Strange But True

, , , , | Friendly | February 19, 2019

(I’ve just woken up and I’m walking by the front door of my apartment when someone knocks. Half asleep, I start to reach for the deadbolt, and then I pause.)

Me: “Who is it?”

Stranger: *pause* “A stranger.”

Me: “Nope.”

Stranger: “Oh. Okay. Bye.”

(And he left. Kind of creepy, but at least he was honest?)

This Guy Will Go Far, By Not Going Far

, , , , | Friendly | February 16, 2019

(I’m a passenger on the bus. A guy gets on and sits down in the seat across from me. The second the bus starts moving, he pulls the “stop requested” rope and gets off at the next stop, which, thanks to the huge cluster of stops on this street, is barely a block away from where he got on.)

Me: “You’re getting off already? Didn’t you just get on?”

Passenger: “Yep. My bus pass expires today and I wanted to give it one last taste of being useful before I throw it away.”

(Well, at least he didn’t pay $2 to ride for barely a minute.)

When You Gotta Go (Away)

, , , | Friendly | February 14, 2019

(I do not like using public bathrooms AT ALL. I will avoid them as much as possible. Much to my dismay, I have IBS and sometimes that does strike at the worst possible time. I am doing some shopping, and right at the beginning, it hits me that I need to use the bathroom and soon. I go to the single-occupancy bathroom and begin to do my business. Suddenly, wild knocking begins.)

Me: “Sorry, it’s occupied.”

(I think I’ve been successful, as it quiets down, until I hear more furious knocking, along with a nonchalant female voice.)


Me: “It’s occupied, sorry!”

(I raise my voice a bit louder, thinking she didn’t hear me the first time. Then she starts forcefully yanking the door handle, jerking it back and forth as if someone were playing a prank on her and holding the door from the inside. I’m trying to do this in peace, and am getting frustrated now.)


(It finally stops, and I finish and come out, and the woman throws her hands up.)

Woman: “FINALLY. What were you doing in there? What if I was going to be sick?”

(I shoot her a dirty look and snap back at her.)

Me: “Then I would assume that you would’ve rushed into one other single bathrooms on either side of this one and gotten sick into them. I told you twice that it was occupied and then what I was doing, and you still yanked the door handle like a stupid maniac. You’re lucky I don’t stand out here while you go in and do the same to you.”

(She just huffed and walked away, instead. I guess she wasn’t going to be sick after all. I get that it’s dire sometimes, but if it’s that dire for you to act like a psycho, just throw caution to the wind and use one of the other bathrooms right next to the one that is being occupied.)

Are You Mandarin Or Out?

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 13, 2019

After studying Mandarin for about six years, I decide to take a year off of college to travel in China. The last semester of my trip, I find work as an assistant teacher in Shanghai, where I live for about four months. For most of my time there, I use a winning combination of the subway and the occasional touk-touk to get around the city. To make this as easy as possible, I also invest in a Chinese debit account and a Shanghai metro card.

Towards the end of my semester, as I’m packing up to leave, I invite my mom and my sister to come play tourist for about a week and eventually help me drag all my stuff back to America. I buy them metro cards, too, and take some time showing them around the city. Midway through one of our trips, my own metro card starts running low on funds, and I stop at a relatively small station to restock.

The station is small enough that there’s only one card kiosk, alongside the metro card help desk. A twenty-something, stylishly-dressed Chinese man is struggling with the relatively simple kiosk, which is on a screen I’ve never seen before, while the help desk security guard, an older man, smokes a cigarette and berates him loudly from just in front of his desk. From what I understand of the conversation, the younger guy is trying to add more money onto his card, which the metro guard could easily do at his desk, but he’s hit the wrong buttons and is still insisting he’s in the right. The argument is loud, but not overly heated; the younger guy seems more anxious than anything, and the security guard is visibly laughing at him.

When they both see me and my obviously very white family waiting to use the kiosk, the security guard yells at the younger guy to let me use it. He waves me over without a word, and I step up to the screen. The characters are pretty basic, so I don’t bother switching the kiosk to English. I tap the Reset button and then the Load Card button, and then I pull out my phone to pay with my Chinese debit card. All told, it takes about twenty seconds. When I pull out my metro card and turn back to my family, the previously noisy station is dead quiet. My mom is looking past me, visibly holding back a smile, and my sister looks like she’s about to burst out laughing.

The Chinese guy behind me says, “What?!”

I turn around to find him slowly lowering his phone from where he’d been filming me, his expression thunderstruck. Behind him, the older security guard is laughing so hard he’s gripping the desk to stay upright. Aside from his single English word, the younger guy seems absolutely lost for what to say.

I say in Chinese, “Do you understand how to use the machine now, or can I help you with it?”

My sister gives in to laughter as the guy slowly, slowly shakes his head. Together, my very white, very American family steps through the security gate into the train terminal, leaving the poor guy — and his video of the clueless white-girl tourist — ruined forever.

This Is A Hug(e) Issue

, , , , , , , | Friendly | February 7, 2019

(I am out shopping when a young girl, maybe four or five years of age, runs up to me and hugs my leg. A woman is following her.)

Woman: “[Girl], come on, we need to finish shopping for Grandma’s party!”

Girl: “No! I want to stay here!”

Woman: “This is ridiculous.”

(She grabs the girls arm and the girl makes an ear-splitting scream. The woman lets go and huffs.)

Woman: “You don’t mind.” *walks away*

Me: *shouting after her* “I do mind, actually!”

(I manage to get the attention of a worker, who tries to bring the woman back while I try to get the girl off me. When the woman returns, she starts shouting at me and the other workers who have been trying to help.)

Woman: “In what world do you live in where you think it is appropriate to handle a little girl like this?!”

Me: “In what world do you think it’s okay to leave a little girl with a man you don’t know?!”

(She blushed and tried grabbing the girl again. The girl started screaming again and kicking me. By this time the police had been alerted, and once the girl was successfully removed and calmed down, I was questioned on why I was letting all of this happen. Thanks to the workers in the store, and the woman who at this point was absolutely hysterical, I was free to go after it was discovered the woman had taken her niece out without the girl’s mother’s permission, who had actually made a call to the police about the girl being missing.)

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