Third Door Blind

, , , , , | Related | December 19, 2018

(After hitting a deer and writing off the car she’d had for a grand total of a month, my mum is now a not-so-proud owner of a third-hand, three-door car. The thing about this third-hand, three-door car is that the passenger door doesn’t open from the outside; you have to open it from the inside. Why, we have no idea, but it means Mum has to lean over from the driver’s seat and open the door for me. We are heading to work this cold and frosty winter morning. My dear old mum has started the ignition and whacked on the heating so the car can defrost and she can see whilst driving. She has not yet opened the passenger door, so I am stood outside waiting and not in the warming car, on this cold and frosty winter morning. She fiddles about with her bag, and uses her inhaler, and does not yet open the passenger door. I am thus still stood outside on this cold and frosty winter morning. She fiddles with something else; I don’t really know what as I am doing the “it’s cold and frosty and I’m stuck outside” jig. She then looks at me.)

Mum: *in her snotty, grumpy voice* “Why haven’t you got in the car?! We need to go!”

(I look at her, dead in the eye, and wordlessly remove my hand from where it is tucked into my armpits for warmth and slowly pull on the passenger door handle as one would do to open it. Naturally, since the passenger door handle doesn’t want to BE a door handle, it does nothing. I raise an eyebrow at her. We share a look, and she leans over and opens the door from the inside and I get into the nice toasty car)

Me: *completely deadpan* “It’s a tad chilly out there.”

Mum: *giggling* “Can I blame old age? I’m blaming old age.”

A Recipe For Disaster

, , , , , , | Romantic | December 2, 2018

(My boyfriend says that his parents will be in town for a brief visit in two weeks and have expressed an interest in meeting me. We decide that a quiet dinner at my home would be best, which I don’t mind, as I enjoy playing host. As I’m trying to plan the menu, I keep sending my boyfriend recipe ideas and asking him about his parents’ preferences.)

Me: “Is there any food your parents particularly like or dislike? Do they like spicy food or prefer to keep it mild? Are there any foods they’re allergic to? Do they have any sort of dietary restrictions I should know about?”

Boyfriend: “I’m sure anything you pick out will be wonderful and they’ll love it.”

Me: “Yes, but I also want to be considerate of their tastes.”

Boyfriend: “You’re overthinking it. You’re an awesome cook, and they’ll love whatever you make for them.”

(Realizing I’m not going to get any sort of help, I plan what I think to be a well-rounded menu complete with salad, an appetizer that contains shellfish, a main course featuring beef tenderloin, and a dessert that contains chocolate. Fast forward to the fateful evening; food-wise, everything is coming out looking delicious. I meet the parents, and while they seem to respond favorably to me, I notice between the two of them they’ve barely touched their food. I don’t want to call attention to this fact, but I’m worried something is wrong. They end up excusing themselves early, asking my boyfriend to take them back to his home. He quickly sneaks in a kiss on the way out, saying he’ll call. An hour later he calls.)

Me: “So, is everything all right? Your parents didn’t seem to like the anything I made for them and were wanting to get out of here pretty quickly.”

Boyfriend: “Yeah, the food was a bust for them. We’re at [Nearby Restaurant] right now and they’re getting something to eat. I excused myself to the bathroom to call you really quick.”

Me: “Did I do something wrong?”

Boyfriend: “I thought your food was delicious.” *sigh* “It’s just that… Well, my father doesn’t eat any type of salad except potato salad. My mother is a pescetarian, meaning she’ll eat fish, but not meat, and the only beef my father will eat is ground beef. Not to mention the only types of side dishes he’ll eat are either pasta, potatoes, or biscuits, not vegetables like you made. Oh, and my mother is allergic to chocolate.”

Me: “…”

Boyfriend: “…”

Me: *annoyed* “And you didn’t think any of this information was important enough to tell me when I was planning the menu? I asked you about these things and was told, ‘whatever I make is fine.’”

Boyfriend: “Yeah, I f***** up, didn’t I?”

Me: “Big time.”

(And that’s the story of how I first met — and starved — my in-laws. Since I’ve been with their son, they’ve come to love the dishes I make, as long as I keep their preferences and dietary restrictions in mind.)

A Symptom Of Our Oversharing Society

, , , , , | Right | October 28, 2018

(I work for a travel insurance company. One of the things we  do is medical screening. If you have certain pre-existing medical conditions — such as asthma, angina, or diabetes, etc. — you need to pay a small extra premium to cover you. None of us are medically trained; we just input the illness and ask whatever questions our system presents. We need to know exactly what the illness or condition is, and if any medication is taken, exactly what that is, too.  A woman calls who has just bought her insurance for a trip, and we are now onto the medical questionnaire as she has said, “Yes,” to having a pre-existing medical condition.)

Me: “Okay, can you tell me what medical conditions you have and what medication, if any, that you take for it?”

Customer: “Oh… I have a venereal disease.”

Me: “I need to know which one specifically.”

(The customer then proceeds to go into graphic detail about her illness, because she’s not quite sure which one it is.)

Me: *interrupting* “Madam! I’m not medically trained! I can’t diagnose what it is from your symptoms. I need to know the name of the illness.”

Customer: “Oh. I’m not sure.”

Me: “If you can’t find any paperwork, I suggest calling your doctor. If you take any medication, get them to confirm it, as well, and call back and give us your policy number. Once you have all the relevant information, we can continue the questionnaire.”

Customer: “Okay. Thanks for your help!”

(When the customer hung up I had to go and get some water as I felt queasy. Whatever she had, it was unpleasant, I can tell you that.)

Buckled In For A Fun Ride

, , , , , , | Legal | September 29, 2018

In the late 1970s, my partner and I were sworn federal investigators with a then-obscure federal law enforcement agency. As befitted our low budget, our official government vehicles were a bunch of very un-cop-like AMC Hornet sedans, obtained when the federal government bailed out a failing automaker. We wore plain suit coats and ties, and our vehicles were unmarked.  

One afternoon while returning to our office in Norfolk, we approached a stoplight on a public street and stopped. An obviously de-commissioned Virginia State Police trooper-car, still with its door mount spotlight and a cheap mono-color repaint, pulled up alongside us. The driver was obviously a young Navy sailor, wearing a wife beater T-shirt and dark sunglasses.  

The light changed, and we drove up the street to the next light. All the while, the sailor behind the shades was giving us the once-over and scowling at us. At the next stoplight, the sailor in the ex-cop car again glared at us, resting his left hand on the spotlight control, giving an unconvincing impression of a real law-man.  

All at once, my partner burst out laughing. He explained that our sailor, while still glaring at us, reached down and brought something to his mouth and began talking into… his seat belt buckle!

As the light changed, my partner reached down, tapped the yelp button on our siren just once and grabbed our real microphone. Over the car’s loud-hailer, he called out, “Better re-buckle that seatbelt, sailor.”  

As we pulled away, this embarrassed cop-wannabe hit his brakes and pulled over to the side as we quietly drove away.

Roasting You Over The Roasting Tin

, , , , , | Related | September 13, 2018

(I’m a female in my late twenties living with my mother due to the fact neither of us can afford living alone. The rule is that one person cooks, the other does the dishes. Mum is locked in the mind-set that I am a child and thus cannot cook, so she always cooks, and I do the dishes. I have washed up all the pans and dishes from our dinner/tea/evening meal, bar the roasting tin, as Mum siphons off the fat — another thing I’m not allowed to do because she is locked in the mind-set that I am a child — and usually does it the morning after, so I empty the sink of the water. This has never been an issue before until this moment.)

Mum: *really angry* “Why did you let the water out?!”

Me: “Er, cause the washing up was done?”

Mum: “The roasting tin isn’t, though!”

Me: “Yeah, but you do the fat part first thing in the morning, so I let it out.”

Mum: “I’m going to do it now! And now I have to use more water!”

(We’re not on a meter, so it doesn’t affect our bills, and we’ve never ever been on a water meter.)

Me: “Sorry.”

Mum: “Next time, leave it in!”

(From then on, I leave the water in whenever we’re using the roasting tin. This goes on for months. Then, one evening, this happens:)

Mum: *really angry* “WHY DID YOU LEAVE THE WATER IN?!”

Me: “What? But you told me to!”

Mum: “Why would I say that?!”

Me: “For the roasting tin!”

(There is a pause.)

Mum: “Empty the sink of water in the future!”

Me: “…”

(I am looking for another place to live.)

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