The Nervous Adventures Of Observant And Oblivious

, , | | Friendly | August 7, 2019

(I am stopping by a cash point on the way home one evening. It is after dark, but the cash point is next to a well-lit entrance to a small supermarket so it usually feels safe. However, as I approach, I notice a group of young men smoking and with cans of lager in their hands right outside the entrance to the supermarket. They are being a bit rowdy. I slow down as I risk-assess how far they are from the cashpoint and whether I would be able to duck into either the supermarket or the restaurant on the other side of the cashpoint if I needed to. I am just trying to decide this as I get quite close to the cashpoint and wondering if I should just go into the supermarket instead and get cash back when one of the lads starts moving away and gesturing to the others. I will call him “Observant” and his friend who starts arguing “Oblivious.”)

Observant: “Yo, over here.”

Oblivious: “What? Why we moving?”

Observant: “We can go down here.”

Oblivious: “We’re fine here. Why we moving?”

Observant: “‘Cause we’re right next to the cashpoint and we’re making people nervous.”

Oblivious: “Ooh… Yeah, we can go sit on that wall.”

(And then with a wave at me, Observant led the group off to go sit on the suggested wall. Thank you, observant young man, for having an awareness of the impact of your behaviour on others and making my evening a little easier.)

This Guy Is Far Out

, , , , , | | Friendly | August 2, 2019

(People often come to Fort Lauderdale expecting to be right on the beach, despite the fact that the bus station is downtown.)

Lost Guy: “Where’s the beach?”

Me: “You have to take the city bus.”

Lost Guy: “Which one?”

Me: “The 10.”

Lost Guy: *sees a bus far down the street* “Which one is that?”

Me: *unable to see far enough to read* “I don’t know.”

Lost Guy: “You don’t know much, do you?”

Me: “I know where I am.”

Unfiltered Story #159849

, , , | | Unfiltered | August 1, 2019

(Backstory: A few years ago, about a mile from where this takes place but on the same road, I was nearly knocked off my bike by a Fedex driver who came onto the sidewalk. Half of my body was bruised, and in addition to scratching the paint, they had rolled over my front tire, bending the rim, which I had to replace myself, as I never thought to grab a license plate number. This took place in fall 2012, and the following takes place in spring 2015.)

(I am crossing the road to return to my dorm, after having picked up some items like cleaning supplies needed to move out of my dorm the next day. I am on foot, as it is faster than biking to this location. I see something and call my dad to tell him an idea I had; my cell phone has stopped working properly and I am fooling with it. I see the light has changed.)

Me: *Steps out into road*
(A screech is heard and I remember falling backwards. I do not go unconscious, but scramble up and collect my shopping, before hiding behind the light post on the opposite corner. I am autistic, and a panic attack ensues.)
(While there, many people stop, and an ambulance is called.)
Man: Are you okay? You stepped out in front of me!
College RA: [My nickname], what happened?? Did you get hit??
Other College RA: [College higher up] just called an ambulance. Are you sure you’re okay?
Me: I got hit! I got hit!
(Only the first RA is aware of my autism, and warns people to stay back. Police from campus arrive and she quickly answers their questions, as she was a witness and I am still recovering and am incoherent.)
(Shortly after, an RAA [RA supervisor] and the police question me. It turns out the man there asking me if I was okay was the one who had hit me.)
Me, to police: I was trying to call my dad, and I forgot the light was messed up. I walked in front of him.

(We eventually get it sorted out. I refuse to be taken to the hospital, as my only visible wounds are road rash, that have ceased bleeding before the ambulance arrived. I take full responsibility for the crash–I had not been paying to attention, and knew the light was messed up. I insist that the man is not at fault, since I know for sure I was the cause and cannot blame the driver. It turns out the man was a church pastor, and he invited me to his church this fall.)

Me, after the cupcake party at school and showing off my new “battle scars”: I should do this more often!
RAs, all at once: NO!!

(Because my arm is sore, I had to change my move-out inspection to the next day. Only hours later did I realize that the poor pastor was probably on his way to Wednesday chapel! I felt really horrid then!)

When Being Chatty Saves People

, , , , | | Hopeless | July 15, 2019

(I’m walking to the library with my four-year-old. She’s skipping alongside me, chattering happily, waving frantically, and yelling, “HI!” at everyone we pass and every car that goes past. Nothing unusual. About a block from the library, she waves and says, “Hi!” into what I think is just an empty laneway, but as we step forward, I realise there’s an elderly man standing there in his pajamas, in the middle of the lane, with a small dog running in circles around his feet.)

Man: “Why, hello, young lady! Out for a walk, are we?”

Daughter: “Yep! We’re going to the library!”

(The old man looks confusedly at us for a moment. At first, I think it’s because my daughter’s speech impediment means she pronounces it as, “yiberry,” but as we pause, I realise that he has no shoes on and his pajama pants are covered in mud. I can also see that his feet are bleeding in a few places, like he’s been stepping on prickles. It’s INCREDIBLY cold today and I finally realise how cold he must be, and his dog isn’t on a lead but seems to be getting more and more worked up.)

Me: “Yep, off to the library. Where are you off to today, mate?”

Man: “Ah… I’m a bit late for work! I work down at the ice works but, well, bit embarrassing but I seem to have gotten turned around.”

(The ice works in our town is now a historical site. It hasn’t been operational in almost forty years at this point.)

Me: “Happens to the best of us, mate. I know the way, though; how about you come with us?”

(After a bit of convincing and my daughter excitedly yelling about her new friend coming along, I convince him to come out onto the footpath and stand on the grass instead of the asphalt. Trying to give him my jacket doesn’t work — he staunchly refuses to take “a young lass’s jacket on a cold day” — and he is getting more agitated but never angry or violent. I stand there wondering what the heck to do next when suddenly a car screeches to a stop at the kerb. A middle-aged man leaps out of the car and hurtles towards us.)

Younger Man: “DAD! Dad, Jesus Christ, I’ve been looking for you everywhere! What the h*** are you doing?”

(The guy honestly looks like he’s about to cry, as does his dad, who seems even more confused at this point.)

Older Man: “No time to play right now, [Younger Man]. I’m late for work, mate. I gotta go.”

(The younger guy tries for a few minutes to convince his dad to get in the car, to no avail, when my daughter pipes up from behind us.)

Daughter: “Excuse me! Maybe it’s warm in the car, and you can go home and get your shoes for work!” 

(The older man seemed to accept this, after checking his feet and realising he did, indeed, have no shoes on. After the older guy and his dog were safely stowed away, his son informed me that they live CLEAR across town, and the guy had been missing for FIVE HOURS in the freezing cold. His little dog had seen him take off and obviously decided that his human shouldn’t go alone, and they’d been at large for most of the day. The younger man thanked me profusely, even though I barely did anything, and I’ve never been so thankful that my daughter wants to talk to everyone she meets.)

The Mother Of All Points Of View

, , , | | Related | July 15, 2019

(When my boyfriend and I start dating, he warns me that his mother is notorious for twisting things to suit her point of view. I have no idea how serious he is until I start hanging out at their house regularly. When I offer to cook dinner one night, she asks if I think she is incapable of feeding her own children. When she mentions hiring a babysitter, I offer to do it for free; she asks if I think she is looking for handouts. Finally, I just stop offering to do anything. One day, I am visiting my boyfriend and his family and they decide to go on a hike. I have asthma so I am a little worried, but I have my inhaler and everyone assures me it is an easy hike. This is a lie. It is six miles up a mountain and the humidity is so high, I have to stop to catch my breath several times. The last time I stop, my boyfriend goes ahead with his siblings and his mother stays behind with me. I am not happy about that arrangement to begin with, but when she starts talking, it gets worse.)

Mother: “Why do you do that?”

Me: “Do what?”

Mother: “Do whatever you think other people want you to do.”

Me: “Um… I just try to be helpful.”

Mother: “By undermining my parenting? How is that helpful?”

Me: “Undermining?”

Mother: “Offering to cook, doing the dishes, brushing [Youngest Girl]’s hair after her shower. You’re a suck-up and I don’t like it.”

Me: *still confused* “Oh… okay. I wasn’t trying to suck up, just… be helpful.”

Mother: “Well, you weren’t. And I don’t like your attitude, either.”

Me: “My attitude?”

Mother: “Yes. When you disagree with me. You’re welcome to have your own opinion, but you should keep it to yourself.”

Me: “I don’t… What did I say?”

Mother: “You openly disagree with me in front of my children, and then they think it’s okay to disagree with me, too!”

Me: “But I don’t understand. When did I disagree with you?”

Mother: “It doesn’t matter what it was about!”

Me: “I didn’t mean to undermine you or disagree with you. Can you give me an example so I can work on it?”

Mother: “I shouldn’t have to! It’s so simple! Don’t disagree with me! Do you know what [My Boyfriend] said the other day?”

Me: “Um… no?”

Mother: “He told me you two went out for sushi and miso soup.”

Me: “Yeah…?”

Mother: “Miso soup has soy! Soy makes boys gay! I told him he couldn’t eat soy products because it makes boys gay and he told me that you said it wasn’t true.”

Me: “Well, he’s not gay so… maybe it’s not.”

Mother: “That’s not the point!”

Me: “Wait. You use soy sauce all the time.”

Mother: “See?! Again, you’re just arguing with me!”

Me: *annoyed and sarcastic* “Okay. So, don’t be helpful, and don’t think for myself. Anything else?”

Mother: “Don’t be such a b****.”

Me: *stunned* “Wow. I can’t even… Really? Did you just call me a b****?”

Mother: *shrugs* “If it quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.”

Me: “Okay. I’m going to go back to the bottom now.”

Mother: “I knew you couldn’t do this hike. Pity, too, because the view from the top is beautiful.”

Me: “Nope. Can’t do it. I might have my own thoughts and decide to shove someone off a cliff.”

(I went back down and, as we all drove together, waited for them to return. While I was gone, the mother told my boyfriend about our conversation and how rude I was the whole time. I told him my side of the story and he rolled his eyes. He told me to just ignore her antics. We were together for a few more months, but we eventually broke up because I just couldn’t stand his mother anymore. Her tirades kept getting worse and she soon started attacking my family — even though she had never met them — for raising me the way they did. He hates me now, of course, because I didn’t break up with him for something he did. I felt awful for doing it but I couldn’t see myself spending the rest of my life listening to her talk to me like that.)