AFAB Versus WWJD

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | November 28, 2019

(I am AFAB — assigned female at birth — and go by she/they pronouns. I am spending the day with a genderfluid AFAB friend. We’re on a popular shopping street in Brisbane and are waiting for the lights to change before crossing to the bus station. On the other side of the street, a man is standing on a literal soapbox, quoting Bible verses about sin and how everyone around him will be condemned to Hell.)

Friend: “Gimme your hand.”

(We cross the street hand in hand, and the man grows louder as he sees us pass by.)

Friend: “Hang on.”

(They stopped on the sidewalk and kissed me on the cheek, right in front of the man. Someone actually audibly gasped, and another person tried to hand them a Jesus pamphlet. We walked the rest of the way to the bus hand in hand.)

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Y’all Gotta Be Kidding

, , , , | Friendly | November 27, 2019

(I’m in my office when this older couple from the Great Lakes region comes in asking for directions.)

Me: *finishes drawing map*

Man: “Thank you, miss. We appreciate your help.”

Me: “Don’t mention it! Y’all enjoy the rest of your day.”

Woman: *confused* “What did you just say?”

Me: *afraid I’ve broken some obscure midwestern taboo* “Y’all enjoy your day?”

Woman: “Huh.” *to the man* “I didn’t know they actually said that down here. I thought it was just made up for movies.”

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That Tattoo Should Say, “Look, Don’t Touch”

, , , , , | Friendly | November 26, 2019

(My friend and I are killing time wandering through a local “farmer’s market”-style setup that also has some booths selling art, jewelry, and things of that sort. We stop to admire the crafts and trinkets being offered by one booth and the seller comes over to greet us. It’s worth noting here that I have several tattoos, including song lyrics on my upper left arm. I’m quite used to people asking to read what the tattoo says and will happily turn my arm so they can get a better view. This lady, however, takes a more… direct approach.) 

Seller: *seeing my tattoo* “Oh, let me see!”

(She then GRABBED my arm and twisted it toward her, holding onto it hard enough that I’m not entirely confident I could’ve yanked it out of her grip if I’d tried. As it was, though, I was shocked enough that I just froze until she’d finished reading the text and let me go. My friend and I made a hasty retreat to another booth after that. The most surprising thing is that the seller had tattoos and piercings herself, so you’d think she’d be familiar with the tattoo etiquette of ASKING before touching someone else’s tattoos. Or, you know, the general nicety of asking before touching someone at all, ever.)

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The Scariest Part Of The Movie Is Right Next To You  

, , , , | Right | November 23, 2019

(I’m going to see “Insidious: The Last Key.” I’ve purposely planned to go in the middle of a weekday a few weeks after it’s opened so I can avoid dealing with obnoxious teenagers. When I buy my ticket, I’m so far the only one seeing the film. I get some popcorn, wander to the theater, and take my seat. A while later, right as the final preview has finished and the movie is about to start, one other person walks in: a man who looks to be in his 50s. Out of the hundred-or-so empty seats, he sits literally right next to me. I’m a little annoyed, as the theater has assigned seating, so he purposely chose to sit directly next to the only other person in there, but I don’t want to say anything. I figure maybe he just frightens easily, so he wanted to be near someone else or something. Still, it’s making me a tiny bit uncomfortable. About ten minutes into the movie, I start to very quietly munch on a few pieces of my popcorn, and every time I take a bite, he lets out a soft, annoyed sigh, just loud enough for me to hear, like he’s angry I’m eating the popcorn I bought. About another ten minutes later, I slightly shuffle myself in my seat to get more comfortable, again very quietly, which results in him letting out a more pronounced, annoyed sigh. Finally, a while later, I lightly jolt when a jump-scare happens in the movie. The man stomps his feet down, stands up, turns to me, and bellows.)

Customer: “Are you f****** kidding me?! I came to see a movie, not listen to some kid who can’t control himself! Where the f*** is your mother?!”

(I literally don’t know how to respond, so I don’t say anything and stare at him dumbfounded. He stomps out of the theater, and returns with a manager a few minutes later, ranting and raving about how much of a “distraction” I am, and demanding I be kicked out. At this point I should mention that I’m a regular at the theater and am quite friendly with the staff, so the manager immediately recognizes me.)

Manager: “Sir, I’m sorry, but he’s a regular and I’ve never had an issue with him.”

Customer: “Why do you let kids into horror movies?! They can’t behave themselves!”

Me: “I’m 32, dude.”

Customer: “Ugh… but… but… He’s eating popcorn!”

Manager: “Yes, sir, but there’s no rule you can’t eat popcorn.”

Customer: “He’s moving constantly and jumping around like a lunatic!”

Manager: *turning to me, slightly amused* “Have you been moving a lot?”

Me: “I mean… I kind of jumped at one of the jump-scares?”

Manager: *turning back to the man* “Sir, it’s a horror movie. I’m not going to kick someone out for jumping at one of the jump-scares.”

Customer: “It’s unacceptable!”

Me: *royally peeved* “If you can’t deal with any noise, then why the h*** did you choose to sit next to the only other person in the theater?!”

Customer: “I don’t have to answer any of your questions! I want this piece of s*** out! Now!”

Manager: “Sir, you need to calm down. Do not swear at me or other guests.”

Customer: “I WANT HIM OUT NOW, YOU B****!”

(The manager disappeared while the man literally stood over me, smiling like he thought he’d won. A minute later, the manager arrived with security and I was treated to seeing the man get kicked out of the theater without a refund, screaming the entire time. At that point, I was too rattled and angry to stay. I ended up switching out my tickets and seeing the next showtime a few hours later. The manager attempted to give me a bunch of free passes, but I felt bad and said no since it wasn’t the theater’s fault. It blows my mind how crazy some people are.)

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Setting The Wheels Of Comeuppance Into Motion

, , , , , , , | Friendly | November 23, 2019

(I require a wheelchair to get around, so I need to use the handicapped-accessible stalls when using the bathroom. On this particular day, I am visiting a building to drop off some paperwork when I feel the need to go, and I am pleasantly surprised to discover that the restrooms in the building have a generously-sized handicapped-accessible stall, giving me plenty of room to wheel in and get myself settled as I transfer over to the toilet. Right after I’ve gotten myself situated, there is a sudden banging on the stall door.)

Me: “Occupied, sorry!”

(I hear the lady on the other side scoff.)

Lady: “This is handicapped only!”

Me: *trying to be a bit jovial* “Yep. That’s me.”

Lady: “No! You can’t just take the stall from those who need it. People with actual handicaps need that stall; you can’t just take it because you want more space!”

Me: “I’m not. I—”

(She cuts me off to shout some more, so I simply settle in to do my business and ignore her, as I’m certainly not going to transfer back over to my chair and open the door just to prove that I actually “deserve”  the stall. After a bit, she stomps out, and I think that is the end of it. However, right as I am finishing up, I hear her come back in, talking to someone else.)

Lady: “–do something. Those of us with actual disabilities need those stalls! You see, right there. Some brat’s in there, taking up the stall.”

(I’m forty-nine, but I guess I should be flattered that my voice apparently sounds so young.)

Other Lady: “Ma’am, I’m not in charge of the restrooms. I just—”

(At that point, I’d gotten myself settled back into my chair, so I gave the toilet a good flush and then opened the stall door. The look on that lady’s face when she saw me in my chair was priceless. She gaped for a few moments and then just spun and scurried out of the restroom. The other lady, who I think was a secretary for one of the offices nearby, just looked confused, like maybe she was being pranked. I suppose that maybe the woman did have an invisible disability that requires the use of a handicapped stall. However, if that was the case, I’d hope that she’d be more sympathetic to the need to not judge people on whether they need assistance or not.)

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