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If You’re Going To Use Your Heart, You Also Have To Use Your Head

, , , , , | Romantic | December 23, 2021

My ex-boyfriend lived in Vancouver, Canada, and I had a long-distance relationship with him. On my first visit, my ex decided that we would go from the suburbs where he lived into the main city to spend the day.

We planned well in advance, we brought cash for spending money, we and took public transport. I did enjoy seeing the sights, visiting the CF Pacific Centre (the largest mall), and wandering. But I kept a sharp eye on my money, tucking away the change so that it could be put toward train tickets back to his house. Since the ticket systems didn’t give change, it was wisest to save all the coins to try to get exact change for a ticket, or else we’d lose out on whatever wasn’t perfect.

At the end of the day, we were done and headed back toward the train station. It was at this point that a man approached to beg for change. 

My ex, in a stroke of too much generosity, delved into his pockets and gave the beggar all of his change. After we moved on:

Me: “What were you thinking?!”

He went on a monologue about needing to be generous and to help those in need.

Me: “I don’t mind helping those in need, but we were supposed to be using that change to get home. The change I have is perfect for a single ticket. The rest of what I have is in tens and twenties; we’ll lose money if we use them.”

My ex blew it off with a lot of dismissive hand-waving, shoved his hand into his pockets, and realized how badly he had just messed up. Muttering a lot of uh-ohs and oopses, he proceeded to delve into each and every one of his pockets, until he realized that he had no money left at all! He had spent the last of his cash on dinner, and he had just given away all of his Toonies ($2 coin), Loonies ($1 coin), and change to the beggar.

Now we were stuck in a big city, tired, and all the banks were closed for the day.

In the end, we had to go to a fast food chain and ask if they were willing to break one of my bigger bills. Thankfully, they were willing, so I bought something small so the register would open and got us the change we needed.

My ex was very subdued on the trip home.

O, Canaduh, Part 13

, , , , , , , | Related | October 13, 2021

My family is Canadian, but my brother moved to the States for work and has an American girlfriend. Everyone in the family likes her very much, but she sometimes gives the impression that she’s worried about fitting in and getting along with us.

It’s a couple of days after the 2021 Canadian federal election. I’m on a video call with my brother, and I tell him a joke. His girlfriend hears him laughing and comes in.

Girlfriend: “What’s so funny?”

Me: “Oh, just a stupid joke about the election.”

Girlfriend: “Oh? Can I hear it?”

Brother: “It’s, uh, very Canadian. I don’t know if you’d think it was funny.”

Girlfriend: “Oh, come on. I wanna hear it! I bet it’s great!”

Me: “Um, okay. What’s the difference between [Politician] and a toilet?”

Girlfriend: “I don’t know.”

Me: “A toilet has a seat.”

Girlfriend: “I… Oh. Um.”

Me: “Because, uh, [Politician] is a real scumbag and he’s a party leader, but he didn’t get elected in his riding, so he doesn’t have a seat in the House of Commons.”

[Girlfriend] is wearing the expression of someone desperately pretending that she both understands and cares.

Me: “Anyway, it’s a very silly joke. How are you, [Girlfriend]?”

I hope my brother later told her she doesn’t have to pretend to care about Canadian politics to impress anyone, since if she’s not interested, I can’t think of a bigger waste of her time.

Related:
O, Canaduh, Part 12
O, Canaduh, Part 11
O, Canaduh, Part 10
O, Canaduh, Part 9
O, Canaduh, Part 8

Every Swirl Remembers Their First Time

, , , , , | Right | October 11, 2021

Unemployed and bored, I head to a movie theatre for an afternoon matinee. The place is very quiet as I walk up to the theatre’s frozen yogurt counter where there is a rather nervous teenage girl at the till and an older man back there near her.

Me: “Hi there. Can I get [regular swirl]?”

Cashier: “Certainly.”

She carefully pecks at the till, then tells me my total, takes my money, and turns to the man.

Cashier: “She wants a [regular swirl].”

Man: “Okay.”

He looks at her expectantly.

Cashier: “I’m not ready!”

She wails and the man looks at me.

Man: “Sorry, it’s her first real day here.”

He grabs for the cup and I call out.

Me: “No! I want her to do it.”

They both look at me in a bit of fear because I am a bit emphatic, but I continue. I look at the trainee.

Me: “Listen, you’re going to have to start doing this at some point.”

The fear in her eyes is adorable.

Me: “Why not start now?”

Cashier: “I don’t know how.”

I look over at the man.

Man: *Encouragingly* “Come on. Yes, you do.”

Me: “Come on. Whatever you manage, I’ll take it; no complaints. You gotta do it sometime.”

There was unbridled terror as she took the cup from the man and held it under the spout. The creation took forever and came out like a mangled pyramid, but it was what I wanted — if not a bit more than I wanted. She turned with embarrassment at her offering, but I took it, thanked her, and headed into my movie.

Everyone has a first day, and I figured she’d have to get into the meat of the job sooner rather than later. It’s probably best with someone more accepting and forgiving than most I see on NAR.

Driving Away The Bad Passengers

, , , , , , | Right | August 24, 2021

I’m sitting on a bus, in a seat near the middle. It’s at the very beginning of its route, so it hasn’t left the transit loop yet. The only other passenger is an older white man who’s dishevelled and stinks of beer, sitting near the front.

A young, pretty Asian woman gets on and sits down a few seats away from the man. She takes out her phone and starts looking at it, and the man swivels in his seat and leers at her.

Passenger: “Hey, girlie!”

I can’t see her face from where I am, but I can see her shoulders tighten and she holds her phone higher.

Passenger: “Hey! D’ya speak English? You wanna learn some? I’ll teach ya! Come sit next to me!”

I’m wondering what I should do, when the bus driver calls from his seat.

Driver: “Sir, please do not bother the other passengers.”

Passenger: “Mind your own business.”

The driver gets up and stands in front of the man. 

Driver: “Sir, the safety and comfort of the passengers is my business.”

The man starts laughing. 

Passenger: “What, you want her for yourself, huh? What, you think she’d be interested in you, you [racial slur]?”

This statement is so outrageous that I actually snort. Even apart from the racism, the driver is a quite handsome young man, tall and athletic; his uniform and turban are clean and neat, and his beard is well-groomed. The contrast between him and the slovenly, drunken older man couldn’t be starker.

Driver: “I must ask you to get off the bus now.”

I’m briefly worried that the man will get even more belligerent, but in the face of direct confrontation, he backs down and gets off, still grumbling. While he’s getting off, I move to sit across the aisle from the woman.

Me: “Are you all right?”

Although she’s obviously very embarrassed, she nods, and then she looks at the driver.

Woman: “Thank you. I was a little afraid.”

Driver: “No problem, miss. Besides, if my mother and my wife found out I let a man talk to a woman like that, they would never let me hear the end of it.”

The Teacher Did Not See That Coming

, , , , , , | Learning | July 3, 2021

My family moved from a small, traditional island community to a bustling city when I was really young because my parents were offered an opportunity they couldn’t afford to miss. This meant changing schools, meeting new friends, etc.

It is the first day of secondary school for my older brother, and he is nervous, to say the least. His name is Natsei, pronounced “Nat-say,” but everyone calls him “Nat” or “Nats” to avoid the obvious. He is in his first class of the day, English, where the teacher is doing attendance.

Teacher: “Erm… Mr. [Our Last Name]?”

Brother: *Raises his hand* “Here.”

Teacher: “Could I ask, how do you pronounce your name?”

Brother: “You can call me Nat; a lot of people do to avoid what I know you’re thinking about.”

Teacher: “For future reference, however, how do you pronounce your name?”

Brother: “Nat-Say.”

Teacher: “I bet your parents didn’t think that one through, did they?”

Brother: “Considering that it’s a traditional name handed down through my family, I would say they did.”

The teacher ended up calling him by our last name for the rest of his time in school.