When You’re Actively Thinking About Running Someone Over

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 18, 2018

(I’m leaving to pick my partner up from work. Unfortunately, my phone is broken, but I send an email to my partner’s phone saying I’ll meet them outside. I go down the street, and there’s a man standing in the middle of the road. Cars are parked on either side, so I can’t get past. He comes up to me and stands in front of my car.)

Man: “Hey! Cold weather we’re having.”

Me: “Yeah…”

Man: “You know, it’s never been this cold before.” *he starts rambling about the cold* “So, have you always lived in Florida?”

Me: “No, I lived in Colorado before, but I really have to go–”

Man: “Colorado! They’ve got good skiers up there! Everyone’s a skier!”

(He starts talking about some ski accident he once had. Every time I try to talk, he interrupts me and talks faster. Eventually, his ski story is over and I think I’ll finally be released.)

Me: “Wow. Anyway, I should get–”

Man: “Do you follow sports?”

Me: “No, sorry.”

Man: “Well, I love football. The teams I follow used to be…“

(He keeps talking about how his team loyalty changes every time he moves. I cannot get a word in. He moves his arms a lot when he talks, and I’m starting to hope that he pokes himself with the tool he’s holding, just enough to make him leave. Finally, his monologue runs out of steam. He steps to the side and I speed out of there and end up being 20 minutes late.)

Partner: “Oh, my God! I thought you were in an accident! I was ready to call my mom and have her backtrack through the route.”

Me: *explains*

Partner: “Well, I know someone who’s not getting a Christmas card this year.”

Getting An Edge About The Hedge

, , , , | Friendly | November 6, 2017

(Back when I was a kid, we moved into a fairly nice neighborhood. There wasn’t an actual home owner’s association, but several of the neighbors liked to act like there was, and tried to tell the other residents to change things about their homes and lawns. My mom is not the kind of person to put up with that sort of thing.)

Lady: *knocks on our front door*

Mom: *opens the door* “Hello?”

Lady: “Hi! I just wanted to come by and see how you were doing. I noticed that your bushes were getting rowdy, and I was worried you’d gone and moved out on us.”

Mom: *glances at the bushes, which aren’t perfectly trimmed, but aren’t super scraggly* “Oh, well, they look fine to me.”

Lady: “Yes, well… we just want to make sure our neighborhood looks its best.”

Mom: “Yes… Well, goodbye.” *goes to shut the door*

Lady: *sticks her foot in the door and actually pushes it open* “Ah, ah, so you will be trimming those bushes, right? And maybe invest in an edger to tidy up your lawn?”

(Mom didn’t say a word, just pulled the door open all the way, then started to swing it closed, hard. The lady jumped back as the door slammed in her face, then stood making faces on the porch for a minute or so while we kids watched from the window. Eventually, she huffed off down the front path. Unfortunately, she and the others kept coming back. The door continued to be slammed in their faces.)

Don’t Talk Crap

, , , , , | Friendly | October 28, 2017

(I’m walking my dog and he stops to do his business. After he finishes, I pull out a bag to clean it up when I hear a bang behind me. I stop, bag in hand, and look back to see a man on the porch of the nearest house, glaring at me. I’m outside of his fenced-in yard, on the strip of grass maintained by the city.)

Man: “If I see even one bit of crap on my lawn, I’m tracking you down and shooting that dog dead.”

Me: *after standing up to my full 6’6” height* “Try it, and I’ll land you in the hospital.”

(He tripped over himself running back inside. I can understand not wanting to deal with dog crap, but A) it’s not your lawn, B) I’m cleaning it up already, and C) don’t make threats if you aren’t willing to pay for them.)

Refusing To Provide Closure

, , , , , | Working | October 17, 2017

(I have a job in which I am paired with a colleague and sent to various neighborhoods around town. If our assignments are close enough to the office, we walk. For a while, I am paired with a guy who is nice enough but has a few odd personality quirks. Sometimes, the only way for me to avoid getting mad at him is to play some harmless practical jokes. We are walking back to the office one evening after an assignment that went longer than expected. It is dark, and the street we are on is mostly deserted.)

Colleague: “I’m going to walk with my eyes closed!”

Me: “Why?”

Colleague: “Just for fun.”

(He mostly closes his eyes, but I can tell he is keeping one open just a tiny bit.)

Me: “Hey, watch out for that big rock!”

Colleague: “What? Where?”

(He opens his eyes and looks around, almost falling over while trying to avoid tripping over a rock that isn’t there.)

Colleague: “Hey! There’s no rock! You tricked me!”

Me: “Well, maybe you shouldn’t walk with your eyes closed, then.”

Colleague: “Hmph!”

(He closes his eyes again. I wait a minute or two.)

Me: “Oh, look! A dollar on the sidewalk!”

Colleague: “It’s mine!”

(He darts forward a few steps, searching the ground. When he realizes there is no dollar, he glares at me. I laughs.)

Colleague: “Jerk.”

Me: *laughing*

(And he closes his eyes again!)

Colleague: “I’m not going to let you trick me again. I don’t care what you say; I’m not falling for it.”

(I try warning him about another nonexistent rock, but it doesn’t work. He gets a smug look on his face. I get another idea.)

Me: “Good evening, ma’am. Lovely time for a walk, isn’t it?”

(My colleague opens his eyes and looks around, trying to figure out who I am talking to. There is nobody on the sidewalk except us, but until I burst out laughing, he is convinced that I am talking to someone.)

Colleague: “That’s it. I’m requesting a transfer.”

Breaking Bread Is Better Than Breaking Bonds

, , , , | Hopeless | July 20, 2017

In the late 90s, a couple from Iran moves in next door to my parents. They’re very friendly people, although a bit shy and the wife initially didn’t speak much English. While they both wear traditional Western clothes, they are practicing Muslims. Most of the neighborhood is white and at least nominally Christian, and none of the other neighbors are Middle Eastern or Muslim. But no one cares and the couple settles right in, and the other families in the neighborhood are happy to throw a baby shower for them when the wife is pregnant. She is so touched she cries happy tears, explaining that she felt so accepted and loved.

In the days following September 11, 2001, several of the neighbors were standing out on the sidewalk talking, trying to process the terror attacks. My dad notices that he hasn’t seen the next-door neighbors. He walks to their door and knocks. The husband answers. (The husband is about five-foot three and the wife even smaller. My dad is six-foot two; only one other man in the neighborhood is taller.) The neighbor looks a little nervous.

Dad greets the neighbor and explains that a bunch of people just felt like talking, and he and his wife were welcome to join if they want. The neighbor declines, and Dad reassures him that no one is mad at him or his wife or thought they are terrorist or sympathizers. He says, “If you don’t blame me for Timothy McVeigh, I won’t blame you for the terrorists.” The neighbor still stays home, but is relieved.

They’re still my parents’ next-door neighbors, and still very nice people. I have kids myself now, and the neighbors have given them carte blanche to pick any of the flowers in their front yard (and the flowers are incredible; the most gorgeous roses I’ve ever seen) and often give them Christmas presents. I’m going to visit my parents tomorrow, and since Ramadan is over, I have a loaf of (Halal-friendly) bread baking in the oven to bring the neighbors.

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