Mind Your Own Business Down There

, , , , , | Friendly | August 13, 2018

(I’m standing in line at the supermarket checkout. In front of me is an elderly woman, and in front of her, checking out, is a young woman. Her purchase includes a couple of boxes of tampons.)

Elderly Woman: “Excuse me, dear? You do know you can buy those at the pharmacy, don’t you?

Young Woman: “Yes, but they’re cheaper here.”

Elderly Woman: “It’s far more discreet to purchase them at the pharmacy. In my day, we were always very discreet about buying anything that had to do with ‘down there.’”

(She waves her hands in the general region of her waist.)

Young Woman: *looking in the elderly woman’s trolley* “Is that so? Then I guess you’ll be putting that toilet paper back on the shelf and purchasing it online, instead?”

(The cashier let out a snort of laughter and then abruptly stopped. I, along with the others in the line, had no such qualms. We all erupted with laughter, and the silly old lady kept her opinions to herself from then on.)

Beer The Change You Want To See In The World

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 13, 2018

(I’m sitting at the very front of a train when a homeless man carrying an open beer can approaches me.)

Homeless Man: “Excuse me, mate. Can you spare some change?”

Me: “I’m afraid not, sorry.”

(I can, but I don’t tell him that. He goes down the carriage, asking everyone, then goes into the next one. Half an hour later, the train is reaching its end and I’m the only one in the carriage. He returns and walks straight into the wall at the end without breaking his stride. He looks at it for a minute as if he can’t quite process it, then he looks at me.)

Homeless Man: “So, how are you, then? What’ve you been up to tonight?”

(Not wanting to agitate him, I chat to him for a few minutes, whilst making sure to stay in CCTV view.)

Homeless Man: “So, I’ve been friendly, and I’ve given you some nice company. And I know you’ve got some change on you, so could you help me out?”

Me: “I really can’t.”

Homeless Man: “Why won’t you help a homeless guy? I’m just trying to find a place to sleep!”

Me: “I make regular donations to homeless charities; they all say if I give you money, it’s just going to keep you on the street. You need to seek professional help.”

Homeless Man: “But I’m not on the drugs, or the booze, or anything!”

Me: “I’ll help you out by giving you a tip. Maybe tell people that when you don’t have a beer can in your hand. I’d love to believe you, but I can’t right now.”

(He sulked and wandered off.)

Their Etiquette Has A Few Developmental Issues

, , , , , , | Healthy | August 11, 2018

When I was around twelve I began experiencing repeated and painful skin infections in practically every scrape or scratch I got. This led to very frequent visits to my pediatrician for, at first, prescription strength antibiotic ointments, and then multiple tests to find out the cause of the infections. My doctors were amazing. But their other patients… not so much.

One experience that sticks out is the day I went in to get a blood draw. We were fairly early, so my mom and I waited out in the empty lobby. I tended to sit with one leg folded under me and the other knee pulled up to my chest so I could “crouch” on the chair and balance my Harry Potter book on my foot so I could read. It looked odd to most people, but I’ve always found it comfortable.

Not long after we settled in, another mother — a very rude lady — and her son came in. Though we didn’t know them by name, the pair were not unfamiliar to us, as we saw them around town often and the son had been doing occupational therapy with a partner at my mom’s company. The rude lady’s son had some fairly significant physical and mental handicaps and was vocal but nonverbal, and was, through no fault of his own, already making loud sounds and yells as his mother physically dragged him into the lobby.

Instead of sitting in any of the other empty twenty odd seats, the rude lady pulled her son over and sat down directly across from us, with about two feet of aisle space separating our knees. The rude lady immediately struck up conversation with my mom, while I continued reading.

They seemed to be getting along fine, and I tuned them out until I caught this lovely gem, seemingly out of nowhere: the rude lady suddenly leaned forward, patted my mom on the knee, and said in the most condescending and mock-sympathetic voice, “Is she mentally r*****ed?”

This, of course, caught my attention. My mom was staring at her in shock when I looked up and said, “Wow, that’s rude, lady. Just because your kid has some problems doesn’t mean everyone else’s does.”

In hindsight, this was quite cruel of me to say, and I regret saying it every time I think back to this experience. In private, my mom scolded me for pulling the rude lady’s son into it, and she was very right to do so.

The strangest thing out of it all, though, was that once the rude lady got over sputtering a few choice slurs at us, she roughly grabbed her son’s arm and marched out of the pediatrician’s office. Only afterwards did we realize she had never gone up to the front desk to check in or schedule an appointment. It seemed that her entire reason for coming in was to engage with another mother-child duo in the hope that she would find someone else going through the same experiences as her.

Manners Maketh Them Mad

, , , , | Friendly | August 10, 2018

(I have been a part of my school’s annual musical for a number of years now. We rehearse at the theatre we own, which is attached to a private cafe that has a great relationship with our school, considering we provide most of their business. During late rehearsals we pre-order dinner from this cafe, and then collect it on our break from the pickup counter — a separate place from where orders are placed. Tonight when I arrive there is a long line up of other people at the register and a number of my friends hanging out in a group by the pickup counter. One woman with some young kids is also waiting by the pickup counter, and we assume she is waiting for them to call out her number, as she has probably just ordered. We tell a cashier our names and they bring us our orders. As I am saying my name, the woman speaks up.)

Woman: *angrily* “Hmm, I thought that we were at the front of the line, but I guess I must have thought wrong.”

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, but the line to order is over there.”

(I point to what is obviously a line to order.)

Woman: *cutting me off* “Nope, I don’t care. I just thought kids had better manners than this. I’m going.”

(She grabs her kids and drags them towards the door. I cannot resist the urge to say something.)

Me: *overly positive* “Have a nice day!”

(I found it funny that she was complaining about manners when hers were absolutely atrocious!)

Talking Loudly Speaks Volumes

, , , , , , , | Friendly | August 10, 2018

(I am with my wife, who is disabled and uses a mobility scooter, doing our weekly shopping. A rather well-to-do middle aged woman is blocking the aisle, and talking on her phone.)

Wife: “Excuse me?” *a little louder* “Excuse me?”

(Still, she just stands there.)

Me: *quite loud, but not shouting* “Hey, can we just get passed please?”

(Still, she just stands there on her phone, oblivious to us. All of a sudden, an older gentleman in an army uniform appears behind us.)

Army Man: “May I?”

(We nod and let him past.)

Army Man: *loud enough to wake the dead* “GET OUT THE BLOODY WAY!”

Woman: *startled and nearly drops her phone* “Well, I never! No need to shout!”


Woman: “Rude!” *walks away*

Army Man: *normally, to us* “There we go, guys!”

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