Tablets And Wi-Fi and Money, Oh My!

, , , , , | Right | January 28, 2020

(I get out of the underground train chatting with my brother on my ten-inch tablet; we are in the middle of some exciting banter. Since it is kind of awkward, walking while chatting on a tablet, I sit down on the station bench next to a young lady who is busy with her own iPhone. Some five minutes later, I hear someone clear their throat and turn around to face the lady who has been looking at me expectantly since who-knows-when. I am confused but try to be polite and ask her what is wrong.)

Random Lady: “You must go away.”

Me: *taken aback* “I’m sorry?”

Random Lady: “You must go away; I want you to go.”

Me: “Why?”

Random Lady: “I don’t feel safe talking with you near me; you can eavesdrop.”

(I think, “Why would I want to eavesdrop on a stranger’s phone call?”)

Me: “I’ll be off in a minute.”

(My brother just told me he would be off soon.)

Random Lady: “No, you are not allowed to sit next to me with that.” *pointing to my tablet* “I’ve worked there and I can sue you.”

(I’m now even more bewildered, as I honestly have no idea what she’s talking about. She then points to my tablet’s brand, one of the big and well-known electronics brands.)

Random Lady: *holding out her phone* “This is [Famous, Well-Known Phone Brand which is my brand’s competitor]. You are not allowed to bring [My Tablet’s Brand] near [Her Brand]. You have to go unless you have cash.”

Me: *starting to get annoyed, also wondering if I heard the last part right* “This is a public place. I have the right to be here.”

Random Lady: *angry* “NO! I am here because I need a safe place to make a call without someone overhearing! You owe me money; you have to pay me cash or go away!”

(I am thinking, “You didn’t want anybody to listen to your call and you chose one of the biggest and busiest underground train stations in Berlin?! And what the h*** with suddenly demanding I pay her?”)

Me: “I just need the Wi-Fi for a moment longer.”

Random Lady: *even more ticked off* “You can’t use the Wi-Fi for free.”

(The public Wi-Fi in the station has been provided by the government for free since 2016; I’ve checked their website again just in case.)

Random Lady: “You have to pay! You owe me money or I’ll sue you. That is the law; you have to pay me cash!”

Me: *getting fed up and packing my tablet* “Even if the Wi-Fi is not free, I am sure I do not owe you anything.”

(I left at that point, still bewildered and not really sure what had just happened. The lady was still rambling about lawsuits, money, my tablet brand versus hers, etc.)

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An Ocean Of Grievances

, , , , , , | Right | January 22, 2020

I was skippering a large charter boat off the west coast of South Africa in the 1990s. We took a group of passengers up the coast and stopped off at an island overnight, where we fed them freshly-caught crayfish, BBQ, and all sorts of rich food. The party went on well into the night and many bottles of booze were consumed against the advice of me and my crew.

In the morning, the wind had changed direction and was picking up strongly. The sailing got rougher and rougher, and as captain, I decided to ask the passengers to stay below deck.

Suddenly, one of the passengers ran on to the deck to be ill and, understandably, given how ill he was feeling, had a little breakdown and started screaming abuse and demanding to be taken to shore. I explained that, as we were more than 30 miles from the nearest harbour, nothing could be done.

That’s when he crossed over to the dark side and threatened to kill us before trying to jump overboard to swim for shore. I caught him before he was over the railings and managed to pin him to the deck while he was screaming, trying to bite and punch me, and generally behaving like a crazy person. As I was holding him down, his girlfriend leapt onto my back, also screaming like a banshee, and started hitting me in the head with a shoe.

That’s when I decided I’d had enough and released my inner Captain Bligh, muscling both of them into the aft lazarette, a small stowage area on the boat, and locking them in the tiny enclosed space for the eight hours it took me to get them to shore. Their friends tried to protest and were informed that if they didn’t like it they were welcome to join them and so we sailed in solemn, bitter silence until we hit the wharf.

I released the wayward couple there and watched as they staggered to shore, covered in vomit, and stalked down the pier without a backward glance, never to be seen again.

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This Driver Is Bus(t)  

, , , , , , | Working | January 15, 2020

(Since my wife takes the car to work, I take the bus to school. There is a bus stop right next to the house so it’s no trouble. Normally, there’s no problem with this arrangement as the majority of bus drivers are relatively attentive and will stop if they see people. Then, there’s this time. He flies right past me, leaving me screaming and chasing the bus. A passenger yells at the bus driver which forces him to stop after a couple of blocks. I decide to be cool about it, even though it seriously irritates me.)

Bus Driver: *passive, not even looking towards me* “Sorry ’bout that.”

Me: “I guess we all have off days.”

(I pay for my ride and sit. During the ride, he stops for people who start talking to him; clearly they know each other. They don’t even pay but he lets them sit and keeps talking. They don’t even ask for a stop but he does stop where they need to go. Right as I’m starting to think it was just a one-off moment, he blows past the next bus stop, where an old, thin man with a walking cast is holding his cane up to ask to get on the bus. I shout at the bus driver to stop. He backs up the bus about 200 feet back to the stop, incredibly dangerous. The old man gets on the bus, and the driver doesn’t apologize. Now my stop is coming up, so I pull the stop-request lever, naively assuming that the bus driver knows this means the next bus stop is where I want to go. I am mistaken and he blows by my stop.)

Me:Excuse me! I pulled the lever! Stop the bus!”

Bus Driver: “This isn’t one of my stops! I don’t have to!”

Me: *standing up, which means if he keeps driving he is knowingly endangering passengers so he’s forced to stop if he doesn’t want to get fired* “Actually, you do. The official stops are to denote expected timing. You have to stop whenever people are at bus stops, and at the next stop when someone pulls the lever!”

(He stops the bus in the middle of a busy intersection, a couple of blocks away from my stop.)

Bus Driver: *aggressive and angry* “GET OFF MY BUS!”

Me: *mocking and snarky* “WITH PLEASURE! Have a NICE. DAY.”

(I got off the bus and immediately called the bus dispatch and complained about him, both about what happened to me and to the old man. It turns out he had just barely gotten out of mandatory retraining, and this was his first day back after having been forced off the job for a legal infraction. I don’t know if he’s still working for the bus company, but he was taken off my route and one of the good bus drivers returned!)

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Shouldn’t Skip Over Telling Him The Details

, , , , | Working | January 13, 2020

(A bus drives past the stop but decides to let us on when he sees two of us running and waving.)

Driver: “You need to pay more attention!”

(I suspect this is the driver that has skipped my stop three or four times last month.)

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The Party Stops Here

, , , , | Friendly | January 13, 2020

(I’m on the late bus after a long day at work. There are several other people scattered around, all of them looking just as exhausted and ready to get home as I feel. About halfway home, a guy gets onto the bus who seems pretty tweaked out. He is twitching and mumbling to himself. He goes and sits down, and after a minute, reaches over to poke the lady sitting in the row ahead of him.)

Man: “Hey. Hey.”

Woman: *looking tired and a bit uncomfortable* “What?”

Man: “Where you heading?”

Woman: “I’m going home.”

Man: “I’m going to a party.”

(The woman nods and then turns away a bit.)

Man: “Hey. Hey. You want to come? It’s a party, a fun party. It’ll be a fun party.”

Woman: “No, thanks. I’m headed home. My daughter’s waiting for me.”

Man: “Hey. Hey. I was just asking, you know, if you wanted to come to the party. It’ll be a fun party.”

(The woman didn’t respond, but she did start gathering her things. The man tried to ask her to come to the party a couple more times, and then, after a couple of stops, she stood up and headed to get off the bus. The man watched her blankly before he started struggling to his feet. I got up, too, and planted myself in the aisle, preventing him from getting past and just staring down at him. He looked between me and the woman before finally sitting back down and mumbling to himself. I stayed standing for a bit until the doors shut and the bus started moving again. Maybe he really did have to get off at that stop, but I really, really doubt it.)

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