That’s… Relevant-Adjacent, I Guess?

, , , , , | Friendly | April 23, 2020

My husband and I are both Australian. I am white; he is brown and was born in Sri Lanka. My husband’s country of birth is unremarkable to most people we meet, but occasionally, we come across people who seem to find it interesting and want to express how “cool” they are about a biracial couple or about brown people by finding some sort of common ground. Usually, it’s just something as innocent as “Oh, my wife works with a Sri Lankan” or something equally banal, but this one is new.

We have a tradesman doing some work at our home.

Tradesman: “Oh, so, what’s your husband’s nationality?”

Me: “He’s Australian but he was born in Sri Lanka and came here when he was a baby.”

Tradesman: “Oh. So, where’s Sri Lanka?”

Me: “It’s a little island just below India.”

Tradesman: “Oh, right.” *Pause* “Nicole Kidman was really good in that movie Lion, wasn’t she?”

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Socially Distant From Understanding

, , , , , | Friendly | April 21, 2020

Due to a spreading illness, I am following the rules of keeping social distance from other people — whenever possible, that is. I’m on the bus and my stop is approaching, so I get up and stand near the doors. A woman to my immediate right makes movements that make me think she wants to get up, too, and I look over.

She barks at me with an attitude, “Keep social distance!”

I manage half a step in the small space to put more distance between us.

It’s a bus. It’s a bit difficult to keep the desired two meters away from everyone when you are stuck in those narrow hallways between the seat rows. Maybe I should have told her that she didn’t seem to care about social distance when I was sitting right behind her.

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You Can’t Mask That Kind Of Crazy

, , , , , , | Friendly | April 20, 2020

Because of the recent illness outbreak, the governor has asked all citizens to wear a face mask when out in public, and of course to maintain a minimum six feet distance from each other.

I need to go to the grocery store, so I put on a painter’s mask from my garage and go shopping.

I have just picked up a jar of peanut butter when I hear a loud, screeching voice.

Woman: “Give me that!”

I turn toward the voice just as a hand goes for my face, grabbing my mask. I pull back, causing it to snap back onto my face and into my eyes.  

Me: “What are you doing?”

Woman: “Give me that mask, now!

Me: “No, it’s mine for protection! Back off!”

Woman: “You have one of those nurse’s masks! My daughter is a nurse and she needs it, so give it to me now!

She lunges toward me again but I turn and block her. Store employees have heard the commotion and have arrived on the scene, wanting to know what’s going on. I try to tell them but she is screaming over all other communications.

Woman: “He’s trying to kill my daughter! That’s my mask! He won’t give it to me! She needs it. I want it now!

A male store employee tried to get between her and me, but she continued to attack me.

They got us separated and got my side of the story. Meanwhile, she continued to escalate, screaming that I was trying to kill her daughter, that the mask was hers, etc.

Security had to come to help restrain her until police arrived to remove her. They wanted to know if I wanted to file assault charges. I’m waiting to see how my face and eyes are before I make that decision.

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Honking Up The Wrong Lot

, , , , , | Friendly | April 17, 2020

Around eleven at night, a car started honking in our parking lot. I thought it was just someone honking at someone for cutting them off or something, but then it just didn’t stop, going on and on. It wasn’t regular enough to be a car alarm, and finally, my roommate got fed up enough to go out and see what was happening.

He went out to see that there was a car, idling in the middle of the lot, with the driver honking her horn repeatedly at apparently nothing. There were a couple of people nearby watching her, and one was apparently talking, or really shouting with her through the window.

“You need to let people sleep!” The guy by the window was saying. The woman shouted something back, and the guy pointed towards the back row of the parking lot. “There are plenty of spaces over there.”

At that point, my roommate had gotten close enough to hear what she said in response: “I don’t wanna walk that far.”

The guy who had been talking to her turned to my roommate. “She’s honking to get someone to move their car so she can park.”

The lady started honking again, and my roommate slapped his hand down on her roof, getting her to jump. Something to know about my roommate is that he has very little tolerance for bulls***, especially when he is tired. The lady stopped honking, and he full-on roared at her. “Shut the f*** up and park your car, or I’m gonna start breaking s*** and shut it up myself.”

That got her moving, all the way out of the parking lot entirely. We didn’t hear another peep that night or since. Here’s hoping she’s learned her lesson from that.

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Long-Distance Relationships Before Social Media

, , , , , | Friendly | April 14, 2020

In college in the late 1980s, I had my own private phone line set up in my dorm room. However, I guess the number was close to a couple of others because I kept getting phone calls for Mark, Rick, and Mike.

They were always on my answering machine, but that meant they weren’t actually listening to my message because it was, “Hello, you’ve reached [My Name] at [Phone Number]. I’m sorry I’m not here…”

I eventually got tired of the wrong numbers and changed my message:

“Hello, you’ve reached [My Name] at [Phone Number]. This isn’t Mark. This isn’t Rick. And I’m sorry, Melissa, but this isn’t Mike. If you wish to speak to one of them, please hang up and dial again. If you wish to leave a message for [My Name], please do so after the tone.”

Melissa called. It seems she had finally paid attention to the outgoing message, as she left me one, and I could hear her trying to keep from laughing the entire time.

“I’m sorry, [My Name]. I didn’t realize I had been leaving all those wrong messages. Maybe one of these days, I’ll get on out to California and I can finally meet the wrong number.”

However, finals week was upon us, so I changed my answering machine message to indicate that I was going to always be studying, so people should leave a message and maybe I’d get back to them sometime.

Melissa called again. It seemed she liked being called out on someone’s answering machine and I guess she called so she could show it to someone. Again, she was trying to keep it together on the phone:

“[My Name]! It’s Melissa. What happened? Don’t you love me anymore?”

I think I still have that cassette tape somewhere.

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