The Age(d) Of Class

, , , , , , | | Friendly | August 14, 2019

(I’m squatted down looking at some books on a completely empty aisle at a particular store that has nothing over $1. It’s important to note that there is a box of stock next to the adjacent shelves so between the box and myself, we’re blocking the aisle should anyone try to go through. After a few minutes, I see someone out of the corner of my eye, but they’re about ten feet away so I assume they’re looking at the books, as well. After about two minutes, the following takes place:)

Old Woman: “You’re rude.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Old Woman: “You’re rude! I’m trying to get by and you’re blocking the aisle!”

Me: *way more polite than I should be* “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you. If I had seen you trying to get by, I would have moved.”

Old Woman: “Bulls***!”

(I’m a little confused at this point because I’ve been nothing but polite to her.)

Me: “Believe what you want, but I would have moved if I saw you trying to get by.”

Old Woman: “You need to treat me with respect! I’m old enough to be your grandmother! You’re supposed to be respectful to your elders.”

Me: “And you need to show a little class.”

(I’m pretty sure she missed my last comment because, by that point, I had moved out of her way and she was looking at some toys, mumbling about how she thought children would like them. I chalked it up to a case of COLS — Crazy Old Lady Syndrome.)

Her Argument Rings Hollow

, , , , | | Friendly | August 13, 2019

(I have parked in a disabled space. I get out and head to the store. There is a woman having a cigarette who notices me and practically sprints to me.)

Woman: “You self-entitled prick!”

Me: *taken aback*

Woman: “It’s people like you who make life unbearable for the rest of us.”

Me: “You mean the disabled space? I’m–”

Woman: “–a self-entitled a***hole who wants to make disabled people like me, who can barely walk, suffer!”

(I sigh, lift my leg, and knock hard against my right shin. It sounds hollow. The woman recoils at the noise in disgust.)

Me: “I’m an amputee.”

(Normally, this is enough to end the situation, but in this instance, the woman continued to look disgusted until she started shaking and collapsed on the floor. I panicked, thinking she had fainted. I tried to check her pulse before trying to run to the store for help. I heard movement behind me and saw the woman getting up and running to her car. I stopped and stared at her as she fumbled to unlock the door. She noticed and flipped me off before getting in and driving away.)

God’s Dirt Has Been Paved Over In China

, , , , , , , | | Friendly | August 9, 2019

(I am outside my university’s research lab building, by the parking deck. I am American, but ethnically I am half Chinese, which some people can spot right away. I’m also a scientist and an atheist. I am walking towards my lab and using the sidewalk next to the parking garage. There is a security guard standing on the sidewalk next to the garage, watching some birds in a patch of grass. I smile and say hi to her. She stops me.)

Guard: “Isn’t it amazing?”

Me: “…?”

Guard: “You can just throw anything in God’s dirt and it’ll grow!”

Me: “Uh… what?”

Guard: “Yeah, you can have any seeds at all, throw it into God’s dirt, and it’ll grow, just like that! Isn’t it amazing?”

Me: “Well, yes, life in general is pretty amazing. But I gotta tell you, not everything you throw in dirt is going to grow…”

(I launch into a very short explanation about plant needs, soil fertility, and crop rotation, which apparently is quite lost on the lady.)

Guard: *quickly changing the subject* “So, you work in that building over there?”

Me: “Yep, I’m a graduate student here at [University].”

Guard: “Are you Asian?”

Me: “I’m half Chinese.”

Guard: “Isn’t China a communist country?”

Me: “Yep.”

Guard: “Well, you have yourself a nice day.”

(She couldn’t get rid of me fast enough! Shun the non-believer!)

Unfair In The Fair

, , , , | | Friendly | August 6, 2019

(There is a summer fair for kids in my town and we go there with the twins. My daughter sets her mind to have her face painted, but the line is very long. It stretches along a bench, which belongs to the next table, where you can make your own name-buttons. It’s a bit off to the side, but the people kind of organise themselves and it’s clear that everybody waits. The kids waiting are all using the 30+ minutes of wait to make a button. After a while, my son comes over and wants to join the line. I tell him no, he has to get to the end — there are three kids behind us now — as it would not be fair to the others who waited while he went playing. He sulks off. After 20 minutes, a mother with her two kids appears in front of the face painters, ignoring the seated kids queuing. At first, I think she just wants to ask something, but they seem to be skipping the line. Maybe she misread the situation, I think, and I speak up. There are three painting stations and only two more girls in front of my daughter, and her kids would take up the spot that is about to open for us.)

Me: “Excuse me, the line ends over there if you want to join.”

Other Mother: “Those kids are not in line; they are making buttons. We are next to have her face painted.”

Me: “Um, no, sorry. All those kids are waiting, too. You can’t skip the line like that.”

Other Mother: “You can keep your opinion to yourself.”

Me: “Are you seriously doing this?”

Other Mother: *coldly* “Yes.”

Me:Really? Is that what you are showing your kids is the right thing to do?”

(Other parents are speaking up, as well; the mother after me is also quite vocal about it.) 

Me: “Well, if you really think this is right and how to be an example for your kids, I just can’t believe it. This is just unfair and you are wrong. I will not just be quiet and take this. So, last chance; would you please go to the back of the line like a normal human being with manners? I can’t force you to leave, but I will give you every piece of my mind that concerns you right now.”

Other Mother: “If that’s what makes you happy, I don’t care.”

(I am shaking with anger now and I start giving her an angry mom dressing down from heck. As she has no way of leaving while keeping her stolen spot in line, I have a lot of time.)

Me: “You have no manners, it seems. Did your parents raise you just as badly as you are now raising your kids, to behave entitled? Does it feel good for your kids to be the mom who behaves this badly? The woman who thinks she is better than everybody else? Who wants the world to revolve around her? I just want you to know that you are a bad parent right now and if your kid lies in bed tonight ashamed of her mother’s behaviour, it is your doing alone. What would your mother say about how you act? Probably nothing, as it seems she never had before when you cheated your way through….”

(Just to be clear, I do not shout but speak clearly and my daughter is absorbed in her button for most of it. The other woman is either ignoring me, her back turned to me, or trying again to justify herself with the “if you are in line you should STAND in line, not make buttons” reasoning. As the kid in front of her finishes up, I ask her again:)

Me: “You still think skipping the line is okay?”

Other Mother: “There was no line to skip.”

(I grab my daughter, shove myself in front of her kid, and set mine in front of the face painter:)

Me: “Great, no line? So we are next!” 

(The face-painter hands my daughter the book with examples to choose from. The woman behind us glares. My daughter goes through the book without much enthusiasm and I feel sorry for the situation being kind of my fault. I just can’t stand cheaters. Luckily, the face painter is very nice, seemingly taking her sweet time. Meanwhile, the mother starts ranting at me.)

Other Mother: “I just want you to know, you shoved your butt into my kid’s face!” 

Me: “Well, as there was no line, don’t shove your daughter into my butt.”

Other Mother: “I just want you to know that’s disgusting!”

Me: “Yes, you certainly are!”

Other Mother: “I will report you for harassing me!” 

Me: “You are welcome to call any authority that you want to involve; I’m sure they can help settle this. But I am done for my part.”

(And so are the butterflies. My daughter looks in the mirror and is happy, so we leave. As I am leaving, I hear voices behind me: the next parents are not letting her steal their places, either. I am quite flustered and have to take a break. After some time watching the kids play in the bounce house, I am better and I go over to get my kids some slushies. On the way, I see the mother with her much older daughter on her arm, the girl crying on her shoulder, no face paint to be seen. She sees me waiting for my kids and makes a final attempt to get to me.)

Other Mother: “I just want you to know that you ruined my daughter’s day.”

Me: “Oh, no. That was your doing, not mine.”

Other Mother: “Well, I talked to the boss of this fair and he totally agreed with me. You should go talk to him if you have any decency!”

Me: “You know what? I will do that and see what’s up.”

Other Mother: “You are a horrible–” 

Me: “Nope, I’m done. I don’t need people like you in my life. Get lost.”

(I turn away and get my kids. As the slush stand is next to a kind of information booth, I step over.)

Me: “I think you had to deal with an angry woman right now that blamed me for all her misery caused by not being able to skip a line? She said somebody would want a word with me?”

Booth Man: “Well, yeah, there was an angry lady, but I’m just the guy who takes care of the volunteers. I can’t help you.”

Me: “Yes, you can. Please give my thanks to the face painters for being so calm and my apology for all the fuss with her.”

Booth Man: *seems to exhale and relax a lot* “I certainly will. Sorry, people are kind of crazy today. I just did not want to get yelled at again.”

(Despite her saying I ruined her day, she took the time to keep glaring at me for a while from afar. I ignored her and after a while did not see her again.)

Disappearing Into A Good Book

, , , , | | Friendly | August 5, 2019

(I am sitting in a comfortable section of armchairs at a library enjoying a book that is so hilarious I am shaking with laughter, but struggling to do so as silently as possible to be considerate of other patrons and students. Another woman comes to sit down across from me. After some minutes go by where I have some more bouts of laughter, she reaches over and touches me on the knee.)

Woman: “Oh, my goodness. Are you okay, sweetie? Why are you crying?”

Me: *completely weirded out* “What? I’m not crying? I’m fine.”

Woman: “It really sounds like you’re sobbing and hiding it behind that book.”

Me: “Um… If I needed to have a cry, I would definitely find someplace more private to do it than behind a book. I’m laughing because this is really funny, but I’m trying not to be too loud. Really, I’m okay.”

Woman: “But you have tears in your eyes!”

Me: “Again, from laughing. You can take your hand off my knee; I don’t need to be comforted. Honestly, I was very happy at the moment.”

Woman: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Positive.”

Woman: “If something is wrong, it’s okay to talk about it. Do you need a hug?”

Me: “Argh! Nothing’s wrong!”

(She looks uncertain but withdraws. I feel her watching me closely, but I get engrossed back into reading. I also realize she can see my face perfectly well and that I am clearly grinning. I get to another passage that nearly has me doubling over in laughter and I’m shaking.)

Woman: “Are you sure you’re not crying?!”

Me: “Okay, you know what? I’m just going to take this book to go.”