Language Is Fluid

, , , , , | Healthy | August 20, 2019

Some years ago I had gastric bypass surgery. During the aftercare, I had appointments with a dietician at the hospital where I had the surgery. As a preparation for these visits, I had to fill out an inquiry. One of the questions regarded alcohol.

Did I drink less alcohol than before the surgery, the same or more?

Well, that looks like a straightforward question, but I couldn’t answer it truthfully. Because I do not drink, and is no alcohol the same or less? It can’t be more, but is it the same or less? The same implies some alcohol consumption, as does less. 

I added an extra line to the inquiry and simply stated that I do not drink alcohol. Ever.

The dietician went nuts. She berated me for 50 minutes for “my excessive alcohol consumption” as I hadn’t picked the only acceptable answer — less. “None” wasn’t a viable answer as it wasn’t included in the inquiry. I asked her to add to my chart that I do not drink. I asked if we could please continue with discussing my diet as I do not drink. She had worked herself into a frenzy and just kept screaming. Wonderful to travel six hours for a useless meeting with someone not listening at all.

Anyway, the next meeting was six months later, with another dietician. And the same inquiry to prepare. Once again, I answered that I never drink.

This dietician was even more aggressive. She rushed out during the meeting to get a colleague so they could scream at me together. While she was out I grabbed a paper and wrote on it in big letters, “I NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL.”

It didn’t help. They still couldn’t grasp that it is possible to not consume alcohol. I asked them to test my blood alcohol level and do whatever testing they wanted as my liver should be in prime condition. Because I did not f****** drink alcohol. And I still don’t. 

Maybe I just should have picked the option of “drinking less” on the inquiry, but… I’m a language teacher. Nuances are important. “Less” is not the same as “none” or “nothing.”


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Free-Range Kids

, , , , , , | Friendly | July 8, 2019

(My mother can definitely be described as cheeky, but she does have her heart in the right place, and she hates bullying and strong people picking on the weak. This happens in her late teens, in the early 80s. My mother sits on a bus, close to an older woman with her leg in a cast. A younger boy — around three or four years old — and his mother step onto the bus and take the seats opposite the older women. The young boy starts kicking his legs, each kick lands on the cast of the older women.)

Old Woman: “Dear, could you please stop doing that? Do you see this cast? I fell and hurt my foot, so when you kick the cast, it hurts.”

(The little boy ignores the woman and keeps kicking.)

Old Woman: *turns to the mother* “Excuse me. Can you make your child stop kicking my cast?”

Boy’s Mother: *turns her nose in the air* “Absolutely not! I believe in a free upbringing.”

(My mother’s blood starts to boil at this point. As the bus is closing in on her stop, she gets up from her seat and taps on the shoulder of the boy’s mother. She looks up, and my mother spits her right in the face.)

My Mother: “I could not help myself… I was raised with a free upbringing.”

(And before anyone had time to react, she got off of the bus.)

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Grandchildren Grow On You, Like Fungus

, , , | Related | July 4, 2019

(I’m taking the bus to my workplace. Behind me are a grandmother and her grandchild, doing a crossword puzzle clearly intended for children. The kid is not nearly as interested as the grandmother seems to be.)

Grandmother: “All right, let’s see here. Three letters, ‘part of your foot.’ What do you think that could be?”

Kid: “I don’t know.”

Grandmother: “Come on. It’s fun! The clue is part… of… your… foot.”

Kid: “I… don’t… know.”

Grandmother: “Just take a guess! Here, look: what’s on Grandma’s foot right here?” *clearly indicating her toes*

Kid: *pause* “Fungus?”

(She quickly put down the crossword puzzle after that and said nothing else during the rest of the trip.)

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This Job Is Not Her Calling

, , , , | Working | June 26, 2019

I worked as a manager at a movie theatre and we hired a new girl to concession who seemed okay at first. Eventually, we learned that she tried to pretend she knew more than she did about the work and lied when caught. Whenever she had a question she would go to the head manager rather than us regular managers, causing annoyance. She also tried to play the managers against each other, claiming one of us had told her things which had not happened, etc. Unlucky for her, all of us were good friends with great communication, so whenever she said something, we called and double checked, even if the person was off from work.

We also learnt that she lied to customers whenever she did not know things rather than ask for help, causing annoyance and anger from the customers when they found out the truth. We two clashed repeatedly and every time we had a shift together there were conflicts.

The final straw was one Sunday when we were going to have an all-kids day, with half-price movie tickets for all the kids’ movies. It’s one of the busiest days of the year with full theatres non-stop from open until close. Everyone scheduled in the morning was going to start at half-past eight. At ten to nine, the new girl had still not shown up, so I called her asking where she was.

She answered very sleepily and claimed to be sick and said she had called the head manager about it around seven am. The head manager or office is who you call in sick to during the weekdays; on weekends you call the manager of the day on their cellphones as no one is in the office. I said I found it weird she had not called me and also noted that the head manager had not called me about her being sick, either, thus not giving me the opportunity to try and find a replacement in time. The girl confessed that the head manager had not answered the phone but she had left her a text. She also said she had called the office, saying she did not know no one was there this time of the morning on a Sunday which I knew was a lie.

Trying not to panic, knowing what lay ahead, I failed to get someone to cover her shift but managed to get a couple of people who were scheduled later to come in earlier. We took a huge toll the first couple of hours, being understaffed, and the stress showed in everyone’s faces. We had to cancel a couple of introductions and games, as well as breaks, and focus on concessions and cleaning.

Around 11 am, the head manager called. She had talked to the girl and wanted to confirm with me. Not only had the girl said she had tried to reach me but failed before calling the head manager, she claimed again to have called the office, forgetting about it being empty. The head manager also said she had received the text around 8:40. She had no missed calls.

Half an hour later, an office manager walked into the theatre, having learnt what was going on. She went into the office and looked at the call logs on the phone. The girl had been telling the truth about calling the office… only the logs said she had called one time after nine, a couple of minutes after my call to her had ended.

For some reason, she still had a job afterward, but every time she and I had a shift together, she found some reason to change it, meaning I never worked with her again. Eventually, she quit on her own. I have met her a few times afterward and every time she acts like I’m some long lost friend she hasn’t seen in ages and is super nice. I’m having a hard time refraining from punching her in the face.

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Locked Into A Crazy Request

, , , | Right | June 20, 2019

(I work the front desk in a hotel located just outside of Stockholm. Our neighbouring hotel is of the same company and located just across the bay from us — you can easily see it from front desk — next to the ferries. During Christmas and New Year, they close down because of the low season and we answer their phone. This, of course, leads to many confusing conversations.)

Me: *answering the phone* “Hello, and welcome to [Hotel Brand and Location]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, hello! I am about to board the ferry and I think I’ve forgotten to lock my car in the parking lot!”

Me: “Okay? I’m not sure what you would like me to do about that.”

Caller: “Well, the check-in for the ferry closes in five minutes so I don’t have time to go check my car, and I’ll be gone for five days!”

Me: “Yes, okay, well, I assume you meant to call [Neighbour Hotel], as they are located next to the ferries? Is that right?”

Caller: “Yes. Why? Who are you?”

Me: “Well, the hotel is closed during Christmas and New Year and won’t open until the 5th of January, so I am afraid there is no one at the hotel. I am at [Hotel on the other side of the bay].”

Caller: “BUT MY CAR!”

Me: “I really can’t help you, sir. I am nowhere near your car, and I am also alone at my hotel so I couldn’t leave if I was.”

Caller: “Someone has to check my car!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but there is nothing I can do to help you with your car, and I highly doubt that, had the hotel been open, they would have been able to do much, either, as they can’t get into the ferries’ parking lot without authorization.”

Caller: “BUT MY CAR! I’ll be gone for five days!”

Me: “Well, maybe you should talk to the check-in clerks at the ferry instead of arguing with me if time is of the essence.”

Caller: “This is horrible service!”

Me: “Well, you haven’t actually paid for any service with our company, so…”

Caller: “MY CAR!”

Me: “I’m going to hang up now. Good luck!”

(He kept screeching as I hung up the phone. Maybe next time remember to lock your car?)

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