We’ve Heard Of Child Soldiers, But That’s Ridiculous

, , , , | Healthy | March 3, 2020

(It’s circa 2009 and there is a blood drive going on at our school. I am sitting with a worker, doing the health screening questionnaire to rule out anything that would disqualify my blood. There are some questions that definitely shouldn’t apply, such as whether or not I’ve been in various parts of the world a decade before I was born, but I understand they need to be asked. Then, we get here:)

Worker: “Between 1988 and 1995, were you in the military or the dependent of someone in the military?”

Me: “Yes.”

(There’s a long pause.)

Worker: “So… you were a dependent?”

Me: *pause* “Yes.”

(Granted, I could have been more specific. But given that this blood drive was being held at a college, primarily with young adults who had only reached the age of conscription in the last five years, AND given that she had my birthdate of 1990 right in front of her on my paperwork… I didn’t think I needed to!)

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This Ain’t It, Chief

, , , , | Romantic | March 2, 2020

(As a pet-sitter and dog-walker, I’m used to strange hours around the holidays to accommodate all the dogs and cats that need care while their families are out of town. I’m used to getting up as early as 5:30 am to go feed cats their breakfast or to walk a dog, even if I’m grumpy about being up before dawn, though I make a point to stay aware of my surroundings as a safety measure. So, when I end up with two weeks’ worth of twelve-hour days starting with pre-dawn driving, I don’t think much of it except to mourn the loss of sleep. On that first day, I don’t notice anything amiss; traffic is light — who else is crazy enough to be awake before 6:00 am during winter break? — so I get to my first stop in a fairly nice neighborhood pretty quickly. I pull into the deep driveway and get out of my car when I hear a sudden honking. At the other end of the driveway, a small four-door car has pulled up, going at the horn on this residential street before the sun has even come up. I figure they must be seriously lost; nothing else in my mind makes sense for how urgently this person is trying to get my attention. So, I walk back up the driveway, stopping a few feet away, and the driver, a youngish guy, leans over to talk out of the open passenger-side window.)

Guy: “I’ve been trying to get your attention for twenty blocks!”

Me: “What?”

Guy: “Yeah, I’ve been honking and everything.”

Me: “Oh, uh, sorry? I didn’t notice. Are you lost or something?”

Guy: “No, no, I’m fine. What’s your name?”

(As a woman in her mid-twenties, I’ve heard too many horror stories and watched too much “Investigation Discovery” to not become a little nervous about where this is going.)

Me: “Uh, [My First Name]. Look, I’ve gotta go; I’m super busy…”

Guy: “Oh, did you just get home?”

Me: “No, no, I’m just helping out a friend, but I’ve got a lot of stuff to do…”

(I start backing away back down the driveway, social anxiety keeping me from just turning around and booking it towards the house, but he doesn’t get the hint.)

Guy: “It’s all right; we can still talk! Are you seeing anyone?”

Me: “Yeah, I am actually, so I’ll just…”

(That nice Fight or Flight instinct kicked into Flight and I speed-walked to the house and waited until he drove off to start feeding the cats. I almost immediately ordered pepper spray and a taser, and I haven’t spotted him or his car since. I don’t know why he thought it wouldn’t be creepy to follow someone to what they thought was that person’s house IN THE DARK to try and chat them up for a date, but I can assure you, it gave me Serial Killer Murder Mystery vibes! DON’T DO THIS!)

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God Bless Boston

, , , , , , , , , | Friendly | March 1, 2020

I’m at a hockey game waiting in line for a drink. A few people ahead of me in the next line over there were this mother and son. It was clear the boy had some sort of mental handicap. 

As this guy who had just bought drinks and food was walking away from the counter, the boy accidentally ran into him and knocked everything out of the guy’s arms. But, even after seeing that this boy clearly had a handicap, and after his mother apologized several times and offered to pay for all of his food and drinks, instead of exercising a little patience or showing a little human decency, this guy said:

“Are you f****** kidding me?! He shouldn’t be allowed out in public! What kind of person brings someone like him out around other people? From now on, try keeping your d*** [ableist slur] on a leash!”

Just as a couple of people in line started to move forward and shut this jerk up, an older woman — maybe in her mid-60s — walked up to him and just slapped him right across the face! 

She said, “You are the only disgrace that I see! How dare you speak to another person like that?! Who on Earth raised you? If I were your mother, I would be embarrassed, and you should feel so ashamed.” 

And then, to top it all off… another gentleman in line paid for this mother and her son’s food and the jerk stormed off, empty-handed and pouting. 

God, I love Bostonians.

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All Aboard The Reality Crisis Express!

, , , , , , , | Friendly | February 28, 2020

My mum was on a train with my niece, her granddaughter, who was about six at time. A man got on who was wearing a medieval jester costume with a life-sized sword and shield. He was nice enough to let my mum take a photo while he posed, so I got to see myself how impressively realistic his costume was.

My mum is by nature an extremely friendly person and started chatting with him, and he enthusiastically told her about how he was a dragon slayer off to a renaissance fair.

During the time they talked, which was only around five or ten minutes, whenever my mum looked at my niece she was exactly the same: leaning right back in her seat, wide-eyed, silently staring at him, white as a ghost. Any attempt at engaging her was a lost cause for that train ride. You know those stories about children excited to meet someone from a fairy tale? Not this kid.

Mum later explained to me that she realised my niece was so shocked because suddenly all the stories that she’d been told through books, movies, and storytimes had just become true. There was a jester with a sword and shield catching the morning train and he was off to slay a dragon? There was going to be a whole fair of medieval people doing medieval things in Melbourne? She just couldn’t handle how real it had all become.

A couple of weeks later while with her again, my mum tried to explain, “You know that man was just dressed up to pretend and play? He wasn’t actually a dragon slayer.”

In the most despondent voice, she replied, “I don’t believe you.”

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What’s That Saying About What Happens When You Assume?

, , , , , , | Friendly | February 25, 2020

I am having dinner at a restaurant with a young woman. We are sitting near the hostess’s podium. Two women in their fifties come in and wait by the podium. One of them looks at me, sniffs, and says in a loud voice, “I don’t think much of men who go out with women young enough to be their daughters.”

I respond in an equally loud voice, “It’s not surprising that this woman is young enough to be my daughter since she is my daughter.”

The woman is gracious enough to apologize.

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