What A Doggone Fool

, , , , , | Legal | April 11, 2021

I am walking my family’s two dogs a little later than usual, when the streets are busier and more people and animals are around. One of the dogs spots people walking their dog and starts barking her little head off, so I do my best to pull her and our other dog away without causing issues for the other dog walkers. Just as we put more distance between the other dog and us:

Man: “HEY! LADY! EXCUSE ME!”

I turn around and there is an elderly man approaching me, spitting mad.

Man: “How dare you let your dogs go crazy like this?! If you cannot keep them controlled, you should keep them muzzled since they’re clearly aggressive!”

One of the dogs has been calmly sniffing trees around us and the other one is eyeing the man distrustfully and lightly growling since she dislikes raised voices.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t see the other dog as we were turning a corner, and I did my best to control the situation—”

Man: “I don’t care! Your dogs are a danger and you’re an awful dog owner! I’ll call the police on you!”

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry—”

Passerby: “Hey, man, leave the girl alone! It’s not a big deal, and you’re causing more chaos at this point.”

Man: “NO! She needs to be punished! I’ll call the police on her! She’s disturbing the peace!”

This goes on for a few minutes before I get fed up, apologise to him again, and turn away to continue walking the dogs, with him shouting after me about how he’ll call the police on me for having aggressive dogs, But I think nothing of it, because hey, what police officer would go out because a dog barked at another dog?

Later, as I go around the block and start heading home, I see a police car pull up behind me and two officers get out. Surprised, I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

Me: “Oh, don’t tell me he actually called the police on me!”

Police Officer #1: “We got a report about aggressive dogs in the area. Do you know anything about that?”

I recount the story as best as I can, starting to shake a bit from anxiety over this. While I’m telling the story, one of the dogs is gladly taking the chance to lay down and the other is making friends with the officers and getting petted by one of them.

Police Officer #2: “Well, clearly, this was a pointless call, as your dogs are clearly friendly and not aggressive at all.”

They gesture to the dog who’s basking in their colleague’s attention.

Police Officer #2: “Carry on, miss, and have a good day!”

Me: “Thank you! You, too, and I’m sorry for the trouble!”

Shaken, I returned home and told my mum about what happened. She was understandably upset, and my dad helped me walk the dogs the next few days, just in case the crazy old man came back again. The kicker? I remembered seeing the man before that day when I was retelling the story to my mum; he had come up to me to ask for directions a few weeks before and had even admired how well-behaved the dogs were, petting the very same dog he deemed “aggressive and dangerous”! Thankfully, I haven’t seen him since then, but I do hope he’s nicer now.

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Whatever Happened To, “Hi, Nice To Meet You”?

, , , , , | Romantic | April 9, 2021

I’m in a coffee shop drinking a coffee, and some guy approaches my table with a glowing smile like he has spotted a close friend.

Guy: “Jamie! What’s up? Long time, no see! Remember me?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Guy: “We used to hang out at that thing…” *Snapping fingers repeatedly* “God, I forgot the name of it. It was such a while ago… but how’s it going?” *Taking a seat*

Me: “I think you’re mistaken.”

Guy: “Jamie, right? It’s me, [Guy]. You don’t remember me, do you? That’s okay. I’m sure you’ve had a crazy schedule. How’ve you been, though? It’s awesome running into you here!”

Me: “If you are referring to the ‘Jamie’ stitched here on the front of my shirt, that’s my dad. I’m just wearing his shirt because I’m out of laundry. That’s not to mention that I’ve only been in this town for about a week because my husband and I are here visiting him. Can I drink my coffee in peace, please?”

Guy: “Oh… uh… Sorry.” *Slinking away*

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Maybe Let Parents Parent?

, , | Friendly | April 6, 2021

I am shopping with my mom and my sister at the grocery store. My sister and I are playing around but not enough to cause any disturbance; we stop when anyone is close by.

We both start laughing about something, and then this old lady who is a couple of feet in front of us confronts us, snapping her fingers at us.

Old Lady: “Girls, settle down.”

Me: “What the f—”

Mom: *To the lady* “Excuse me.”

She starts walking away, I’m guessing because she didn’t notice that my mom was right there.

Old Lady: “I’m a substitute teacher and I know how to handle kids.”

Mom: “Well, I’m their mother and I can control my own kids.”

The lady kept walking away.

In conclusion, she was embarrassed that my mom turned out to be there. I know for a fact that if we were being loud or obnoxious, my mom would have told us to settle down.

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If You’re Going To Call The Police, Just Do It And Go Away

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 5, 2021

I am scheduled to visit a friend, but when I arrive, I find her hopped up on pain meds and only half-lucid. It turns out that she had unplanned emergency dental surgery today and is still recovering. I offer to take her younger son out to play for a while so she can get some sleep until the meds wear off.

For the record, the boy is black while I’m so pasty white I could be mistaken for a ghost, so it is clear he isn’t my biological son, not that that means much considering he was adopted, anyway.

I take the boy to a small playground shared with the other apartments right outside their home. At one point, one of the boy’s friends comes up to play with him so I back off a little to let the friends play.

Little Girl: “Can you please push me?”

I have never met the girl before. She is young enough that she probably can’t swing on the swings without being pushed, and she doesn’t appear to have any parents there to watch her. Having nothing better to do while watching the child I am babysitting, I agree to push her a little. I’ve never had the heart to say no to a cute kid!

A few minutes later, my kid starts to run off toward a different playground, at which point I politely excuse myself from the girl to follow the kid I am supposed to be watching.

Around the same time, a slightly older boy that I presume is the girl’s brother shows up and tells her she has to go back home. The girl complains that she was told she could play but the boy insists that her dad wants her home immediately, so they leave together. I don’t think much of this.

Just a few minutes after that, three large and burly men come down from the same area. They all have a very demanding demeanor. The man in the middle is clearly “in charge” of the other two.

Man #1: “Hey, who are you?”

Me: “Huh?”

Man #1: “You, what are you doing here?”

Me: “I’m playing with my friend’s son so she can get some rest.”

Man #1: *To the kid* “Is this man bothering or hurting you?”

Kid: *Confused* “No.”

Man #1: “Do you know him?”

The kid is now starting to sound more afraid than confused.

Kid: “Yeah, he’s our friend.”

The man doesn’t seem satisfied by this; he is looming over the poor child looking quite angry. As a man who regularly volunteers with children, I’m unfortunately used to dealing with lunatics who decide I must secretly be a pedophile because there is no other reason a man might care about children, so I know what is happening here. I can also tell that the kid I am babysitting doesn’t know what is going on and is clearly scared of the looming men, so my main goal is to avoid the man upsetting him any further.

Me: “Why don’t we talk over there so we don’t bother [Kid] while he is playing?”

I start to wander off in the indicated direction, hoping to draw the men away from the playground and the scared child, but one of the two men flanking the spokesperson cuts me off when I only get a little ways away.

Man #1: “Don’t run away. You didn’t answer my question.”

Me: “I’m not running anywhere. We can talk where we aren’t disturbing any children.”

Man #1: “How do you know him?” *Pointing to [Kid]*

Me: “He’s the son of a friend of mine.”

Man #1: “Then how do you know this friend?”

Me: “She’s my friend. I like to visit her and the kids. I’m not really sure what else you expect me to say about her.”

Man #1: “How did you meet her?”

I originally met my friend through some volunteering I did. I’m quite confident my friend would not want me disclosing the details as to her personal situation or why she originally needed my help. I take the promise of confidentiality in my volunteering very seriously. Thus, despite the clear threatening actions of the three men and my general resolve to cooperate to avoid escalation, I am not going to violate her privacy by sharing those details.

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s private.”

Man #2: “What’s your name?”

Man #1: “Yeah, let’s see your ID.”

Me: “My name is [My First Name], and I don’t have any ID with me, not that you have a right to demand it, anyway.”

Man #1: “That’s a lie. Everyone has to have an ID. Show it to us.”

Me: “I intentionally leave my wallet and keys in the house when I bring the kids out to play so they don’t get in the way or lost.”

Figuring this is getting us nowhere, I decide I’ll get them to hurry up and make their real accusations so I can answer them and hopefully resolve this sooner. So, even though I am quite certain what this is all about, I ask:

Me: “May I ask what all this is about?”

Man #1: “Why were you pushing my girl on the swings?”

Me: “She asked me and I had nothing else to do! Why shouldn’t I help someone who asks nicely for something?”

Man #1: “I didn’t say you could!”

Me: “I didn’t see you around to ask. But if you don’t want me to push your daughter, I’ll be sure to tell her that I can’t if she ever asks me again.”

Man #1: “What about that boy? You couldn’t keep your hands off him!”

Me: *Honestly confused* “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

Man #1: “You were chasing him all over and grabbing him.”

Me: “He wanted me to try to tickle him, so I chased him like he wanted! That’s how kids play.”

Man #1: “He was screaming.”

Me: “Kids scream when they’re having fun, especially when being tickled! He already told you he knew me and I wasn’t bothering him, so clearly he wasn’t hurt by playing with me.”

Man #1: “Where is his mom, then?”

Me: “I told you, she is resting.”

Man #1: “So go get her to tell us that.”

Me: “She’s not in a good condition to talk right now and I’m not waking her up.”

Man #1: “I want to speak to his mother now or I’m going to call the police.”

Me: “I’m not forcing her to get up and come out here because you demand it. Please go ahead and call the police. I’m sure an officer could sort this out.”

What I don’t point out is that I have every intention to report all three men for assault if an officer does get called in. Compelling someone to do something (like answer overly personal questions) through implied threat of physical force is a textbook example of assault, and the fact that this man waited until he could round up two lackeys to help intermediate me before he confronted me is pretty strong evidence that the threat was intentional.

Me: “Look. Neither child is hurt in any way. [Kid] already told you who I was and that he is okay, and besides that, statistically, a child is in drastically more danger with their own father than some random stranger, anyway. You’ve proven—”

Man #3: *Cutting me off* “How would you know that?”

Me: “Because I volunteer with kids! I’ve done training on how to identify, report, and handle potential abuse. I have to know those statistics!”

During this time, the three men have kept closing on me to look more intimidating, and I’ve been slowly backing up every time they moved in on my personal space. This is mostly intentional on my part to drag them away from the playground and the poor child they scared, but as a side effect, we have now backed up enough that we are practically standing next to my friend’s apartment.

Apparently, my friend has overheard their voices, because around this time she appears at her bedroom window, sticking her head out. Her few hours of sleep while I watched her son apparently helped, because I am surprised how much better she looks and sounds, compared to how she was when I first arrived.

Friend: “What are you all doing?”

Man #1: “Do you know this man?”

Friend: “Yes, what’s wrong?”

Man #1: “Did you ask him to babysit that kid?”

Friend: “Yes, he often watches my kids.”

Man #1: “Okay, fine, whatever.” *To me* “You’re lucky.”

I still don’t know how I was “lucky” for being assaulted and threatened by three men for watching a child, but all I cared about was that the three men finally left. I brought my friend’s son back inside after that, and luckily, he was young enough that he mostly forgot about the odd encounter without my needing to do much to comfort him.

However, the man in question was clearly not appeased. Numerous times after that when I was out with my friend’s kids, his son was sent over to ask who I was and what we were doing. The kid was too young to be good at deception, so it was blatantly obvious that his father was the one who sent him over to ask the questions. The man never seemed to accept that I knew and could appreciate visiting the kids without any intent to harm them.

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Reply All, Also Known As “The Party Button”

, , , , , | Friendly | March 29, 2021

Pre-health crisis, my friend sends out an email to a large group of people, inviting them to a party. He includes me on the list.

Me: *Replying to the email* “Sounds great! Can’t wait.”

I hit send and then realize too late that I selected “Reply All” by mistake.

Me: *To myself* “Aw, crap. Well, can’t be helped.”

Two minutes later, I get an email from someone I don’t know.

Unknown Person: “WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU EMAILING MY HUSBAND? WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY ‘CAN’T WAIT’?”

It turned out that she was married to one of the other email recipients. Rather than realizing that I’d accidentally replied to the entire group, or scrolling down to see the original email, she immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion. I made sure to avoid her and her husband at the party.

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