Enabling Good Dialogue

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 17, 2018

(I am at the hospital to see my dying grandfather when I take an elevator alongside a disabled veteran who is walking on two prosthetic legs. I am impulsive by nature, and find that humor cheers me up greatly, so I ask the question that immediately comes to my mind.)

Me: “I have an uncle who has one leg missing and no eyesight. Would you rather two missing legs or one missing leg and no eyesight?”

Veteran: *awkward chuckle* “Uh… neither!”

(We both laugh.)

Veteran: “But in all seriousness, I prefer having my eyes over having a foot back.”

(My aunt and sister thought I was crazy and rude, but I assured them that every person I have met with a long-term disability has felt best about it when people don’t tiptoe around it or pretend it doesn’t make a difference in their life. My blunt manner, combined with the amused bewilderment people get from my openness to interactions with strangers, seems to me to be a good way to cheer people up, especially when they may have felt the grimness of visiting the ICU, which is where they headed.)

Parenting Doesn’t Have To Be Reserved For Children

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 15, 2018

(I’m standing in line with my toddler. There are a couple of young men behind me, who look to be in their late teens or early twenties, talking and joking with each other.)

Guy #1: *very loudly, leaning slightly toward me* “Y’know, some people don’t even look old enough to be parents, [Guy #2].”

Me: *turns around* “Well, I’m twenty-eight, so…”

(I turn back around, and the first guy stammers a bit while the other one laughs.)

Guy #2: “Haha! Serves you right!” *pause* “Oh, my God, dude, you’re turning so red right now!”

(Hopefully that will teach him to mind his own business.)

The Storm After The Calm

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 14, 2018

(My husband and I are BLESSED with a very calm toddler. His calmness often worries people, usually strangers. One day while I’m out shopping with him, my toddler decides he wants to open a box of crackers while I’m browsing.)

Me: *taking the box away from him* “No, no. We don’t open things before they’re paid for, sir.”

Toddler: *whines and reaches for the box* “Mama!”

(At this point his face pinches up like he’s going to cry but I know he’s not going to do it so I shake my head at him.)

Me: *puts the box back in the cart’s basket* “No, that doesn’t work with me. You just ate before we came to the store, so you are not going to starve.”

(My toddler proceeds to very calmly jabber at me as if he’s trying to argue with me, but I keep telling him, “no,” and he finally shakes his head and goes back to playing with his stuffed animal. At this point, I realize that a woman is staring at us with a shocked look on her face.)

Woman #1: *awed* “I just knew he was going to have a meltdown, but he never did. How did you get him to act like that?”

Me: *shrugs* “He’s always been like that. He’s never actually thrown a tantrum, either.” *laughs* “My husband likes to joke that we’ve got a defective kid because he’s so well-behaved for his age.”

(The woman laughs and I hear a loud “harrumph” behind me so I turn around to find another woman glaring at us.)

Woman #2: *accusing tone* “You should be ashamed of yourself! Your son is obviously autistic or has something else wrong, and you’re making fun of him by calling him defective!”

Me: *rolls eyes* “No, ma’am, he does not exhibit any signs of autism or any other disorders. If you must know, his pediatrician says he is in good health and is a very happy and average toddler, and that he is calm because my husband and I are calm. Kids learn by example.”

Woman #1: “Yeah, which means if you have any kids, they’re probably rude little a**holes just like you.”

([Woman #2] stomped off in a huff and [Woman #1] and I shook our heads before wishing each other a nice day and returning to our shopping.)

It’s Time To Mace Your Fears

, , , , | Friendly | January 13, 2018

(I am driving to my friend’s church while I am staying with her. I have never been there before and don’t understand my friend’s bad handwriting. I drive up to a young woman on the sidewalk and wind down the window. We are the only ones here and I am a woman.)

Me: “Hi, could you tell me the way to—”

(The woman backs up several feet and stares wide-eyed at me.)

Woman: *shouting* “Tell your boyfriend to back off because I have bear mace!”

(She then started running down the street and around the corner. I looked behind me, and the only other person was a much older man who I presume had come out of a nearby house, around a hundred yards away. I never saw the woman again and don’t know what she meant.)

Running Into The Street-Wise

, , , , , | Friendly | January 4, 2018

(My mother is at the bus stop and sees a guy stumbling around, from the sidewalk to the bike path, and close to the curb. She calls the police so they can take care of him, as he is clearly too out of it to be safe on his own in public. They arrive and talk to him, asking about alcohol and drugs. He admits to taking some drugs, then suddenly turns on my mother.)

Druggie: *yelling* “Look at all the trouble you got me in!”

Mother: *yelling back* “I saved your life! You were almost running into the street!”

(So much for helping people.)

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