Going To Tell Him To Play In Traffic Next?

, , , | Right | June 6, 2018

(I work as a historical interpreter, teaching folks how people lived “back then.” Our home features a fire, which is the lifeblood of the house. Without it, there would be no warmth, no cooked food, no hot water, etc. There is a sign out front with rules of entry. Three of the rules are, “Please do not touch,” “Please do not enter roped-off areas,” and, “The fire is real and hot.” We keep the fire roped off. Today, the fire is glowing red and throwing off a nice heat, as it is a cold day. A father and son enter. The son, aged about four, points to the fire.)

Son: “Dad! Look! Is that fire real?”

Dad: “No, of course not! That would be too dangerous. Go touch it and see.”

Me: “Nooooooo!”

Son: *starts crying*

Dad: “Don’t yell at my boy! He wasn’t going to hurt anything!”

Me: “Only his hand when he picked up a burning hot coal. Can’t you feel the heat from here?”

Dad: “From the heater?” *looks around*

Me: “From the fire — the real fire — which is crackling, and over which I am cooking this roast that you can smell.”

Dad: “But the fire is real! That’s dangerous!”

Me: “That’s why it is roped off.”

(The boy has stopped crying now, and I’m considering launching into a speech about hearth deaths, when the mother walks in and sniffs.)

Mum: “Oh, that smells like real meat!”

Me: “It is; it’s cooking over our real fire.”

Mum: “Wow. So, what are you going to do with it once it’s cooked?”

(I sighed and patiently explained for the millionth time that yes, we were actually going to eat our real meal, cooked over our real fire, and we were eating it because we were hungry.)

“Because… People” Is A Standard Answer

, , , , | | Working | June 1, 2018

(My coworker and I are talking about an ongoing project we’ve all been working on, when the curator walks in the door. Before he catches on to the conversation, I turn to him and ask the following:)

Me: “[Curator], why is everything always so complicated?!”

Curator: “Because human beings are garbage.”

Me: “…”

Curator: *walks away*

Me: “…”

Coworker: “You can always trust [Curator] to put a positive spin on things.”

She’s Just Jelly Because She Has Jelly

, , , , , , | Working | May 29, 2018

(I work at a small science museum, and in addition to part-time staff we have volunteers. Most of our volunteers are elders and come with their fair share of quirks. One volunteer is a nuisance to eat lunch with, because she always criticizes what other people are eating. I usually bring reasonably healthy frozen store-bought meals. I cook my own breakfast, and dinner is always freshly prepared. Lunch is my only frozen meal. I always dread if I am scheduled to have a break at the same time as her, as conversations like the following will occur.)

Volunteer: “What are you eating?”

Me: “Chicken fajita rice bowl.”

Volunteer: “What’s in that?”

Me: “Chicken, beans, rice, and seasoning.”

Volunteer: “You could have made that at home, honey.”

Me: “I don’t have time.”

Volunteer: “Find time and freeze it. I freeze everything. What else do you have?”

Me: *hungry and wanting to eat and not talk* “No-junk protein bar.”

Volunteer: “Ugh. Sounds disgusting. What’s in it?”

Me: “Organic coconut, pea protein, almonds, tapioca powder…”

Volunteer: “And a million things you can’t pronounce?”

Me: “No, it’s all raw, organic ingredients.”

Volunteer: “Probably tastes awful.”

Me: “No, they’re really good.”

Volunteer: “Sure they are.”

Me: “…”

Volunteer: “You know, you kids really need to eat more healthily. I always worry about what you eat.”

(The volunteer then started eating her gelatin dessert, and I simultaneously pondered whether she was joking or if I should eat a lump of cold poison for lunch.)

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The Bosses Need To Clean Up Their Act

, , , , , | Working | May 6, 2018

(I am doing work experience for a year between school and university, at a historic castle-turned-museum. Since I travel there by bus, I’m usually 15 minutes early with nobody there to unlock the offices. I spend my time sitting in the gardens or waiting hall. I always greet the cleaning crew working around me and sometimes chat with them. When winter hits, they invite me to their break room so I don’t freeze to death waiting for the museum workers.)

Cleaning Lady #1: “You know, we’ve never had one of you work experience kids up here.”

Me: “Oh? Is it not allowed?”

Cleaning Lady #1: “Nah, they were all so stuck-up. Wouldn’t even talk to us. Right out of school, no job experience at all, but they already didn’t care for us cleaners.”

Cleaning Lady #2: “There was a really bad one, too; she was so rude, even to the craftsmen working in the museum. Only sucked up to the director and curators.”

Me: “You’d think that work experience kids would realise they’re sort of the lowest rung of the ladder?”

Cleaning Lady #1: “You’d think, but no.”

(A few weeks later, one of the curators tasks me with sorting through and cleaning up an area of the archive that hasn’t been properly taken care of for years. I ask the cleaning ladies for supplies, but they actually end up helping me clean while I sort the papers.)

Curator: “You’re already done? I thought this would take you a week, at least.”

Me: “Oh, Mrs. [Cleaning Lady #1] and Mrs. [Cleaning Lady #2] helped me a bit.”

Curator: “Who?”

Me: “The cleaning crew?”

(During the course of the year, I learned that most of the “higher” workers didn’t even know the names of the cleaners. Even the craftsmen didn’t interact with them much, despite sharing a locker room with them.)

Craftsman #1: “How did you get all this stuff transported here so fast?”

Me: “You know the shortcut through the back hall, with almost no lamps? Turns out the smallest trolley fits through there.”

Craftsman #2: “How did you even know about the back hall? Nobody goes through there.”

Me: “The cleaning crew does.”

(At the end of my work experience, the cleaning crew had helped me out more times than anyone else, and taught me many tricks that made my job a lot easier. When I left, I got a friendly card and a small brooch from the museum. The cleaning crew got me a personalised gift, instead. My first work experience taught me that simply being friendly and polite towards “lower” workers can make a big difference.)

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Stupidosaurus Wrecks

, , , , | Right | May 4, 2018

(I intern at a museum in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s a really slow day, and only six customers find their way into the museum during my five-hour shift. A grandfather and his grandson come in. I’ve shown them around the museum, and I get to the science demonstrations. It’s some pretty simple stuff, like baking soda and vinegar, or other such scientific demonstrations. This exchange takes place after I’ve finished the experiments.)

Grandfather: “What dinosaur is that?” *points to a canine skeleton in the cabinet behind me*

Me: *trying not to laugh* “That’s a dog skeleton, sir.”

Grandfather: “Oh… Then, where are the dinosaurs?”

Me: “Sir, while this is a museum, we don’t have the space for such an exhibit.”

(My coworker cuts into the situation.)

Coworker: “He’s right, sir. We don’t have any fossils exhibited here right now.”

Grandfather: “Then, where is your dinosaur exhibit?”

Me: “…”

Coworker: “…”

(He continued asking me where the dinosaurs were, despite me telling him multiple times we didn’t have any. His grandson looked rather exasperated throughout the entire exchange.)

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