Cane You Please Back Off?

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | February 14, 2021

Several years ago, I was on the bus, playing on my original Nintendo DS and listening to music. 

Apparently, this older man started asking me what I was playing on and I couldn’t hear him because, you know, I was listening to music. 

Since I, a stranger, wasn’t paying attention to him, he decided to hit me in the shins with his cane!

He was amazed that I wasn’t receptive to answering his questions after this.

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When Push Comes To Punch

, , , , | Learning | February 6, 2021

When I’m in school, maybe nine years old, a new government program gives all children from elementary to high school little laptops with little functionality, aimed to teach kids about technology. Since they can go on the Internet, most kids use them to play games.

I’m sitting outside my classroom before class with a friend and a classmate, with the latter’s five-year-old sister standing near. I have come to hate this child because every time her kinder class crosses paths with mine, she aims to do her best to annoy me, including trying to steal whatever I am holding or have near me.

We are all playing games on our little laptops, nobody is paying attention to the kid, and I have my laptop bag next to me on the bench. The kid approaches her sister and suddenly snatches my bag and takes off through the courtyard. I put my laptop aside and take off after her, expecting to have to force a bathroom door open or call a teacher, because that’s where she usually runs to. But when we are nearing the restroom doors, the girl trips on a loose tile, falls on her face, and starts crying.

I stop, take my bag, and start walking back, but my classmate’s younger brother intercepts me, followed by his sister.

Brother: “You pushed my sister! What the f*** is wrong with you?!”

Me: “I didn’t even to—”

He punches me right in the mouth and I throw a punch back, but his sister and my friends manage to pull us apart. I walk off holding back tears out of pride, and I spend the rest of the day tasting blood.

When the classes are done, I spot my mom amongst the crowd of parents waiting outside our classroom and run to her, but I am stopped by another woman yanking my arm violently.

Woman: “Who the h*** do you think you are, pushing a little girl?! I should teach you some f****** manners myself, you little monster!”

I am starting to cry because this strange woman is screaming in my face and is still holding my arm. Then, I spot the little demon grinning behind her. Next to her is her brother, glaring at me, and then my classmate, pale as a ghost and trying to step away from her family. In the middle of the third or fourth time the woman calls me some form of the words “monster” or “bully,” another voice, equally as angry, rises above the yells.

Mom: “Excuse me.”

My mom makes her way to us, yanks the woman away from me, and hides me behind her.

Mom: “What gives you the right to touch my daughter?”

Woman: “Your little monster pushed my baby to the ground and then punched my boy in the face! I should call the police on you right now!”

My mom turns to me with a questioning look. By now I am in a complete panic, sobbing and hiccuping, but I am able to tell my side, including the brother punching me first. By the time I finish, the brother is trying to hide behind his older sister, and the sister has started defensively crying. Their mother explodes in expletives and curses, but this time talking to her kids.

Woman: “I did not raise you to steal and lie to me, [Sister]! Why in the h***—”

We didn’t hear the rest of it because my mom pulled me away and out of the school, muttering about crazy people and reassuring me that I’d done nothing wrong. 

The next day, the little demon and her brother stayed as far away from me as possible. My classmate came up to me and apologised many times for her siblings’ actions and for not stopping either of them. She turned out to be one of the sweetest girls I ever met, which still baffles me, having witnessed her mother’s behaviour.

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Off The Clock, Customer Block, Part 3

, , , , , | Right | December 22, 2020

I am a cashier at a big box retail store. I have clocked out of an eight-hour shift, exhausted during the Christmas season, and changed into my normal-people street clothes — jeans and a hoodie — not the dress code dress pants and shirt.

A customer recognizes me and flags me down.

Customer: “You! Help me!”

Me: “I apologize, but I am off my shift and another associate will assist you.”

She grabs my arm and digs her nails into me! If I wasn’t wearing long sleeves I think she would have broken skin.

Customer: *Screaming* “I’ve been standing here waiting for you because I saw you walking into the staff room! Now that you’re here, you’re going to help me!”

I just look at my arm and back to her.

Me: “Ma’am, unhand my body or I will ask my manager to call the police.”

She loosens her grip but doesn’t let go, and instead, she tries tugging me towards the cash registers.

Customer: “The lines are too long! I’m not waiting! You’re head cashier, so do your job!”

Since I have to be bag-searched at the exit near the registers, I allow this deranged woman to pull me towards them. She pushes me behind a register where I then pick up the phone that pages for a manager.

Me: “Available manager to till four, please.”

The woman is busy unloading her basket on the counter. The manager comes over and I open my backpack; they peek inside.

Me: *Smiling* “Okay, see you tomorrow!”

I then walked out to catch my bus.

The next day, my manager told me that the customer screamed for fifteen minutes about how I needed to be fired for my lack of customer service skills. I got written up because that particular manager hated me, but it was worth it to know that the woman could have waited in line for eight minutes and been out of the store instead of spending thirty minutes trying to beat the system.

Off The Clock, Customer Block, Part 2
Off The Clock, Customer Block

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Bad Customers Are An Itch You Can’t Scratch

, , , , | Right | December 19, 2020

It’s the beginning of the Christmas season. There is a lot of Christmas product to put out as well as the regular items going faster due to the increase in foot traffic. As I’m shelving, I get a slight tickle between my shoulder blades, so I reach back and give it one good, satisfying scratch before getting right back to stocking. A second or so later, I feel another hard scratch, which is startling as my hands are accounted for, and as far as I know, I’m alone up front.

Startled, I jump and cry out. My foot gets caught under the flatbed cart I’ve got the boxes on so I fall over, into the wall next to me, where I take down every single hook within my silhouette. I finally end up on the ground, surrounded by socks and some of the small boxes I was stocking.

I look up to see who did that and see a middle-aged woman looking down at me. Amazingly, she looks surprised, as well.

Customer: “Sorry. I thought you might not be able to reach.”

Me: “Please don’t do that.”

Customer: “I was just trying to help.”

My brain is still trying to catch up to the situation.

Me: “Okay, but… please don’t do that.”

Customer: *Shrugs* “Sorry.”

She left shortly after that. I don’t think she bought anything. I considered making a “Please do not touch the employees” sign, but fortunately, it was never necessary again.

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This Snobby B**** Just Kicked Your A**

, , , , , | Legal | December 11, 2020

Years ago, when I was young and optimistic in college, I took up karate. I really have no thought that I would ever need to defend myself. I may have even taken the class because a good-looking male friend said he was taking it.

The day I get my yellow belt, I am running late so I don’t change out of my gi before heading out the alley door of the gym toward the bus stop at the library. A fellow stops me. This is in the capital city and I am often stopped by homeless folks asking for money or just wanting to ramble to another human.

Today, though, I just don’t have the time.

Me: “Sorry, I have to be going.”

He grabs my elbow as I push past and yanks me around. I am shocked.

Guy: “Snobby b****!”

He shoves me against the wall and my head meets the brick quite soundly. Then, he punches me in the face.

And what I’ve learned kicks in. Pardon the pun.

I punch him in the throat three times quickly and he takes a surprised step back. I then kick.

I miss what I am aiming at but connect sharply with his thigh. I hear and feel his femur break.  

He drops to one knee with his broken leg now bent quite grotesquely.

And then, I forget everything I learned, grab him by his hair, and punch him with a roundhouse to the jaw. Both his jaw and my finger break. He falls the rest of the way to the ground.

I stumble to the bus. The driver asks if I am okay. He offers to drop me off at the hospital as I am bleeding from my nose and eye. I am dazed and say I just want to go home. He drops me off at the bottom of the steps to my apartment and I go up slowly.

My roommate sees me come in and frantically asks what happened. I tell her I was mugged behind the gym. She wants me to go to the hospital, too, but I am dazed and tired and say I just want to soak in the tub. She draws me a bath and I just sink in and listen to the ringing in my ears.

I don’t know how much time passes before she comes back into the bathroom and says that the mugger has gotten someone else, too.

I am getting a little less foggy.

Me: “No, I don’t think so.”

Roommate: “No, listen. There was just a story on the news that a fellow was found badly beaten in the alley. They want anyone with information to call.”

Me: “Yeah, the guy who mugged me didn’t mug anyone else. I’m pretty sure the guy they found is the mugger.”

Roommate: “I don’t get it. Who would have beaten him up?”

Me: “Me. I beat him up and left him in the alley. I guess we’d better call the police.”

We do call. An officer comes. I explain what happened and he insists I go to the hospital. My roommate comes with me. We ride in the back of the police car and I half-expect the cop to just take me to jail. My head is still ringing.

I am diagnosed with a broken finger, a cracked eye socket, and a concussion.

The cop sticks around and drives us home. He stops at the convenience store near our house and buys a six-pack of beer.

Cop: “Now, listen. I know you can’t drink this with the meds they just gave you, but you deserve it. I can’t believe anyone would assault someone actually wearing their gi. That makes me laugh every time I think about it.” 

Me: “I only have a yellow belt.”

Cop: “Apparently, that was enough.”

Me: “Well, if I’d done it right, I wouldn’t have a broken finger.”

The cop laughed and drove us back to the apartment, walking us up to the door. He gave us his card and told us to call him personally if we ever needed help.

After that, I took karate a lot more seriously, working my way up to a black belt before graduating from college. I also took my own safety more seriously and went on to teach women’s self-defense. I’ve not punched another human in anger since then and hope I will never have to. I’m a lot more aware of my environment since then.

My hand and face still hurt when it is cold and damp out — my reminder some thirty years later.

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