Singular “They” Traces Back To The 1300s, As It Happens…

, , , , , , , , | Related | July 18, 2020

My mother was diagnosed late in life with Aspergers Syndrome. One day, I notice she has posted a Facebook comment under some Christian article about the gender-neutral pronoun “they/their.” She states that “they” can only be used as a plural, and that if “he” or “she” don’t fit, there is always “it”.

I respectfully reply that, while they may have been used as plural pronouns in the past, language evolves and you most definitely can’t refer to anyone as “it”. I also comment that for the sake of tolerance and acceptance, “they/their” as gender-neutral pronouns should be embraced. 

She doesn’t respond, so later that day I ring her to ask if she really feels like calling people “it” is appropriate and to tell her that I actually think it’s pretty mean. I tell her that using respectful language won’t hurt her. She says something like, “And I suppose if I invite a stranger into my house and they slit my throat, that won’t hurt me, either?” — weird, I know! — and she hangs up on me. I try to call back a few times but she refuses my calls. 

I carefully craft an email to her explaining how I feel about what she said. I say that I understand that it’s difficult for her generation — she’s nearly seventy — to accept these societal changes, but it’s important that she does. I also reiterate that language evolves, even including a link to words that have changed meaning over time. I don’t hear back. 

A few days later, she turns up on my doorstep, hands me back my spare house key, tells me that she’s no longer my mother, and walks away. I yell after her to try to see my side but she keeps walking. When I call out, “What about the girls?” referring to my children, her granddaughters, she pauses, turns, and says, “Your girls, your problem!” I’m understandably upset. 

The next day she deletes me, my husband, and my mother-in-law from Facebook. 

I call my sister and my aunty — my mum’s sister — and explain the situation. They are also upset and both promise to talk to her about it. I ask them not to as I don’t want my issue to become their problem.

A few days later, I decide that I’ll be the bigger person for the sake of family and go to visit her with flowers. Fortunately, she’s out in the front of her house when I arrive; I was seriously concerned that she’d slam the door in my face. I give her the flowers and say I am sorry that I upset her and I just want to listen and not talk. She says she felt bullied by me and that her argument was about language and not transphobia. Rather than argue, I just make small talk until she feels better and promises to friend me and my family on Facebook again. 

I can’t say everything is back to normal. I haven’t given her my spare house key back and I won’t ask her to babysit my children again, but at least we can have family functions without any animosity. Fortunately, my mother-in-law is a loving mother to me and an amazing grandmother to my kids so they aren’t missing out too much not having a close relationship with my mother, but it’s still sad that rather than have a reasonable discussion, her first reaction was to cut us out of her life.

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Sounds Like Dad Is The Thing That Needs The Most Fixing

, , , , , , , | Related | July 17, 2020

I am living with my parents. My father has a strict philosophy stating that if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it, no matter how bad its condition, and he always complains when my mother tries to buy new things to replace the barely-working existing ones, much to her irritation. Here are just a few examples of the headaches we’ve put up with.

Example 1:

Our kitchen faucet develops a leak around the base of the spigot, which gets worse and worse over time. My mom buys a new faucet to replace it, but by the time she comes home, my dad has already “fixed” the spigot… by duct-taping it. Because we could no longer turn the spigot due to my dad’s “fix,” we had to use the sprayer to fill the dish tub from then on.

Example 2:

One of our toilets develops a leak. As it turns out, the fill valve has a faulty gasket. My dad isn’t aware of this, so my mom buys a new fill valve and has her older brother, a plumber, install it while my dad is at work. My dad comes home while my uncle is installing the new valve and begins berating my mom for changing it out. He then rips the new valve out and installs the old valve. The leak worsens, but my dad just puts down a bucket and tells us to deal with it.

Example 3:

The same leaky toilet now develops a crack near the base. My mom decides that the toilet has to be replaced and has my uncle come over again to install a new one. My uncle has just removed the old toilet when all of a sudden, we hear a loud smashing sound. My dad has come home from work early again and has just smashed the brand-new, $3600 luxury toilet my uncle bought for my mom. My enraged uncle begins chewing my dad out, but my dad simply screams back at him and my mom and gives them a “lecture” about not fixing what isn’t broken. My uncle then storms off as my dad starts reinstalling the old toilet, causing the crack on the base to worsen as he does.

That last incident ended up being the final straw for my mom, who filed for divorce a week later. She won full custody of me and we moved out of town. My uncle also sued my dad for the destruction of the new toilet and won about $10,000 in damages.

For about six years after the divorce, I did not visit or hear from my father again, until recently when I got a call from my grandfather — the only person to stay in touch with him. According to my grandpa, my dad was moving in with him; the township had seized and condemned my dad’s house after they found that the property was in terrible shape. The faucet and toilet had never been replaced since the divorce and were leaking more than ever before, causing significant water damage to the walls and floor. There was also additional damage from a leak in the roof above the kitchen and several leaky window frames throughout the house, many of which just had trash bags duct-taped over them.

Most importantly, however, there was a large patch of black mold behind the shower in the bathroom, which had apparently been there since just before my mom and I moved out; luckily, we never showed any symptoms of it. The property was demolished by the township three months after my dad was forced to leave it. Incredibly, he still insists to this day that the property was perfectly fine and should never have been torn down.

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You Wasting Your Time Is Not My Concern

, , , , , | Right | July 17, 2020

I work at a museum with a ride you can pay extra for. However, the line takes a very long time to get through, so when it’s busy, we have to stop selling tickets quite a while before closing. The exhibit has an entrance and an exit door. I go to put out the closed sign and shut the entry door. A little girl sees me do this.

Girl: “Are you guys closed?”

Me: “Sorry, we are.”

Another girl, who I assume is her sister, speaks up.

Other Girl: “Look, the exit door is still open!”

Three girls and their dad sprint over to the exit door before I can close it and run up to the ticketing desk where my coworker is cleaning up.

Dad: “Hi. We’d like to buy three tickets for the ride.”

Coworker: “I’m sorry, but we’re closed.”

Dad: “But the museum doesn’t close until five!”

Coworker: “Yes, but there are still lots of people in line, and by the time we get to all of them, it will be five.”

Dad: “So, if we wait until the end of the line is done and it’s not five yet, can we go?”

Coworker: “No, I’ve already shut down the card reader and turned in my cash.”

Dad: “Okay.”

The family sits in the waiting area for the whole thirty or forty minutes it takes to get through the line. Once the last group rides, it’s a couple of minutes past five.

Dad: “Cool, so can we ride now?”

Coworker: “No, we’re still closed.”

Dad: “But we just waited here for thirty minutes!”

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You’re A Solid Ten (Dollars)

, , , | Right | July 15, 2020

I’m a cashier at a large grocery store. I’m ringing through a middle-aged man and his son, who is around my age: early twenties.

Father: “So, do you like working here? Is it a good job?”

Me: “It’s not a bad job. Some days are better than others, of course.”

Father: “And how much money do you make here?”

Me: *Slightly confused* “A little over ten dollars an hour?”

Father: “TEN DOLLARS AN HOUR?! Holy crap!” *Turns to his son* “She makes TEN DOLLARS AN HOUR! That’s way more than you make; you don’t make anything! You should get a job here!” *Pauses* “Better yet, just marry her!” *Back to me* “Will you marry my son?”

Me: “Umm…”

Father: “Because he really needs money and you make ten dollars an hour!”

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Lowering The Metal Bar For Parenting

, , , , , , , | Right | July 15, 2020

A mother and her two young sons come in. Unfortunately, “Mommy” is more concerned with shopping than with her children’s safety. At most department stores, this one included, there are long metal poles with curves on the ends to take hangers with clothing off of high racks. These two boys have each taken one of the poles and are using them to sword fight.

I approach the boys and take away the “toys.” They are a few feet away from their mother.

Me: “I’m sorry, gentlemen, but you cannot play in this store; it is dangerous and rude. Furthermore, customers and employees here need to use these poles; they are not toys.”

Immediately, their mother starts swearing loudly and screaming at me about how I can’t tell her how to raise her children.

Me: “Ma’am, I don’t really care how you raise your children. I’m merely following store policy and we can’t have anyone using the store or our property like a playground.”

Customer: “I want to see your manager! You’re going to lose your job!”

Me: *Calmly* “My manager asked me to stop your children from using these to hurt themselves and other customers, but if you’d like to speak with her, please follow me; she’s right at the cash stand.”  

The customer follows me to my manager, swearing loudly the whole time. My manager listens to the customer.

Customer: “She grabbed my children and shook them and then called me a bad mother just because my sons were being a little loud! You need to fire this b**** immediately!”

My manager, who had heard and seen the whole incident from only about ten feet away, calmly repeated store policy and told the customer she was mistaken about me touching her children. When the customer threatened to sue, my manager explained again, very calmly, that the incident had been filmed by multiple cameras.

Suddenly, the customer walked off to shop some more.

A few minutes later, in another department, a coworker caught the boys playing with metal bars they had broken off a display rack. She took them away and went back to work because it was busy.

Apparently, the boys either found the same metal bars or broke another display rack to duel each other. I found the one passed/knocked out under a clothing rack in a nearby department with blood coming out of his ears because his brother had hit him too hard over the head with a metal bar and was afraid to tell anyone.

My manager called an ambulance and the police. It was several hours before the police found the mother. She had left the store with her purchases and the one child to do more shopping in the rest of the mall. She didn’t even notice her other son was gone!

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