Not Even Faintly Sympathetic

, , , , , , | | Related | May 16, 2019

I have the fun combination of vasovagal syncope and orthostatic hypotension. In layman’s terms, I faint. A lot. I’ve gotten fairly good at knowing and avoiding my triggers, or at least being able to recognize the onset of an episode early enough to mitigate it. That said, I do still actually faint at least once or twice a year, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s honestly more annoying than distressing.

Understandably, though, the people around me are less nonchalant about it. It probably doesn’t help that according to witnesses, my eyes don’t close when I faint.

My favorite example of this is the time I went to the optometrist after many years without seeing one. He used what is apparently either an outdated or just very intense test for glaucoma, because everyone I’ve ever described it to says they’ve never had anything of the sort done. It involved placing my chin on a rest inside this terrifying-looking contraption while he very slowly pressed a little rubber stopper against the surface of my eye. As it turned out, this was a trigger that I did not previously know about — because I don’t make a habit of pressing objects into my eyeballs for minutes at a time — and I passed right out.

When I woke up, I was on the floor with a very flustered nurse keeping watch over me. This was where it got funny, as often when I faint there will be people who simply will not accept my insistence that if they just leave me alone for a few minutes, I’ll bounce right back. The nurse was one of these sorts, and she insisted that she should get me some water, or an ice pack, or anything. I consented to a glass of water more for her sake than mine, but she wasn’t placated. She insisted that she should get my dad from the waiting room. Now, my family is just as used to my little spells as I am, so I warned the nurse that he was not going to be as comforting as she thought, but if she really wanted to, she could go get him.

She came back minutes later, and as soon as my dad saw me lying on the floor in a dark exam room — because the nurse also insisted on turning out the lights for some reason — he just gave a long-suffering sigh and informed me, and I quote, “You’re such a wuss.”

I cracked up laughing. The nurse was horrified.

I got up and walked out under my own power five minutes later. I now warn my optometrists before any and all glaucoma tests, but sometimes they don’t listen and I get to relive the whole situation over, though unfortunately without my dad’s commentary.

The Bigger Child

, , , , , | | Learning | May 16, 2019

(I am a kindergarten teacher at a private school. The children are waiting for their parents to pick them up. It has been quite a difficult day.)

Mother: *furious* “EXCUSE ME! Why is my son telling me you did not give him some birthday cake?”

Me: “Actually—”

Mother: “I demand you give him some cake now, or I am calling the police for abuse!”

Me: “Actually, Mrs. [Mother], your son did get a piece of cake; however, he decided to throw it at one of the girls. Then, when [Son’s Friend] didn’t give him his piece, he kicked him in the crotch. We do not reward bullying or violence, Mrs. [Mother], and your son was appropriately reprimanded. A letter will be sent to you with more details.”


Me: “You will not use that language in this building. I am going to have to ask you to leave. You and your son are no longer welcome here.”

(She continued screaming for another couple of minutes until another teacher came out with the aforementioned cake inside a glass cover. She stormed up to it and tried to wrestle it off the teacher. The cover was broken and both the mother and the teacher were injured. The mother then stormed out, smashing a window in the process. We were all a bit rattled by it, but tried to calm everything down when two police officers arrived. They said they’d had reports of a woman — me — wielding a knife, demanding that I “convert the children to the burka” — a literal quote. We showed them the security footage of the area and had to go down to the police station to give statements — the mother included, who was still outside being seen by a paramedic. The other teacher refused to press charges and we were all free to go. A week later, the mother showed up again to drop off her son. I refused, saying they were no longer welcome. She had another tantrum and broke the same window we had just replaced the day before. She then left, screaming that she would take her money elsewhere. At this school, parents do not have to pay for kindergarten if they are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, which she was. Her sister left her son with us occasionally, and I’ve heard that that mother has built such a reputation that she has to take her son out of the county and is going to be homeschooling. I’m considering allowing the child to attend with us again, even if just for a bit of stability, but I’m fearful of what he might do. It was a first-time incident, but it was pretty serious.)

Dad Jokes Have Been Around Since Dinosaur Times

, , , , , , | | Related | May 16, 2019

(My mum, my mum’s partner, and I are in the kitchen while dinner is being made. He likes to “stir the pot” and Mum likes to tease him for “being old.” For reference, he is 63, and she is nearly 50. Also, he is an electrician.)

Mum: “You know, there was a time before electricity? The Dark Ages? You should know, you’re an electrician!”

Mum’s Partner: “Yes, the dinosaur age.”

Mum: “Exactly! Do you remember it?”

Mum’s Partner: “Of course. I had a pet one. Terry.”

Me: “Terry the T-Rex?”

Mum’s Partner: *without missing a beat* “No. Terry Dactyl.”

(All of us just pause for a second before bursting into laughter. After a few minutes:)

Mum: “I think that was the ‘daddest’ of dad jokes!”

(Dad jokes are bad, but this one was so bad, it was almost good!)

Those Who Fling Themselves Will Sting Themselves

, , , , , | | Right | May 15, 2019

(I am at the pharmacy with my one-year-old in her pushchair, waiting for my prescription to be filled. It’s five minutes before closing and the staff have been very helpful so far. A mother with a young girl storms in, slams down a prescription, and shouts at the employee, “And don’t take f****** forever!” Her daughter begins running around the store, picking up items and dropping them, screeching, and being annoying. Then, she spots the pushchair.)

Girl: *to me* “I want to pick up the baby!”

Me: “No, sorry, she’s not well at the moment. You don’t want to catch her cold.”

Girl: “I want the baby, now!”

Me: “No, no picking up or playing with baby today.”

(The girl goes to grab my daughter and I move the pushchair out of reach.)

Me: *to mother* “Could you come get your daughter, please? She’s going to hurt herself.”

(The mother looks at me, smirks, and looks away. The little girl then proceeds to fling herself at my daughter, but as I once again move the pram, she ends up face-planting into a basket of body wash. Cue screaming, crying, and a full-blown tantrum.)

Mother: *comes straight into my face, without picking up or checking on her daughter* “How f****** dare you?! You did that on purpose! I could f****** sue! I’ll smash your head in. You’re gonna be penniless when I’m done with you, b****!”

Me: *in my quiet, furious Mum Voice* “You might actually want to check on your daughter, though by the amount of noise she’s making I don’t think she’s dying. I’d like to see you try and sue. I asked you twice to control your daughter; if you’d actually been watching her this wouldn’t have happened. Now, get out of my face before I move you myself. Besides, I’m sure the CCTV of you threatening me would look lovely on Facebook.”

(The mother silently grabs her daughter and sits down, staring at me like I’m made out of spiders. She grabs her prescription and forces her daughter out the door as the girl shouts for a lollipop.)

Cashier: “Mrs. [My Name], here’s your prescription and the Yankee candle you ordered.”

Me: “I didn’t order anything, sorry.”

Cashier: “I guess this one’s on me, then. Thank you; that woman has been a nightmare for years, and no one’s stood up to her before.”

Me: *laughs* “If it hadn’t been for my daughter, I probably wouldn’t have, either. You know what they say about mother bears and their cubs!”

No Haven From Tigers

, , , , , | | Related | May 13, 2019

(I spend a summer in college working as a tour guide for my school, and I like everything about it except for some of the parents. One day when I am manning the front desk of the Visitor’s Office, I get the following call around 9:50.)

Caller: “I’m trying to find your office for the 10:00 free tour, and I can’t find it anywhere! Our daughter needs to be on this tour. We’re at the right address.”

Me: “Well, that’s odd. Just to confirm, you’re at [address]?”

Caller: “Yes, [address], North Haven. And we’ve been looking all over!”

Me: “Ah, that explains it. We’re in New Haven, not North Haven.”

Caller: *yelling at the other person in car* “You idiot, we’re in the wrong town! Put in the address for New Haven, and you’d better hope we get there on time.” *to me* “Do you think we’ll get there on time? [College] is our daughter’s first-choice college, and she needs to be on this tour!”

Me: “Well, I’m not sure, ma’am, but I hope to see you soon!”

Caller: *degenerates into unintelligible bickering with the driver as she hangs up*

(At 10:30, the family of three bursts into the office, husband and wife sniping at each other. They stride up to my desk:)

Caller: “Has the tour left yet?”

Me: “Sorry, at this point it would be difficult to catch up to them.”

Caller: *looking stricken* “Our daughter has her heart set on your school! Is there any way we can get a tour today?”

Manager: “Well, you can pay $100 for a private tour.”

Caller: “Yes, thank you, we’ll do that! Anything for our girl.”

(As they paid my manager and arranged the tour, I looked down at their daughter. She looked back up at me — from her stroller! The girl was clearly two or three years old, and I doubt she could even say the word “college” yet, let alone have a first-choice school.)

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