They Got You Covered From A To Zulu

, , , , , , , | | Friendly | May 6, 2019

(My husband and I are on holiday. We’re considered an uncommon interracial couple. We’re both South African, but I’m ethnically Pakistani and he’s a Zulu man. We’re on holiday in Dubai and we’re at a theme park known for its fast rides. It’s a bit of a busy day so we’re waiting in line. There have been a lot of queue jumpers today and we’re getting fed up. Just behind us are two Indian girls. As the line moves, we notice the girls are slowly inching closer and closer into our personal space, to the point where they’re actually moving around us and trying to get ahead in the queue. This pisses me off since I hate line jumpers, but I’m a bit of a pushover so I don’t confront them. I just give them a dirty look. Soon, the girls start speaking in Hindi, not realising that I’m Pakistani and fluent in Urdu — our language — which is very similar to Hindi.)

Girl #1: “What are they doing?”

Girl #2: “I don’t know. Look at that girl looking at us.”

Girl #1: “She looks crazy. Is she with the black guy?”

Girl #2: “Looks like it. Weird.”

(They say a few more sentences which I don’t catch because my glare is getting more intense, and I finally decide to speak up. I speak to them in Urdu.)

Me: “Hey, you girls are being incredibly rude. We’re all waiting in this line and I don’t know what you think of yourselves that you can cut past us.”

(Both girls look shocked and start to make excuses.)

Girl #2: “We’re not trying to cut in line, but fine, you go ahead of us.”

(The line moved forward a few steps and they got a little behind us. Coincidentally, the theme park that we were at employs a lot of South Africans and we’d been greeting our fellow countrymen the whole day, whenever we heard the accents. As we neared the front of the queue, the girls were starting their old tricks again and they’d managed to move a little ahead of us. One of the men running the ride turned out to be Zulu and my husband spoke to him in Zulu quite enthusiastically. The man asked how things were going and my husband replied that things were pretty good, except for the queue jumpers. The girls’ faces blanched and they started to look scared, even though neither of them could understand Zulu — the words “queue jumpers” were said in English. My husband isn’t the type to be petty, but being South African had been a huge advantage to us since the staff were usually nicer and more accommodating for us. Anyway, when they needed two people to fill the next ride, those girls were purposefully ignored by the attendant and we went in first. Even though it was something small, karma felt good.)

When The Eaves Drops

, , , , , , | | Friendly | May 6, 2019

(Earlier today, I was eating out at a restaurant, and I had a couple come up to me to berate me about stuff I’d said about my food preferences to the friends I was eating with. We basically ignored them until they went away, and later, I share the story with another friend as we are riding the bus home.)

Me: “It’s just crazy how some rude a**holes think they have the right to listen in and comment on other people’s conversations.”

Friend: “Yeah. Some people just can’t help sticking their noses in.”

(Right then, someone taps me on my shoulder, and I turn to see a lady standing over the seat, glaring at me.)

Lady: “How dare you talk about me that way?!”

Me: “What?”

Lady: “I’m not an… an… a butthole.”

(I finally cotton on to the fact that this lady had been eavesdropping on us, and is now upset that we’ve called people who eavesdrop a**holes.)

Me: “I didn’t know you existed until you hit my shoulder, and I was talking about someone else, but now I am talking about you. You’re an a**hole for thinking you have the right to butt into our conversation.”

(She sputtered for a moment before turning and trying to stomp back to her seat, two rows back and across the aisle, made difficult by the bus swaying a little due to the road.)

Giajin-People Problems

, , , , , | Friendly | May 5, 2019

I had the opportunity to study abroad in Japan while I was in college. During our orientation week, one of the staff volunteers mentioned that those of us who were taller might get some extra attention, but not to worry about it. I didn’t think much about it, because I’m average height by Japanese standards, until random events like the ones below started happening to the taller students in the group:

1) While visiting a Japanese onsen — public bathhouse — my friend, who was at least 5’10”, had just removed her robe and was about to step into the water — we’re both women, so we were on the women’s side of the onsen — when a tiny, elderly Japanese lady popped out of the water and hustled over to us, completely naked. I thought, at first, that maybe we had forgotten to do one of the pre-bathing steps and she was warning us, but when she reached us she stretched up as far as she could and patted the air somewhere around my friend’s shoulder.

“Takai!” she said, which means “big/tall.” She giggled, and then quickly hopped back into the onsen where her friends were all cracking up.

2) Another friend of mine in the group, a man, was over six feet tall, and had long hair down to his shoulders. One day, we were waiting for a crosswalk sign to change when a group of Japanese middle-school-aged girls ran up to me, asking if they could take a picture with him. I said they’d have to ask him, and he was usually a good sport about that kind of thing, so I ended up with five phones and cameras shoved into my hands to take pictures of them with my friend. I don’t know if they thought he was a celebrity or were just excited to take a picture with a tall foreigner, but they were so happy.

3) When the same male friend was going through the airport on a flight from Japan to Korea, he got pulled over to the bag inspection table, but when the customs agents pulled out a pair of his shoes they forgot about the check and instead spent a few minutes talking about how big his shoes were! That was it; they didn’t pull anything else out of the bag.

Overall, there were never any negative encounters for my taller friends, except for maybe not fitting comfortably in some spaces, and house slippers never fitting.

Scream If You Wanna Go Karma

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 4, 2019

My friend and I are at a local coffee shop. We both just left school so we are wearing our backpacks, which are bulky and cumbersome. As my friend is walking past a table to leave, her backpack catches a spice shaker and knocks it onto the floor. The shaker is small and doesn’t make much noise when it lands. That, coupled with the background noise in the coffee shop causes her not to notice what happened.

She is already out the door, so I go to pick the shaker. Then, this woman, whom I have never seen before in my life, comes up to me ranting and raving about disrespectful teens and how we can’t just start destroying things and not picking up after ourselves. I point out that I am picking it up, that my friend knocked it over by accident, and that there is no harm done. This does not placate the rude woman. She then starts yelling at the barista that my friend and I are trying to destroy coffee shop property and should be banned. The barista, who was watching this whole insane situation, takes my side and tells the woman she cannot harass other customers.

I leave the coffee shop and my friend asks me what delayed me. As I am explaining, the rude woman comes out after me and starts screaming at my friend and I more. My friend’s dad pulls up in his car to drive us home; we hurry to the car as the woman is yelling incoherently behind us. He asks us what happened as the woman is literally banging on the car windows and yelling about how disrespectful and awful both my friend and I are.

I’m shaken but I explain the best I can. My friend’s dad isn’t amused; he rolls down his window enough to roar at the woman to keep her hands off his car. She pales, shuts up, and backs up. My friend’s dad then gets out of the car and marches into the coffee shop. A minute later he and barista appear, and the barista starts talking to the rude woman, who begins crying and storms off in the direction of the parking lot. My friend’s dad explains that the barista has banned the woman from the coffee shop.

About a week later, I am walking home. I am passing a crosswalk that a man is crossing when a convertible comes out of nowhere and screeches to a halt right in front of the man, nearly hitting him. The driver then starts screaming at the man for being in the middle of the road, saying it would have been his fault if she had hit him, and so on. Lo and behold, it is the same rude woman from the coffee shop. The man she nearly hit just flips her off and walks away.

The rude woman turns towards me for support, saying that you just can’t reason with some people. I tell her I agree completely and that I see she’s just as unreasonable and crazy wherever she goes. Her face first goes blank, then bright red as she recognizes me. She steps on the gas pedal and swerves off, tires screeching, towards a street corner that a cop usually stays by with a radar gun, waiting to catch people speeding. I walked away cackling as she was screaming at the police officer for pulling her over.

Dungeons And Duplo

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 2, 2019

The library I work at recently started a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I decided to join outside of work. This particular incident happens during our second meeting. Because most of the group is new to playing, we are still in the process of creating our character sheets and learning a little about what the DM expects. We are meeting in the library’s main meeting space, which is the first room you come to from the side entrance; we’ve kept the door open in case anyone wishes to inquire and possibly join.

About 30 minutes into the meeting, a woman enters the library and stops in the doorway of the room. She’s wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap. She asks, “Is this the D & D class?”

Immediately, I’m suspicious, but as I am not working, I can’t officially do anything… yet. I tell her it is and ask if she would like to join us. Without a word, she storms into the room, lugging two giant suitcases behind her. Everyone is staring at her as she opens one of the suitcases and begins pulling out a bunched-up bed sheet. I ask her who she is, what she is doing and if she is planning on joining us. I also warn that if she’s planning on being a Dungeon Master, we already have one; we think maybe she has toys or figurines for us to play with.

As it turns out, the woman does want us to play… with blocks of Duplo Lego. Instead of answering our questions, she tells us to continue with our “meeting,” and that she will sit in the middle and play with the blocks. She begins handing out different colors to each of us, and I decide to try to ignore her enough to talk to the DM about something to do with my character. Sure enough, every time I try to talk, the woman loudly shuffles the blocks and then grows quieter when I stop.

I tell the woman that I work at the library and would like to know what she is doing, but I realize that she does not plan on leaving. I race out of the room to grab the assistant director, telling her that there is a woman who refuses to leave. The assistant director follows me back and tells the woman that she needs to leave if she does not wish to join our campaign. The woman asks if she can borrow a pair of headphones, pulling out a small radio covered in drawings of crosses and what I recognize to be Bible verses. The assistant director agrees and leaves the room only to come back with a copy of the library policy. She instructs us to pack up and go into her office while she talks to the woman. The woman immediately begins to clean up the Lego blocks and marches out of the building with suitcases in tow.

After a short discussion, the group decides that, despite being quite shaken up, we will continue to meet that day, but in the library’s locked basement to prevent a repeat of the event. As it turns out, the woman was super religious and was, in fact, protesting the Dungeons and Dragons campaign. While I’ve been aware that this happens everywhere, it was the first time it had happened directly to me. (Side note, our campaign is still going strong and our DM is amazing!)

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