Just Another Day In The Big Apple

, , , , , , , | Friendly | February 11, 2020

A few years ago, I took a trip to NYC with my mom and my cousin. It was a girls’ weekend to celebrate my cousin’s upcoming wedding. We spent the morning shopping and stopped in a family-owned Italian restaurant that was recommended to us. The woman who greeted us was the chef, and her elderly mother who’d started the restaurant was behind the register. There were only five tables in the whole restaurant and we were currently the only customers. 

We’d been seated and were chatting about what we wanted to do that night when my cousin suddenly stood and pointed behind my mom and me. Black smoke had started pouring from a staircase in the hallway that lead to the businesses above that one. Thinking the floor above us must be on fire, my mom ran to the back to grab the chef, while we tried to convince the elderly Italian woman, who it turned out spoke no English, to come outside. She couldn’t see the smoke from her place behind the register and kept swatting us away and scolding us in Italian. 

Finally, my cousin physically picked the lady up. Yes, it was as awkward as it sounds, but thankfully, she was a tiny lady and my cousin was strong. We got her outside and she finally saw the smoke, which was now also streaming out of the windows of the floor above her restaurant. My mom and the chef made it outside right behind us, and the mother and daughter began speaking rapidly in Italian. 

My mom took her phone out to call the fire department, but someone else must have already done that because we heard the sirens coming our way. The fire truck rounded the corner, crushing the front end of a cab in the process. That was something else to see on its own. The passengers in the back of the cab started screaming in panic, and the driver just sat there looking bored, like this happened every day.  

Thankfully, no one was hurt. We didn’t find out what had caused the fire, but at least it didn’t spread beyond the second floor. The chef thanked us for helping them, and her mother kept hugging my cousin and kissing both of her cheeks. The rest of the weekend was uneventful compared to that afternoon, and I’ve always wanted to go back and see if that restaurant was still there.

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Parenting That Does Not Hold Water

, , , , , | Right | January 30, 2020

(I work as a head lifeguard at a city pool. A large man, about six feet tall, 180 pounds, has his four-year-old daughter on his back and they are going back and forth in the shallow end of the pool. His wife is sitting on the side with her feet in the pool, watching. Suddenly, he says, “Watch this!” and tells his daughter to hold her breath. He falls over backward, literally laying on top of his daughter, his body holding her underwater.)

Me: *running over to the man* “Sir! You need to get up now!

Man: *comes up from under the water* “What’s the problem?”

Me: “Sir, you cannot lay on top of your daughter while she is underwater! It’s not safe! What if she needed to get a breath?”

Man: “It was only for a few seconds; she’s fine. She’s a trooper!”

(The girl is coughing; she obviously swallowed some water.)

Me: “Sir, you cannot do that again in this pool. You would not lay down on top of your daughter on the living room floor would you?”

Man: *looking bewildered* “Well, no, of course not.”

(I look at his wife, and she is rolling her eyes. The man goes off swimming with his daughter.)

Wife: “He does stuff like this all the time. Sometimes he’s such a meatloaf!”

(I walked away but kept an eye on him the rest of the afternoon. He behaved!)

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The Burning Need To Pee

, , , , | Right | January 27, 2020

(I am working as a janitor during college in the student union building on campus. I have closed the bathroom to clean it, blocking the entrance to the bathroom with a spring-loaded pole that goes across the opening and a flag hanging down it saying, “Restroom closed.” I have just sprayed phosphoric acid cleaner in the bowls and on the seats of the toilets, and I have to let it sit to clean and neutralize before washing it off. In the meantime, I start on the sinks. A woman comes in with her daughter who seems to be three or so.)

Woman: “Excuse me, is the bathroom closed?”

Me: “Yes, it is.”

(She must have walked under a bar that literally said so to ask me this.)

Woman: “Well, my daughter needs to use the restroom.”

Me: “I’m sorry. It’s closed.”

Woman: “But she has to go potty.”

Me: “I understand it’s hard when kids just have to go, but I just put phosphoric acid cleaner on the toilets. If she were to use them, she would get chemical burns. There is another bathroom on the next floor up.”

Woman: “She can’t wait.”

Me: “There’s nothing I can do about this.”

Woman: “I’m going to use this one.”

Me: *standing in front of her* “Look, I’ve gotten this cleaner inside my gloves on accident before and it burns. I can’t let your daughter sit on it.”

Woman: “It will be okay.”

Me: “Go upstairs. You could have made it there in this time.”

Woman: *leaving* “If she wets herself, it’s your fault.”

Me: “Better wetting herself than having chemical burns on her legs and bottom!”

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It’s Time For Them To Make A Fire Exit From This Conversation

, , , , , | Friendly | January 21, 2020

(I live in a four-story apartment building in downtown Vancouver where the two exit stairwells are used regularly by residents to enter and exit the building. They act as a sort of communal back door that can be opened just as the front door can be. I often use the back door as it is the closest doorway to my apartment. One evening, I am leaving to take my dog for a walk and take the usual route down the stairs and to the back door. However, when I get to the exit and push on the door it won’t budge, so I push again harder this time and continue to try to push it open. When it still doesn’t move, I look out the little window and see a man just outside the door.)

Man: *muffled speaking as the door is closed* “There is a woman sitting in front of the door.”

(There is more muffled speaking between the woman and the man. I push on the door again thinking she must have moved, and I still feel resistance. When I push again, it finally moves as she has gotten on her feet and is moving away from the door.)

Me: “What are you two doing out here?”

Man: *says nothing*

Lady: *angry* “I was just trying to find a place to eat a sandwich and smoke a joint! I don’t see what the problem with that is?!”

(Smoking weed is legal in this province but is still subject to bylaws of smoking away from doorways.)

Me: “One: this is a doorway and you need to be like 15 feet away from it as there are private residences right above you. Two: you are blocking a fire exit!

(My dog is barking at them, and lucky for me, he has a big deep bark so he sounds much scarier than he actually is.)

Me: “You need to leave and find somewhere else to be.”

(The lady and man then left in an angry huff. The average age of the occupants in my building is probably 60+; I’m one of the only occupants in my 20s. Any one of my neighbors with walkers would definitely not have been able to exit safely in an emergency. It still makes me so angry to think about how thoughtless and dangerous this lady was being.)

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The Ring Is Now Measured In Roentgens, Not Carats

, , , , , | Working | December 29, 2019

My partner’s father works for a multinational company that fits fire detection equipment, not your standard home or small business detectors but sophisticated multi-sensor systems for large companies, industrial complexes, etc. He’s worked all over the country in everything from steel foundries to naval bases.

He was recently tasked with fitting some new systems at one of the UK’s nuclear sites as part of a team of eight technicians. Due to some of what they were installing actually being inside the housings for a reactor, they were briefed ahead of time on the more unique dangers of working in a potentially radioactive environment. The one thing that stood out was a warning to consider removing wedding rings or other items of significant value; upon leaving the site, anything that registered as radioactive would be retained by the site and sent to deep storage as radioactive waste until pretty much the end of time.

There were eight technicians, seven went in wearing no jewelry, and one decided to carry on wearing his wedding ring. When they exited the site that evening, three of them had items flagged as very slightly radioactive. Two of them went home without their boiler suits, and one of them went home without his boiler suit or his wedding ring. His wife was not impressed.

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