At Least He Knows Africa Is A Continent

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 21, 2017

(At the end of my younger brother’s first semester away at college, he sends word that he has extended an invitation to an acquaintance at school to spend the holidays with our family because they cannot travel home for winter break. The person in question is a young man from Uganda. [Guest] has a couple things to wrap up after finals, so my brother is already home, but he drives back to his university to pick [Guest] up, and I go with him. I think my brother and [Guest] know each other already, but I sit in the back of my brother’s car listening to him getting to know this Ugandan international student for what seems like the first time. I make no qualms over my brother’s lack of social skills or etiquette. He’s no bigot, just a sad combination of clueless and uncouth. Thankfully, [Guest] is one of the most patient, gracious, and funny people I’ve ever met.)

Brother: “So, what country in Africa are you from?”

Guest: “Uganda. It is right on the equator.”

Brother: “Wow. So, it’s hot, huh?”

Guest: “Yes. So hot. This weather here is unbearable!”

Brother: “Like, hot enough to cook an egg on a rock or something?”

Guest: “No, man, meat. Just whole steaks, right there on the rock. Well-done in seconds.”

Brother: “Wow, really?”

Guest: “Oh, yeah. That hot.”

Brother: “So, did you grow up in a hut?”

Guest: “No, I sleep under the stars with a log pillow, next to the lions.”

Brother: “Oh, wow! Next to lions?!”

([Guest] cut him loose at that point and explained that his home city, Kampala, is a very normal, western-looking city with tall buildings and traffic. The rest of his stay with our family was awesome because the guy was laugh-out-loud hysterical in nearly everything he talked about, and I’ve always regretted not staying in touch with him all these years later.)

Thrifty With Love

, , , , , , , | Romantic | November 19, 2017

(My older sister and I have finished shopping at a thrift store and are waiting in line to check out. There are lots of families in the store, and soon there is an announcement over the store’s PA system.)

Store PA: “For safety reasons, children cannot be left unattended in the store. Please make sure your children are with you at all times.”

(While we wait, I’ve decided to look at the jewelry displays on the other side of the register counters. I am gone for maybe a minute, but out of the corner of my eye I notice my sister is already talking to someone, which isn’t that unusual, given how outgoing she is. She’s in her mid-20s and is talking with a man who looks to be in his 40s. When I return, I do not expect to hear the following.)

Random Man: “It’s important to keep up with the trends to look presentable. I have thousand-dollar suits, but this was too good a deal to pass up. I mean, eight dollars?” *holds up old-looking, yellow-ish and tan blazer* “One time, it was raining and I didn’t want to ruin my fancy shoes, so I wore grungy shoes—”

Sister: “And you brought the other pair to change into?”

Random Man: “No. But wearing those shoes turned out to be a mistake.”

(I’ve been silent, trying to figure out why she’s talking to him about work clothes. She suddenly turns to me.)

Sister: *in a louder, more excited voice* “I’m thinking about going back and buying that Super Truck video game.”

Me: *groaning* “Please, no. That game looked so stupid.”

Sister: *continues pointedly talking to only me* “Nah, it looked fun!”

(I get the feeling she’s trying to avoid talking to the man again, and we continue to chatter about video games until we reach the register. We pay quickly and dash out the door before he can follow us.)

Me: *Incredulous* “Was that man in a thrift store trying to hit on you by saying he has thousand-dollar suits?!”

Sister: “Yeah! I don’t know how I get all these random guys hitting on me! He was definitely way older than me and not that attractive. He just started talking about how he was going to get [the blazer] tailored.”

Me: *joking* “I should have known better. They clearly said not to leave your children unattended in the store, for safety reasons.”

Sister: *also joking* “Yeah, this is all your fault.”

Sweeter Than The Candy

, , , , , | Friendly | November 19, 2017

(It’s Halloween and I’ve just answered the door to find a young child, no more than four, dressed in white with blood splatters and with their face painted white. The child’s mum is dressed up with some scary makeup, and the dad has painted bones down his arm like a skeleton. Halloween has only become a celebration in recent years in Australia, so this is a pretty impressive effort.)

Me: *squatting down to the kid’s level* “Hey there! Aw, look at you!”

Kid: *with hand actions* “RAWR.”

Me: “Woah, scary!”

Kid: *looking really worried* “I’m not really scary!”

Me: “Oh, good! Would you like some candy?”

Kid: “Yes, please.”

Me: “You can take extra, too.”

Kid: “THANK YOU!”

(This little kid made my day! They were so cute!)

Taking A Big Bite Out Of Your Parenting

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 18, 2017

(I am kneeling in a bookstore looking for a particular book, and there is a mother with a toddler nearby. The mother is absorbed in her book. Suddenly her toddler runs up to me, then grabs and BITES DOWN ON MY BOOB — and I feel teeth!)

Me: *yelps* “What the f***?!”

Mother: *whips her head around like Linda Blair, glaring at me* “Excuse me! Don’t swear in front of my kid!”

Me: “Your kid just bit me!” *I stand up and gesture where he bit me*

Mother: “Oh, he must’ve been hungry.”

Me: “What? That’s not okay!”

Employee: *investigating the commotion* “What’s going on? Is everything okay?”

Me: “I—”

Mother: “It’s nothing really; she’s overreacting. Some people just can’t handle children.”

(With that, she picks up her kid and walks off like it was nothing. I explain to the employee what happened.)

Employee: “Oh… uh… Do you need—” *he gestures, clearly flustered* “—I mean, are you—”

Me: “It’s fine. Just… I’ll be going.”

(I never ran into that woman or her kid again, but since then I’ve been very wary of toddlers that aren’t being watched closely — once bitten, twice shy, I guess!)

Passenger Alert

, , , , , | Friendly | November 16, 2017

(I am heading home on a packed train that requires you to pay your fare by inserting a ticket into a turnstile before getting on. [Passenger #1] gets on, stays near the door, and begins obviously looking around for something, but nobody knows what. This is not a big deal, though; the doors close, and the train gets moving.)

Passenger #1: “Does anybody have $40? Does anybody have $40? I need $40! Does anybody have $40? I need to get home! I can’t afford the bus! It’s only a short trip!”

([Passenger #2] quietly shakes their head and rolls their eyes, refusing to make eye contact with her.)

Passenger #1: “Come on, guys! Somebody has money! You, in the suit! I know you have $40! I need $40 to get home on the bus, or I will be sleeping on the streets tonight!”

Passenger #3: “Ma’am, I don’t have cash on hand, and besides, the bus fare is about $7 at most for one trip.”

Passenger #1: “No! You are lying to me! I need $40 to pay for the bus! You, with the nice jacket! I am broke! I have no money on me and I need to go home! I only need one trip!”

([Passenger #4] puts her head down and laser-focuses on her phone.)

Passenger #1: “Nobody cares, huh!? Everybody’s so wrapped up in themselves that they cannot spare an old lady some change so she can go home to her family! Fine, I need $20! $20 is the bare minimum I need to get home! Oh, come on! Nobody?! Nobody is generous! Nobody is listening! Nobody cares at all!”

(At this point, the train stops and [Passenger #1] immediately stops her rant and tries to look inconspicuous as the doors open to let new passengers on. Not many can get on or off though, and the train is quickly moving along on its schedule.)

Passenger #1: “God, do I even exist to you people!? If I were drunk, dirty, and homeless, all of you would have given me $40! You would give all the money in the world to hopeless bums that contribute nothing to society, but not for an old lady like me with a home, job, family, and future! How do you live with yourself? Do you want me to sleep on the streets with those drunks tonight? Fine! $10! $10 from at least two of you people is all I need! Hello?! Nobody?! Not even $10?! You would give $10 to me if I were drunk, dirty, and homeless! And those bums wouldn’t even use that money to pay for the bus; they’re just looking to get drugs! I would use it for a bus fare because I have a home to go to!”

(The train stops at a popular stop, and one that I am getting off at, as well. Most of the passengers file out while others wait to get on, which [Passenger #1] takes note of and gets off of the train.)

Passenger #1: “Last chance! The people on this train are selfish and cruel!”

Passenger #5: “Ma’am, is everything all right? Do you need help?”

Passenger #1: “No! Nobody will give me $40 for the bus so I can go home!”

Passenger #5: *taken aback* “Um… Sorry, I can’t help you with that. Bus fare for a one-way trip is $7, if that helps.” *moves away from [Passenger #1]*

Passenger #1: *shoots [Passenger #5] a glare and storms off*

(It was the weirdest thing. I later witnessed her getting into a screaming match with a young adult passenger in the station’s hallway. The young adult passenger shouted that she was fed up with [Passenger #1] begging for money when nobody wanted to give it, and also that she was fed up with her being a terrible liar and having the gall to insult people who contribute more to society than she ever would. [Passenger #1] screamed over her to complain about how awful the new generation is because the young adult wouldn’t give her money. I decided to stay out of it, and when I informed a security guy nearby, he just rolled his eyes, said he was keeping an eye on it, but also said something along the lines of, “Just let her get what I’m surprised she didn’t get weeks ago, and don’t get involved,” in reference to [Passenger #1]. I hope that [Passenger #1] and the young adult’s screaming match didn’t escalate into a physical fight!)

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