Entitlement Will Get You Bit

, , , , , , | Friendly | October 4, 2018

(While my enormously large mountain dog looks like an actual teddy bear and is extremely gentle and well-behaved, he likes his personal space and doesn’t care for strangers’ attention. Therefore, I never take him to public places if I can avoid it. On this day, however, I am forced to take a two-hour train ride with him. In an effort to get strangers to keep their distance, I dress my dog in his custom yellow harness that has the words, “DO NOT TOUCH,” written on it in large black letters. Besides that, he has a yellow ribbon – international symbol for “I need space” – tied to his leash. At the train station, we wait calmly in the furthest corner of the platform until the coast is clear. As we make our way toward the pet car, I see faces in a different car pressed against the window, staring at us. I ignore it, get in, and find our designated seats: a normal aisle seat for me, and a low platform where the window seat would normally be for the dog. I spread the dog’s blanket on his seat, and he settles down with his head on my lap. I casually stroke his ears, and as I wait for the ticket inspector, I rest my eyes for a moment. Out of nowhere, I feel air move around me, and the warm weight of my dog’s head on my lap is suddenly gone. I open my eyes to see a mother with two young children, one of who is eagerly trying to reach the dog over my lap.)

Me: *blocking the access to the dog much as I can with my body* “Whoa, hey! Don’t do that.”

Strange Mother: “My kids want to pet the dog.”

Me: “Sorry, he doesn’t like to be touched by str—”

Strange Mother: *scoffs* “That’s not true. I saw you petting him just now.”

Me: “As I was saying, he doesn’t like to be approached or touched by strangers. I’m sure you can see the large text on his harness and that he has pulled as far away from you as possible.”

Strange Mother: “Nonsense. All dogs like to be petted. I don’t understand why you’re being like this. My kids have a long trip ahead of them! Just let them pet the dog already!”

Me: *thinking to myself, “Are you for real?!” but trying to avoid a conflict and making a scene* “He does not want strangers to touch him. Many dogs don’t. I’m afraid you’ll need to find something else to do to pass the time.”

Strange Child: “Muuuuum, I want to cuddle the doggy!”

Me: “Sorry, sweetie, you can’t.”

Strange Mother: ”Yes, you can. Just call for the dog like this.”

(The mother suddenly lunges at my dog, almost punching me in the process, and starts going, “Here, doggy, doggy,” aggressively at him. The dog lets out a startled growl. The mother shrieks and jumps back. Her children start crying. Everyone is now staring at us.)

Me: *in complete disbelief* “What the h*** are you doing?”

Strange Mother: “The dog tried to bite me!”

Me: “He certainly did not.”

Strange Mother: “Liar! That dog is vicious! How could you bring such a beast on public transport?!”

Me: *getting mad despite myself* “Are you kidding me? The dog was minding his own business when you came here, all entitled, acting like he is some toy for your kids to play with. I asked you way more nicely than you deserved to leave him be. You basically assaulted us both, and now you think you’re the victim because you got growled at? Most other dogs would have taken a bite out of you for doing something that stupid!”

Strange Mother: “You can’t talk to me like that!”

Me: “I can, and I will. You need to leave.”

(The mother threw a few insults at me, and then finally grabbed her wailing children and left the car. It took a good ten minutes of distractions and several treats for my dog to stop panting anxiously and to calm down, but thankfully the rest of our journey was uneventful. I’d had my share of people overly eager to pet my dog before, but never someone who wouldn’t take a polite no for an answer. Even though my dog seems unscarred by the incident, these days I am even more reluctant to take him out in public. The thing that gets me the most about the whole thing, though, is the idea that a mother would insist on letting her small children approach a large, unfamiliar dog when specifically warned the dog was not friendly.)

Something To Beer-ate You On

, , , | Right | August 31, 2018

(I sell coffee, cookies, and other assorted foods and drinks on trains. My colleagues also sell beer, but since I’m underage, I am not allowed to. A customer gestures to an empty half-litre can of beer, and asks for another.)

Me: “Sorry, sir, but I am not allowed to carry alcohol in public locations, being under-aged.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous! A colleague of yours also wouldn’t sell me any beer because they were Muslim. What sense does that make?”

Me: “I’m sorry that you feel this way, sir, but you shouldn’t judge someone for their religious beliefs, I think.”

Customer: “I’m not judging them, but I mean, what are you doing with your life if you’re thirty and won’t even sell someone a beer?”

Me: “Sir, look at it this way. I won’t sell you alcohol because of my age; my colleague won’t sell you alcohol because of their religion. It’s nearly the same.”

(The customer accepted defeat and waves me off. What I’m wondering is how someone could judge another when they themselves need three-quarters of a litre of a beer before four pm?)

Beer The Change You Want To See In The World

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 13, 2018

(I’m sitting at the very front of a train when a homeless man carrying an open beer can approaches me.)

Homeless Man: “Excuse me, mate. Can you spare some change?”

Me: “I’m afraid not, sorry.”

(I can, but I don’t tell him that. He goes down the carriage, asking everyone, then goes into the next one. Half an hour later, the train is reaching its end and I’m the only one in the carriage. He returns and walks straight into the wall at the end without breaking his stride. He looks at it for a minute as if he can’t quite process it, then he looks at me.)

Homeless Man: “So, how are you, then? What’ve you been up to tonight?”

(Not wanting to agitate him, I chat to him for a few minutes, whilst making sure to stay in CCTV view.)

Homeless Man: “So, I’ve been friendly, and I’ve given you some nice company. And I know you’ve got some change on you, so could you help me out?”

Me: “I really can’t.”

Homeless Man: “Why won’t you help a homeless guy? I’m just trying to find a place to sleep!”

Me: “I make regular donations to homeless charities; they all say if I give you money, it’s just going to keep you on the street. You need to seek professional help.”

Homeless Man: “But I’m not on the drugs, or the booze, or anything!”

Me: “I’ll help you out by giving you a tip. Maybe tell people that when you don’t have a beer can in your hand. I’d love to believe you, but I can’t right now.”

(He sulked and wandered off.)

So Many Wasted Vacant Opportunities

, , , , , | Friendly | August 3, 2018

(My boyfriend and I are having a ride on a steam train. There is a group of other passengers at the other end of the carriage, talking quite loudly so we can hear what they are saying, but otherwise not being disruptive. One young lady from the group, in her early twenties, goes to use the toilet and a few minutes later comes back to her seat.)

Young Lady: “Oh, my God. I, like, just realised something! I always thought ‘vacant’ meant ‘engaged,’ but when I went into the toilet, I noticed it said, ‘vacant,’ and I could, like, walk in!”

(My boyfriend and I just raised eyebrows at each other as we tried not to laugh!)

An Armless Way To Get A Train

, , , | Right | August 2, 2018

(I’m on the train home. We are stopped at a station when the following announcement is made on the speakers:)

Announcement: “Just a note: trains are not busses. If you hold your arm out as the train approaches the platform, you will end up with a broken arm. Just a note…”

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