The State Of California Would Like A Word With You

, , , , , | Friendly | February 10, 2020

(There is a tiny island — literally less than 15 square feet — near my house. When I am nine, two friends and I kayak to explore it.) 

Friend #1: *after walking around the whole island* “Okay, so now what should we do?”

Friend #2: “Ooh, I have an idea!” *lights a match* “Let’s make a fire.”

Friend #1 & Me: “No, no, no, no! We are not going to burn the island down!”

Friend #2: “Oh, come on. It’s just a little fire.”

Me: “Okay, first of all, you’re eight, so we aren’t lighting a fire. Second, you are only wearing a bathing suit; like, where did you even get the matches?!”

Friend #2: “I carry them everywhere I go.”

(We kayaked home and she proceeded to light every single candle in my house… without adult supervision, of course. I’m still wondering why parents would let an eight-year-old walk around with matches.)

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On A Bus To Get Somewhere Hopeful

, , , , , | Friendly | October 20, 2019

(I’m waiting at a bus stop on my way to work. A Hispanic guy, about my age, nervously comes over.)

Guy: “I… sorry, bad English…”

Me: *in Spanish* “I speak Spanish. Do you need help?”

(He suddenly looks hopeful, and continues in Spanish.)

Guy: “I’m trying to get down to [Government Office], but my phone died and I don’t know how to get there on the bus.”

Me: “Oh, hold on!”

(I get up my phone, pull up the office, and get him the bus number and which stop to get off at.)

Guy: “Thank you! So much!”

Me: “You’re welcome! Do you have a bus pass?”

(He suddenly looks crestfallen.)

Guy: “Oh, no… I don’t have any money right now.”

(I pull an all-day pass out of my wallet and hand it to him.)

Me: “Here. I keep a spare on me just in case. Good luck!”

(A couple of weeks later, I run into him at the same stop.)

Guy: “Hey, you’re the girl that helped me out!”

Me: “I remember you! Did you get down there all right?”

Guy: “Yeah! Thank you so much!”

(Turns out, he was a recent immigrant and was trying to get some forms dropped off for his citizenship. We ended up exchanging social media to keep in touch.)

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Will Not Miss Mister

, , , , | Right | October 18, 2019

(In France, as probably almost everywhere, non-profits hire students to stop people in the street to ask them for donations. It’s expected that they remain friendly and smiling, and people seem to take that as a “please abuse me” sign. Sure, they can be a bit annoying, but they never insist once you tell them you’re not interested. I have a rather old bike which tends to fall apart easily, needing me to stop for a minute or two to pick up the broken parts and put them back together. One day, I stop right next to a student working for an NPO and hear this exchange between the employee and an old guy.)

NPO Employee: “Hi! Do you have a minute?”

(Note that in French, using words such as, “sir,” “mister,” etc., would be weird in that sentence and setting.)

Old Guy: “If you want to talk to me, you’ll call me mister!”

NPO Employee: *hesitant* “Okay, and does mister have a minute?”

Old Guy: *with a smug smile* “No!”

(I don’t like it when a**holes seem to think they can bother whomever they want, just because they’re younger, or for whatever reason. I stand up from my improvised bike repair and walk up to the old guy. I’m a 20-ish female, but I’m 1.80m — 5’9” — and am very well-built, so I tower over him.)

Me: *in the sweetest voice I can muster* “Then why did mister feel the need to importune that underpaid student? Would mister deign explain it to someone who isn’t contractually obligated to smile and be polite to him, or would mister rather f*** off?”

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Grandpa Was A Playa!

, , , , | Romantic | October 1, 2019

(When my grandfather was in high school, he and one of his friends made a bet to see who could take more girls on dates in one month. They both ended up taking out a lot of girls in a short amount of time, and something was bound to blow up in their faces. One day my grandfather and several of his friends are messing around on the boardwalk and they meet up with a girl my grandfather knows vaguely from school. She joins the group and spends over half the day with them. After they’ve been hanging out for a few hours, she turns to my grandfather.)

Girl: “You have no idea who I am, do you?”

Grandfather: “Um… not really.”

Girl: “You’re supposed to be picking me up in half an hour.”

(He was very lucky that the girl thought the whole thing was hilarious and wasn’t offended that the guy who was supposed to be taking her out on a date didn’t recognize her.)

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A “Bit” Too Late

, , , , , | Friendly | September 28, 2019

(I’m walking to the bus stop when a group of grey-haired men walks toward me.)

Gray-Haired Man: “But I don’t need to hear the problems of a bit–” *sees me* “–female customer.”

(I appreciated that he didn’t want to offend me!)

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