Welcome To The Other Side

, , , , , , , , , , | | Friendly | July 1, 2019

I am a nanny for a woman with chronic health issues. As a result of those issues, she doesn’t work, but most days she needs a lot of help with her children. On her worst days, she can’t even get out of bed, but on her better days, I’ll help her run errands or do fun things with the kids. To the casual observer, my interactions with the kids, whom I have been a primary caregiver to since infancy, are indistinguishable from their interactions with their mother. This leads to a lot of confusion as to who belongs to who when we go out, and the problem is only exacerbated by the fact that the children pronounce my name as “Ah-mee.” Obviously, most people see two women with kids who sound like they are calling them both “Mommy” and make a lot of assumptions. This is the story of a single, very long day. 

We spend the morning happily playing in the park, and the oldest child is practicing cartwheels and yelling, “Ah-mee, look at me!” while the little one tugs on my boss and says, “Mommy, snack, please!” I hear a disgusted snort from a nearby woman who begins yelling at us in a foreign language. She’s with a younger man who I assume is her grandson and he looks mortified, and says, “I’m so sorry, I’ll get her out of here! I’m so sorry! She’s just old! I’m so sorry!”

The man practically marches her away, muttering angrily to her, and it takes a few moments to guess at why the woman was yelling. The kids are a little spooked and confused, so my boss and I decide to get an early lunch. We go to a diner and, to our great surprise, our middle-aged waitress seats us and disappears, only to reappear, pointing at us and arguing with a younger waitress. I can’t hear the argument well, but I do manage to catch, “They’re in your section!” and, “You’re being ridiculous!”

Finally, the younger waitress comes over and makes a lame excuse for the other waitress, but it’s clear she’s furious with her coworker and she offers to comp our drinks “for the wait.” The whole time, our new waitress is attentive and polite and clearly going out of her way to make up for her coworker’s behavior. We end up leaving a 30% tip, partly because we love to imagine how put out the original waitress might be about losing out on a really good tip due to her own bigotry. 

Our last stop of the day is a makeup store where they clearly make the same assumption as everyone else that day, but rather than being jerks, they are overly attentive and condescending. Since we live in a very liberal area, this is something I’m a bit more used to when going out with the kids and my boss. Under normal circumstances, I barely notice the over-eager attention we sometimes garner, but after a whole day of bigots, it just feels like it’s more scrutiny. I’m also getting hyper-aware of the kids’ behavior, worried that any perceived flaws in my caregiving will reflect poorly on LGBT families. 

The saleswoman is talking to the older child, saying, “You have a pretty cool family there, pal!” and then actually winks at me. 

In hindsight, I could have used that opportunity to correct her assumption, but I was genuinely so exhausted at that point it didn’t even occur to me. 

Finally, our errands are done and I’m happy to put one of the longest days of my life behind me. Later that night at home, I make an online donation to an LGBT charity. I spent a whole day experiencing just a taste of what LGBT families must go through and it was exhausting. Please, everyone, don’t assume, and I can promise you that cooing and doting over “different” families only feels like condescension or pity and isn’t much more fun than other forms of prejudice. Just treat everybody the same!

Anyone Else Have “Chocolate Rain” Stuck In Their Head?

, , , , , | | Friendly | June 24, 2019

(When my brother is little, he often goes up to strangers and talks to them. We are at the park one day when he is about two, and he sees a black woman. I guess he hasn’t seen many black people before, because he runs up to her.)

Brother: “Why is your skin made of chocolate?”

(My parents are horrified and worried that she will be mad or offended. Instead, she just laughs.)

Woman: “I’ve been called a lot of things that are worse than chocolate!”

Cruella Has Moved On From Dalmatians

, , , , , | | Friendly | June 13, 2019

(My dog is grey with black spots all over, making her look like a dark Dalmatian. Her unusual markings get her a lot of attention and I’m used to answering a ton of questions about her, some of which get strangely personal, but only one woman has ever gotten really creepy about it.)

Woman: “Oh, my God! Your dog is beautiful! What kind is she?”

Me: “Thank you! She’s an Australian Shepard, Sheltie, and lab mix.”

Woman: “Oh, wow. Where did you get her?”

Me: “A friend of ours owns her mother; it’s how we’re so sure of her breeds.”

Woman: “Excellent! How much are they charging for them?”

Me: *not really understanding her* “I’m sorry? Charging for what?”

Woman: “For the puppies! I want one just like yours!”

Me: “Um, well, it was just my dog and her brother I’m afraid; there aren’t any more puppies.”

Woman: *cutting me off* “No, no, I mean when is the next litter expected?”

Me: *realizing this woman thinks my friend is a dog breeder* “Oh, no! I think we’ve gotten a little mixed up here. My friend isn’t breeding them; her dog just got pregnant unexpectedly.”

Woman: *suddenly angry* “Well, tell her she should! People would pay a lot of money for dogs like that!”

Me: “Umm, okay… They probably won’t go for it, though.”

(Not only are my friends not interested in breeding for money, but their dog was believed to be sterile and the pregnancy almost killed the poor dog, so I doubt they’d subject her to that again!)

Woman: *already moving forward aggressively* “Can I at least pet your dog? She’s just so cute!”

Me: *remembering all the horror stories I’ve heard about dog-napping* “Uh, she really doesn’t like strangers, and in fact, I really need to be going!”

(I pretty much ran away from her at that point, eager to not deal with her anymore, but not before I heard one last, “Your friend really SHOULD breed them!” Later, when relating the tale to my father, he proceeded to spend the next five minutes lecturing my dog about how she’d just narrowly avoided getting turned into a coat by Cruella DeVil. Now, whenever my dog misbehaves, I remind her of what a lovely coat she’d make!)

Unfiltered Story #154729

, , , | | Unfiltered | June 12, 2019

(I volunteer at the Olympic park where there is an information and mobility service which is where I do my work. This includes hiring mobility scooters out to people and we have to prioritise those with mobility issues who want to visit the park (eg. pregnant, elderly). This boy who looked 12 or 13 (considering I’m 16) came up to me and we sometimes do have to try and deter teenagers from trying to hire the scooters if they want to mess about in them)
Customer: Can I hire one of your scooters?
Me: We have to prioritise people with mobility issues? Do you have mobility issues?
Customer (jokingly): I’m fat. (he was)
Me (jokingly): You might want to walk it off then!
Customer (seemingly upset): What?!
(He then walked away and if I did hurt his feelings, I’m sorry but I can’t rent out scooters to teenagers unless they’re in crutches or something like that so…)

Unfiltered Story #151715

, , | | Unfiltered | May 22, 2019

(It is my first day on the job and I am supervising a mini basketball game. Our program hosts some outdoor games for local kids. There is a separate program offering lunch at a certain time and kids usually play while they wait for lunch at 11:45. It is 11:40 and a young girl approaches me)

Girl: My mom wants you
Me: Oh alright i’ll be right there
Girl’s Mom: (In a polite voice) Excuse me can my kids get their lunches? I have a dentist appointment and was hoping I could just take them to go.
Me: Oh i’m sorry ma’m it is my first day here and I am unfamiliar with how the lunch program runs. Let me get you someone more experienced to handle your concern.
(At this point the girl runs toward one of my co workers to get her help meanwhile the mom strikes up the following conversation)
Girl’s Mom: So do they give you the uniform or do you have to buy it?
Me: No we get the shirt but the shorts and shoes come from us hahaha Actually I had these shorts from a previous job I had so they came in handy
Girl’s Mom: Oh that’s wonderful!
Co-worker: Hi what can I do for you?
(Girl’s Mother completely throws me under the bus)
Girl’s mom: Yeah can you tell this girl to just say yes. I have a dentist appointment soon and here I am wasting my time getting all frustrated to talk to you just to get my kid’s lunch! I mean why can’t she just say yes its so stupid!

(The kicker? We are not affiliated with the lunch program for the park and her kids were not even participating in the park games)

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