And Now Our Night Shift Begins

, , , | Working | March 25, 2020

I used to live with my parents just outside of a small town about thirty minutes away from where I live now. When I lived with my parents, I moved to the night shift at work, because it’s a shorter shift and still gives me freedom to get stuff done during the day.

December of 2018, I move into a house with my now fianceé and her mother. It’s not the greatest part of town — a group of kids between 12 and 18 recently went around and robbed stores and carjacked two cars at gunpoint, to give an example — but it’s the only house we can get a loan for, and we are desperate.

I’m still working the night shift, and three times now I’ve had to call into work because of gunshots nearby, and police have been looking for suspects. This third time, my supervisor asks me if this is real, so I tell him the general area of where I live, and then I tell him to watch the news the next day. Sure enough, it’s on the news the next evening about someone found dead in a suspected drug-related incident, and the police are looking for suspects. My supervisor pulls me aside to ask me if I want to switch to day shifts.

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You Can Never Be Too Careful

, , , , , | Romantic | March 4, 2020

(I take regular walks around my neighborhood for exercise and relaxation. I’ve just walked past the entryway for a business that crosses the sidewalk when a car that was heading towards me on the road pulls into the entryway behind me and the driver calls out. Figuring it’s someone looking for directions, as this is a touristy area, I turn around and answer.)

Me: “What can I do for you?”

Man: “You from around here?”

Me: “Yes, I’m a local. Where are you heading?”

Man: “Cool. So… what’s your name?”

(I go from zero to SUSPICIOUS.)

Me: “Why do you want to know?”

Man: “No reason! Nevermind!”

(He threw his car into reverse and peeled out of there so fast I was left completely stunned for a moment. Only after I shrugged and continued my walk did I happen to glance down at my shirt and realize I was wearing an old high-school tee that would have been clearly visible to someone coming towards me. I’m short and young-faced, despite being almost ten years out of high school, so there’s a distinct possibility that man thought I was a minor. I always carry my phone with me on walks, but maybe I should add a weapon.)

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Bullied His Way Out Of The Neighborhood

, , , , , , , | Legal | February 1, 2020

(Back in the 90s, when I am a little kid, my dad’s house is at the end of a cul-de-sac. This means that most kids end up playing near my dad’s house to avoid traffic. My dad has no problem with this, and he even nicely set up a walking path through some nearby woods behind our house so the kids can safely explore nature. There is one boy, however, who is a complete neighborhood terrorist. He uproots the stepping stones from the nature path, and he steals from other kids. My dad, one of the most patient men in the world, ends up hating this boy because of it all. One day, I am riding my bike in loops down the street and back. The bully is playing with my basketball and my full-size basketball hoop right next to the house. I want to avoid him but I can’t, since he’s standing in my dad’s driveway to play. He sees me coming and tries to throw the basketball at me but fails to make me fall off my bike. In a rage, he runs over and shoves me off the bike and takes off with it. I grab the basketball and, despite my complete lack of sports prowess, manage to throw it right into the front wheel of the bike, which causes the bully to topple over the bars and smack his face on the road. My dad, who saw the whole thing from the backyard, catches up and grabs my bike and basketball.)

Dad: *to the bully, sternly* “Did you learn anything?”

(He had been sitting there dazed, but as soon as he gets an adult’s attention he starts sobbing dramatically without tears.)

Bully: “SHE HURT ME!”

Dad: “She wouldn’t have hurt you if you hadn’t hurt her first and tried to steal the bike. So, did you learn anything?”

(The bully keeps intentionally scream-sobbing for attention, even occasionally stopping to glance around to see if anyone else is coming.)

Dad: *sigh of frustration* “Shut up and go home. Now. You got what you asked for.”

(The bully sprints home. My dad does some yard work and I relax in our swing-bench. A short time later, the bully’s mom, reeking of alcohol and cigarettes, stomps down the street in a thigh-length leopard-print silk bathrobe.) 

Bully’s Mom: *snaps fingers at my dad* “HEY! You need to deal with your f****** b****!”

Dad: *sets down the tools and turns to face her* “What did you call my daughter?”

Bully’s Mom: “I called her a f****** b****. The little whore hurt my kid and I want money to take him to see a doctor.”

Dad: *shrugs* “Only on one condition.”

Bully’s Mom: “And what is it?”

Dad: “You and your son have to replace everything he’s stolen or broken from the other kids around here. I know this includes one electric toy car, two model planes, several sports balls, a baseball bat, some action figures, and a telescope. Additionally, I want payment for the hours I’ve spent fixing the walking path after he’s torn it up. If I can get that, then we can talk about seeing a doctor for the singular scrape I saw on his chin.”

Bully’s Mom: *enraged* “HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE MY SON–”

Dad: *calmly* “It’s not an accusation until I take the security camera footage to the cops. I have, on video, everything that happens on the walking path and in front of my house. I can do that if you’d like.”

(The mom raises her hand like she’s thinking of hitting him, but she stops herself and storms off. To no one’s great surprise, a police car comes and parks outside our house. The officer knocks on our door.) 

Dad: *while opening the door* “Hi, officer. I’d like to see about getting help returning some stolen items currently in the possession of the [Bully]’s household.”

Officer: “We can talk about that, but first I know your daughter hurt a boy today–”

(I am about half of the bully’s height and maybe a quarter of his weight.) 

Officer: *looking at me* “–but there must be some mistake about that. Moving on, then.”

(My dad gave a copy of the security footage of the thefts and destruction of property to the officer. The next day, several cops were at the bully’s house; they took the bully and his mom to the station. I never had to deal with the bully again, because he ended up being sent to live with his aunt in another city. It was discovered that the bully was stealing higher value toys and collectibles at his mother’s demand to fund her drug addiction. I was mad at the time that he never got punished, but today I just hope that the better environment made him learn how to be a good person. I’ve never managed to dunk the basketball or hit any other target intentionally before or after this singular stroke of karma.)

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Maybe You Should Have Moved Directly To Nirvana

, , , , , | Friendly | October 6, 2019

One winter, my friend was clearing away snow from her driveway and, due to the nice temperature and suitable texture of snow, she had a whim to make a snowman. Despite being a middle-aged recent widow, she was out there for a couple hours playing, like a child. Good for her right? Very sweet.  

Well, after she got the basic snowman made, she wasn’t done having fun, so she decided to test her artistic skills by making the sculpture a bit more advanced. Being Buddhist, she chose to make it into the shape of a classic Buddha statue. It turned out pretty nice.  

Finally done, she went inside and was sipping hot chocolate and enjoying her great mood when there was a knock at the door. It was the police!  

They apologised for bothering her, but explained that their policies force them to intervene in all complaints, regardless of whether any laws were broken. She was terribly anxious and confused, wondering what she may have done.  

Her neighbors had called the police because they didn’t think the snow Buddha should be allowed. After all, it was on the front lawn, “where children might see it”! How terrible that would be, for Bible Belt kids to find out that non-Christians exist. They might grow up to think that cultural diversity is okay, and that people different from their families are interesting equals rather than “others” to be shunned. Yes, let’s protect those kids.  

My poor friend was a lot less likely to enjoy time in her yard after that. 

Imagine thinking it’s a police matter that someone’s failing to hide their minority status.

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Welcome To Entitlement Street

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 26, 2019

My husband and I were moving from a distant suburb into the city centre, almost 60 km away. Our new neighbourhood is known for being full of well-to-do, entitled people. On moving day, there was no parking available in front of the new house, so the movers parked the truck in the lane which separated our back yard from the back yard of the neighbour on the next street over. 

Our new neighbour promptly came out and complained to us that the movers would damage the roses along her back fence and they needed to park elsewhere. We politely explained that there was no parking available in front of the house. She replied that we should have blocked off space in front of the house ahead of time. I replied, “We just arrived here from another city. How were we supposed to be here to block off the road?” 

She stared at us blankly and then went back to her yard. We never spoke to her again.

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