Love Your Neighbor, But Only If They’re White

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 21, 2017

(I have gone shopping after work one evening. The store is crowded and the checkout lines are long. It has been a long day. I am slumped against my cart, sighing in frustration at how long the cashier is taking, merely because I’m tired and irritable. An older woman has gotten in line behind me and has apparently taken notice of my irritation.)

Woman: *softly* “I know how you feel. If they would just go back where they belong, it wouldn’t take so long to get through the line.”

(I look around to realize we are the only white folks in line.)

Me: “Are you a Christian?”

Woman: “Yes, I am.”

Me: “Are you sure about that?”

(I turned back around to ignore her. She made some muttering noises as she got out of line to join another.)

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Wish They Would Just Park That Thought

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 21, 2017

(I have recently moved into a house in a quiet neighborhood. The house was previously occupied by a friend of mine who reports that the neighbor tends to be nosy and has strange ideas about the neighborhood. I don’t see said neighbor for my first few months living there. One evening, I’m putting the trash on the curb for pickup and am shocked to see a row of trashcans and recycling bins across our driveway and lawn, and the college students who have just moved in across the street are bringing yet more out, headed for my yard.)

Me: “Whoa, what’s going on?”

Student #1: “What? Who are you?”

Me: “I live here. Why are you bringing your trash into my driveway?”

Student #1: “Uh… Isn’t this where we put it for pickup?”

Me: “No, you put it in front of your house! Is all of this yours?”

Student #2: “Uh, no, I think that’s hers…” *pointing to my neighbor’s house* “She told us this is where it goes.”

(The neighbor hasn’t ever put her bins in my lawn, so this is surprising. Moreover, she has her own driveway and lawn.)

Student #1: “Yeah, she, um… said that this is basically her yard because she’s the only one on this street who doesn’t rent her house, and that all the bins should go here.”

Me: “What?! That’s ridiculous. I can’t have everyone’s bins in my yard. Plus, this is my driveway, not hers!”

Student #2: “I know, I mean… We’re sorry. She was really rude about it and we didn’t know what to do.”

(I feel badly for the kids because they seem a little naive, so I tell them no worries and simply move the neighbor’s bins onto her lawn. Nothing else happens for months, until one Sunday morning. I am sleeping in when I hear a loud series of knocks. Remembering that my friend was supposed to come by to pick up something, I rush to the door and open it to find a strange woman.)

Neighbor: “Hi, I live next door. Do you live here?”

Me: *internally thinking, “Oh, no.”* “How can I help you?”

Neighbor: “Do you own this place? Or do you rent?”

Me: *exhausted from a long week* “What do you want?”

Neighbor: “Well, there is a car parked right next to my house.”

(My fiancée parked her car in my driveway, which runs between our houses. It’s been there for a good 24 hours at this point.)

Me: “Yes?”

Neighbor: “The car needs to move. It’s making noise.”

Me: *wondering how a parked car that’s turned off is making noise* “Okay, well—”

Neighbor: “It’s in the driveway of your house. But no one is supposed to park there.”

Me: “Uh…”

Neighbor: “People don’t know, because of all the turnover–” *she shudders* “–but I’m the one who’s lived here longest, and I don’t have a lot of space around my house. So, I need that driveway, and because I’m the only one who owns their house, people usually let me use it.”

(She regularly parks in her actual driveway.)

Me: “Mm-hmm. Well…”


(I can’t help thinking it’s interesting that she asked if I own the house if she knows the landlord; who’s actually a landlady.)

Neighbor: “So, you’re going to move the car?”

Me: *fed up* “Not right now.”

Neighbor: “What is your name?”

Me: “I’m not giving you my name.”

Neighbor: “Fine! Call right now and get the car moved. I’ll wait right here. “

Me: “You’re going to be waiting a long time.”

Neighbor: “Ugh! I’m calling the police!” *storms off*

(I shut the door and went about my day. No police ever arrived, nor did I ever figure out how my fiancée’s car was making so much noise while sitting in the driveway.)

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At Least He Knows Africa Is A Continent

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 21, 2017

(At the end of my younger brother’s first semester away at college, he sends word that he has extended an invitation to an acquaintance at school to spend the holidays with our family because they cannot travel home for winter break. The person in question is a young man from Uganda. [Guest] has a couple things to wrap up after finals, so my brother is already home, but he drives back to his university to pick [Guest] up, and I go with him. I think my brother and [Guest] know each other already, but I sit in the back of my brother’s car listening to him getting to know this Ugandan international student for what seems like the first time. I make no qualms over my brother’s lack of social skills or etiquette. He’s no bigot, just a sad combination of clueless and uncouth. Thankfully, [Guest] is one of the most patient, gracious, and funny people I’ve ever met.)

Brother: “So, what country in Africa are you from?”

Guest: “Uganda. It is right on the equator.”

Brother: “Wow. So, it’s hot, huh?”

Guest: “Yes. So hot. This weather here is unbearable!”

Brother: “Like, hot enough to cook an egg on a rock or something?”

Guest: “No, man, meat. Just whole steaks, right there on the rock. Well-done in seconds.”

Brother: “Wow, really?”

Guest: “Oh, yeah. That hot.”

Brother: “So, did you grow up in a hut?”

Guest: “No, I sleep under the stars with a log pillow, next to the lions.”

Brother: “Oh, wow! Next to lions?!”

([Guest] cut him loose at that point and explained that his home city, Kampala, is a very normal, western-looking city with tall buildings and traffic. The rest of his stay with our family was awesome because the guy was laugh-out-loud hysterical in nearly everything he talked about, and I’ve always regretted not staying in touch with him all these years later.)

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Thrifty With Love

, , , , , , , | Romantic | November 19, 2017

(My older sister and I have finished shopping at a thrift store and are waiting in line to check out. There are lots of families in the store, and soon there is an announcement over the store’s PA system.)

Store PA: “For safety reasons, children cannot be left unattended in the store. Please make sure your children are with you at all times.”

(While we wait, I’ve decided to look at the jewelry displays on the other side of the register counters. I am gone for maybe a minute, but out of the corner of my eye I notice my sister is already talking to someone, which isn’t that unusual, given how outgoing she is. She’s in her mid-20s and is talking with a man who looks to be in his 40s. When I return, I do not expect to hear the following.)

Random Man: “It’s important to keep up with the trends to look presentable. I have thousand-dollar suits, but this was too good a deal to pass up. I mean, eight dollars?” *holds up old-looking, yellow-ish and tan blazer* “One time, it was raining and I didn’t want to ruin my fancy shoes, so I wore grungy shoes—”

Sister: “And you brought the other pair to change into?”

Random Man: “No. But wearing those shoes turned out to be a mistake.”

(I’ve been silent, trying to figure out why she’s talking to him about work clothes. She suddenly turns to me.)

Sister: *in a louder, more excited voice* “I’m thinking about going back and buying that Super Truck video game.”

Me: *groaning* “Please, no. That game looked so stupid.”

Sister: *continues pointedly talking to only me* “Nah, it looked fun!”

(I get the feeling she’s trying to avoid talking to the man again, and we continue to chatter about video games until we reach the register. We pay quickly and dash out the door before he can follow us.)

Me: *Incredulous* “Was that man in a thrift store trying to hit on you by saying he has thousand-dollar suits?!”

Sister: “Yeah! I don’t know how I get all these random guys hitting on me! He was definitely way older than me and not that attractive. He just started talking about how he was going to get [the blazer] tailored.”

Me: *joking* “I should have known better. They clearly said not to leave your children unattended in the store, for safety reasons.”

Sister: *also joking* “Yeah, this is all your fault.”

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Sweeter Than The Candy

, , , , , | Friendly | November 19, 2017

(It’s Halloween and I’ve just answered the door to find a young child, no more than four, dressed in white with blood splatters and with their face painted white. The child’s mum is dressed up with some scary makeup, and the dad has painted bones down his arm like a skeleton. Halloween has only become a celebration in recent years in Australia, so this is a pretty impressive effort.)

Me: *squatting down to the kid’s level* “Hey there! Aw, look at you!”

Kid: *with hand actions* “RAWR.”

Me: “Woah, scary!”

Kid: *looking really worried* “I’m not really scary!”

Me: “Oh, good! Would you like some candy?”

Kid: “Yes, please.”

Me: “You can take extra, too.”


(This little kid made my day! They were so cute!)

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