Father Keeping You In Line

, , , , , | | Related | July 2, 2019

It’s Father’s Day weekend, so I offer to take my dad to a movie that he wants to see. I purchase our tickets before arriving so we just scan them and go straight to the concession, which has really short lines for a Saturday evening. There’s only one family in front of us.

While we’re waiting for them to finish up, an older man suddenly shows up next to me — my dad is on my left and this man is on my right. He’s holding an empty popcorn tub and just creates his own line. 

It’s worth mentioning that there are at least three other concession lines open, each with only one or two people being helped. He had to pass at least one of those lines to reach the one we’re at.

When the family in front of us leaves, the man suddenly steps up in front of us. I really don’t feel like sticking my foot out to trip an old guy, despite his rudeness, but the cashier refills his popcorn like everything’s okay.

I say to my dad, quite loudly, “I guess we don’t have to stand in lines anymore?”

Neither the man or the cashier acknowledge why he was cutting. I’m pretty sure they serve refills for certain popcorn tub purchases, but it’s really rude to make someone standing in line wait just because the guy ate his popcorn super fast and wants to rush back to his movie.

My dad told me later he was sighing that I said anything because he didn’t know if the man would try to pick a fight. I still think the guy was rude but it’s not the first time in my life an old man has cut in front of me and I don’t know why it’s wrong to call it out.

Somewhere Out There, A Social Justice Warrior Is Ready To Be Offended On His Behalf

, , , , , , | | Friendly | July 2, 2019

My family, all Caucasian, are packing up as we get ready to return home from a vacation. My parents realize that there won’t be room in the car for a watermelon my mom bought but didn’t get around to eating.

Rather than throw it away, she decides to offer it to the hotel staff and see if they want it. As she jauntily walks up to the front counter, the man behind leaves and is replaced by a black man.

My mom slowly comes to stop as she pauses and considers what she’s about to do. She stands still for a solid minute, staring at the man, as she weighs her options. She finally just decides to ignore her concerns and asks the man if he is interested in a free watermelon. He happily takes it without comment.

Welcome To The Other Side

, , , , , , , , , , | | Friendly | July 1, 2019

I am a nanny for a woman with chronic health issues. As a result of those issues, she doesn’t work, but most days she needs a lot of help with her children. On her worst days, she can’t even get out of bed, but on her better days, I’ll help her run errands or do fun things with the kids. To the casual observer, my interactions with the kids, whom I have been a primary caregiver to since infancy, are indistinguishable from their interactions with their mother. This leads to a lot of confusion as to who belongs to who when we go out, and the problem is only exacerbated by the fact that the children pronounce my name as “Ah-mee.” Obviously, most people see two women with kids who sound like they are calling them both “Mommy” and make a lot of assumptions. This is the story of a single, very long day. 

We spend the morning happily playing in the park, and the oldest child is practicing cartwheels and yelling, “Ah-mee, look at me!” while the little one tugs on my boss and says, “Mommy, snack, please!” I hear a disgusted snort from a nearby woman who begins yelling at us in a foreign language. She’s with a younger man who I assume is her grandson and he looks mortified, and says, “I’m so sorry, I’ll get her out of here! I’m so sorry! She’s just old! I’m so sorry!”

The man practically marches her away, muttering angrily to her, and it takes a few moments to guess at why the woman was yelling. The kids are a little spooked and confused, so my boss and I decide to get an early lunch. We go to a diner and, to our great surprise, our middle-aged waitress seats us and disappears, only to reappear, pointing at us and arguing with a younger waitress. I can’t hear the argument well, but I do manage to catch, “They’re in your section!” and, “You’re being ridiculous!”

Finally, the younger waitress comes over and makes a lame excuse for the other waitress, but it’s clear she’s furious with her coworker and she offers to comp our drinks “for the wait.” The whole time, our new waitress is attentive and polite and clearly going out of her way to make up for her coworker’s behavior. We end up leaving a 30% tip, partly because we love to imagine how put out the original waitress might be about losing out on a really good tip due to her own bigotry. 

Our last stop of the day is a makeup store where they clearly make the same assumption as everyone else that day, but rather than being jerks, they are overly attentive and condescending. Since we live in a very liberal area, this is something I’m a bit more used to when going out with the kids and my boss. Under normal circumstances, I barely notice the over-eager attention we sometimes garner, but after a whole day of bigots, it just feels like it’s more scrutiny. I’m also getting hyper-aware of the kids’ behavior, worried that any perceived flaws in my caregiving will reflect poorly on LGBT families. 

The saleswoman is talking to the older child, saying, “You have a pretty cool family there, pal!” and then actually winks at me. 

In hindsight, I could have used that opportunity to correct her assumption, but I was genuinely so exhausted at that point it didn’t even occur to me. 

Finally, our errands are done and I’m happy to put one of the longest days of my life behind me. Later that night at home, I make an online donation to an LGBT charity. I spent a whole day experiencing just a taste of what LGBT families must go through and it was exhausting. Please, everyone, don’t assume, and I can promise you that cooing and doting over “different” families only feels like condescension or pity and isn’t much more fun than other forms of prejudice. Just treat everybody the same!

I Feel Sorry For This Guy’s Dog

, , , , | | Friendly | June 29, 2019

(I am a certified ASL — American Sign Language — interpreter and a volunteer for an organization that makes various resources available to the deaf community. As part of our outreach initiative, we will visit deaf individuals at their personal homes to discuss what we offer. We get a tip about a possible deaf person living in our area, so I go with my deaf friend and coworker to meet him. My coworker does not read lips, so I act as an ASL interpreter during the entire conversation. I never speak as myself the entire time and translate every word dutifully.)

Coworker: *signing* “Hi! My name is [Coworker] and I am deaf. Someone told us that there is a deaf man living here. I would like to meet him.” *big smile*

Homeowner: *speaking to me* “A deaf man? There’s no one deaf here.”

Coworker: *gets his attention and continues speaking in ASL* “Oh, I see. Maybe we got incorrect info. Thanks, anyway.”

Homeowner: *now speaking, as he should, to my coworker* “So, you’re deaf, huh? You can’t understand my words?”

(This seems innocent enough, as many people are curious when someone’s using an interpreter. And people tend to like watching sign language. We would be happy to answer a few questions if he is talkative. But it quickly turns ugly.)

Coworker: “That’s correct. Although I read and write in English just fine, I can’t hear it and I don’t speak it.”

Homeowner: *points to me* “So, without him, you could never understand anyone?”

Coworker: “I usually do just fine without an interpreter, actually.”

Homeowner: “This is so fun. It’s like I’m talking to a dog. I talk, and you just have no idea what I’m saying. You’re just watching me talk with a smile.”

Coworker: *stunned*

Homeowner: “I talk, and you know it’s meant for you. And you want to tell me something back. But you just can’t. It’s just like talking to a dog.”

(The man continued on for another minute or so, referring to my friend as a dog the entire time. My coworker eventually threw his hands up, giving up, and we walked away. It would have been rude of me to cut off my friend and speak up; instead, I had to stand there and translate the insults for him. It was agony.)

If You Wanna Be My Lover, You Gotta Get With My Jams

, , , , , , , | | Friendly | June 27, 2019

I’m driving to work, and the turn arrow I need turns red just as I pull up. I’m annoyed, as this is a major intersection, and it’ll be at least two minutes before the arrow changes.

However, at that instant, the radio changes to “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. Knowing how long the light is, I crank the volume, roll down my windows, and rock out. About a minute in, I glance at the car on my left: the driver looks at me with pure judgment. I ignore them and look over at the big rig on my right.

The driver is also rocking out, and I realize he’s also jamming to the Spice Girls. We make eye contact and exchange thumbs-up before going our separate ways.

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