Family Paints A Bad Picture Of Itself

, , , , , , | Right | May 12, 2020

I paint faces at a theme park geared toward younger children. It’s 100+ degrees outside and I brought a drink in with me so that I could have a cup to drink water from our stand cooler.

A woman with three children comes up to the stand. One child is in a stroller while the other two, a boy and a girl, are following behind her. The girl is wearing a button from a prominent children’s group stating that she’s from New Jersey.

Me: “Hello! What can I do for you today?”

The customer points at a button on her daughter’s shirt.

Customer: “Does she get a discount for this?”

Me: “I’m sorry, we don’t, but I can make your face paint extra special.”

The customer acts a bit offended but gets her daughter in the chair, and I do a free upgrade on the design. As soon as I’m done, she places her son in the chair and proceeds to let the girl run around and trash my stand while I paint his face. I say nothing but get the paint done rather quickly. The boy jumps down and joins his sister in messing up the stand.

Me: “Okay, ma’am, is there anything else I can do for you?”

Customer: *Sounding agitated* “How much do I owe you?”

I ring her up and give her the total. As I’m handing her the change, she screams.

Customer: “OH, MY GOD! THAT IS DISGUSTING! WHO’S IS THAT?!”

I look to see that her son has gotten into the storage area for our personal items, taken out my drink, and finished half of it.

Me: *Calmly* “Um, that’s actually mine.”

The customer turns an angry glare on me.

Customer: “It’s yours? Too bad.”

Me: “Ma’am, that was the only way for me to get any water today.”

Customer: “Oh, well. Come on kids!”

She grabbed her children and pushed the stroller away, leaving me to clean up the mess left by her children… including throwing away my half-consumed drink.

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Parents, Man

, , , , , , | Related | May 11, 2020

I’m a transman. Before realising I wanted to transition when I was twenty, I struggled with my sexuality, believing myself to be a lesbian, which my parents — of course — passed off as a phase, before I realized I was “sort of bisexual.” (My actual sexuality is more complex than that, as I understood some years later.)

After I’ve been living as male for a while, I have a long-distance relationship with a lovely woman for a couple of years. It fizzles out, and a while later, I start talking to a sweet guy online.

Here is how my mother and my stepfather take that.

Mother: “Oh, did I tell you that [Older Cousin] is getting married?”

Me: “No? I didn’t even know she’d been seeing anyone since she broke up with her last boyfriend.”

Mother: “Yeah, he works in the medical industry. Quite well off. He’s called John.”

Me: “Huh. I’ve been talking to a guy called John who’s interested in me.”

Mother: “Wait. Really?”

Me: “Yes?”

Mother: “I thought you were straight now.”

Me: “What?!”

Mother: “I mean, after [Ex-Girlfriend]—”

Me: “I’ve always been into both men and women! That hasn’t changed because I finally had a longer-than-brief relationship with a woman!”

Mother: “Oh. Well, how do you know he’s really into you?”

Me: “…”

Mother: “I mean… what if he just wants—” 

She gestures towards my crotch.

Me: “Because. He’s. Gay.”

Also, I don’t think most straight men want to sleep with someone who is a man, and both looks and sounds like it, simply because he has a vagina. Come on, now.

After I get with this guy, this happens.

Mother: “I told your dad—” *meaning my stepfather* “—about you and John.”

Me: “Oh?”

Mother: “Yeah, he didn’t get it.”

Me: “What’s not to get?”

Mother: “Well, he doesn’t understand what the point of being a man is if you’re just going to have a relationship with a man anyway.”

Me: *Pause* “Oh, my God.”

Anyway, “John” and I eventually got married, once we were legally able to. He’s pretty fantastic. My parents behaved terribly on our wedding day, and that was the final straw on top of a whole bale of being awful. I’ve cut ties with them, and that’s also been pretty excellent!

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Take A Deep Breath

, , , , , | Related | May 10, 2020

This takes place before the recent disease outbreak hits the US shores but is still making big headlines all over the evening news, which my elderly mother watches religiously. She’s also an avid Facebook user and believes that anything on Facebook is true.

One afternoon, I help my mother open Amazon packages and put her new over-the-counter meds away. At the end, I gather all of the air-filled packing pillows that came in the box

Me: “Oh, boy! I have air pillows to pop!”

Mom: *Suddenly angry and anxious* “DO NOT POP THOSE IN HERE!”

Me: “Why? What’s wrong with popping the air pillows?”

Mom: “Don’t you know?! I saw it on Facebook! Those are manufactured in China! They’re filled with Chinese air! We could get that awful illness!”

I stand there for a moment, my brain trying to make sense of what she said.

Me: “Mom, these air pockets came from Amazon. They’re filled in the Amazon warehouse. I’ve seen them do it! So, these are filled with—” 

I look at the box code.

Me: “—Dallas air, not Chinese.”

She stares at me for a moment.

Mom: “Are you sure?”

Me: “I’m 100% sure, mom. Remember, I worked at the local warehouse a few years ago. They have a little machine that fills them on demand right there in the warehouse.”

Mom: “Oh. Okay. You can pop those, then.”

Of course, now, every time we get packages with the air packing pillows, I show them to my mom and jokingly ask, “Do you want some Chinese air?” She is NOT amused.

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You Think YOU Hate Math?

, , , , , , | Learning | May 8, 2020

I work as a private tutor to help pay for college. I usually tutor math, but sometimes I’ll also tutor the more math-heavy sciences. Most of my students are regulars who have weekly or monthly appointments, but at exam time, I get a lot of new and often one-time students. They — or their parents — want someone to help them study for their exams.

When I get a three-hour booking for Algebra 2, I know it’s going to be one of those cram sessions. However, once I arrive, the mother asks me to also tutor her other two children in AP Physics and AP Chemistry after I’m done with the three-hour session. She makes it sound like they only need a little help with the math, so I agree on the condition that she pays a slightly higher rate for the last-minute change and understands that I haven’t had time to review any of the material for the second two subjects.

It turns out that all three of her children need an intense cram session to learn an entire semester’s worth of material in a single day. The first kid keeps to the three-hour time frame, but the other two need even longer. It’s not just the math they need help with, either.

I arrive at 9:00 am, and I’m there until 9:00 pm.

They provide me with two meals, since I wasn’t expecting to be there so long. However, there’s an ingredient mixed into the sauce at dinner that I’m allergic to. The allergy is mild, so I don’t even notice until after I’ve finished eating and don’t need medical attention. It does make my throat sore, though. For the last three hours or so, I’m progressively losing my voice, between the allergic reaction and the fact that I’ve been talking almost nonstop for hours.

By the end of it, I’m mentally exhausted. The mother states an amount of money and asks if it’s right while counting out bills — most other clients pay electronically or by check. I’ve never even seen that much money at once, so I just nod without thinking about it. It’s not until I get to the car that I realize the total doesn’t cover the number of hours I worked, even at my base rate. If it was just a few dollars, I might not bother going back, but it’s short by about $100.

I go back and knock on the door, feeling a little ridiculous to have not caught the mistake right away. I explain what happened, and the mother, of course, asks why I got the math wrong if I’m a math tutor.

The father is standing nearby and hears my explanation of the situation. Before I can answer, he comes up behind his wife and says, “Probably because you just had her work a twelve-hour shift of mentally taxing work when she was expecting a few hours, tops, and then nearly poisoned her. Just pay her, honey.”

The wife still seems reluctant, so the husband gives me two hundred-dollar bills from his wallet and tells me to keep the change. It was probably the most money I’ve ever made in a single day, but I decided I was never doing it again. This is why I now have a blanket policy of no unexpected extra students or school subjects.

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What A Pissy Attitude

, , , , , , | Related | May 7, 2020

My brother and I are twenty-six and thirty-two respectively, and we live with our parents because the economy sucks.

One of the fuses in our apartment went out. I contacted the property manager, but it was Saturday night and she couldn’t get someone from maintenance to come out until Monday, seeing as it wasn’t an emergency — just that a couple of lights and outlets weren’t working, but nothing pressing. One of the lights not working was in the bathroom. 

Around midnight that same night, Dad had to pee. Instead of sitting on the toilet or something, he apparently just could not aim properly and peed all around the area of the toilet. Mom overheard him cursing about it and came to get me, because she’s blind and, well, that shit is nasty. So, I had to get out of bed and go wash the bathroom floor.

When I asked him why he couldn’t just sit to pee until it was fixed, he angrily retorted, “Well, if someone would finally call the property manager so we can get the fuse fixed, then I could see what I was doing!

“Dad, I already called,” I explained. “They can’t send anybody out until Monday.”

“Oh.”

For the rest of the weekend, he was able to magically not pee on the floor, even at night. That’s when I knew it was done out of spite.

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