guys still live there?!” *hangs up*

(After all these years, the same guy called the same wrong number while looking for the same person and the same uncle answered him using the exact same words.)

Direction Deflection

, , , , , | Friendly | January 31, 2019

(I am waiting for the bus. As soon as it comes into view, a young man approaches me.)

Man: “Excuse me, miss. Do you know if this bus goes to [Direction]?”

Me: “Yeah, sounds about right.”

Man: “Great! Thanks.”

(He got on the bus with me. Two hundred meters later, at the next stop, he jumped out of his seat, sprinted across four — thankfully empty — lanes to the other end of the intersection and got on a different bus… going in the opposite direction. I was left confused.)

Money Makes The School Go Down

, , , , , | Learning | January 21, 2019

(I work in a language school teaching English and Chinese. The principal and owner of the school is an overall nice person; however, he is too indulgent with students, not punishing anyone who is late to pay, and terrible at managing his money. As a result, payments are almost always late by a day or two. Since most of the teachers are students working for some extra cash, we don’t mind. One day, in the middle of my class, he calls all teachers to his office.)

Principal: “Good morning. I called you all here to discuss an important issue. As you know, my daughter is getting married…” *his eyes begin to glow in happiness* “…but she’s run out of money for her wedding, and I decided to pay for the rest as a wedding gift. Unfortunately, that means you will not be paid for the next two months.”

(We all think this is a joke, and wait for the punchline. After a few seconds, we realise he’s serious.)

Principal: “That was all… you can continue with your activities.”

Teacher #1: “Are you out of your mind? Do you actually expect us to work for free for two months?”

Principal: “What does it matter? None of you have any bills to pay! You don’t need the money, but my daughter does!”

Teacher #2: “Okay… Let’s say we don’t get paid these two months. At least in the third month, you should pay us those two months, plus an extra, for the troubles.”

Principal: “Nope, I’ve already run some numbers. I can’t afford the wedding, my daughter’s honeymoon, and your wages. You’ll have to do without money for two months.”

(We are all furious. But the most frustrating thing is that the principal can’t understand why we are all angry, and he begins to get angry, too. We just don’t understand how important this is to him, and we’re all just jealous and too greedy, he says.)

Principal: “I own this place and do as I please. I’m paying for her wedding and her honeymoon. If you don’t like it, the doors are open.”

Me: “You own the place, but not my time. You want me to work? You pay. You don’t want to pay? I don’t work. Simple as that.”

Principal: “Are you threatening me?”

Me: “No, I’m quitting.”

(Literally all the teachers quit at that exact moment and walked out his office. I went to my classroom and explained the situation to my students. All of them sympathised with the teachers and most offered to pay for private lessons. All of us, students and teachers, walked out of the school. Without teachers and without students, the school had to close. A year later, I ran into the principal’s secretary, who filled me in. Apparently, he had promised his daughter a fantastic wedding and a month-long honeymoon in Europe, but without the school’s money, he was unable to pay for them. His daughter was devastated and now doesn’t talk to him, while his wife divorced him, since she ruined the daughter’s wedding AND their only steady source of income.)

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