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Most Moms WANT Their Kids To Build Character

, , , , , , | Related | September 16, 2021

I was deployed to Louisiana as a volunteer disaster responder after Hurricane Katrina. The damage was so great, and the media coverage so thorough, that an unprecedented number of people volunteered for the first time to come down south and help out.

My job at the time was shuttle driver; I ferried volunteers and their luggage back and forth from the headquarters building and the local airport. Quite late one evening, I was called to pick up a young college student whose flight had just arrived.

When I got to the airport, she was standing next to an older woman who, as it turned out, was her mother. This woman got in a car and followed us to the HQ, followed us INTO the HQ, and then tagged after us while I signed in the new volunteer and showed her where she would be sleeping.  

Mom took one look at the sleeping room — three rows of snoring volunteers on rickety cots or on blankets on the floor — and hit the roof.

Mom: *Hissing* “You are not staying here!”

She grabbed her daughter by the arm and frog-marched her back out to the car.

This woman — upon learning that her lovely child had signed up to do relief work — had driven down to Louisiana from Ohio in her car, timing it so that she could meet her daughter’s plane and check us out.

I guess we didn’t pass muster. I felt so sorry for the girl; I wonder if she ever managed to get out from under Mom’s thumb.

Enough To Make You MADD

, , , , | Learning | September 10, 2021

While in college, every Saturday, I volunteered for a program working with special needs kids that could also double as a one-credit class, though I was just there for the kids, not the credit. We would get thirty minutes of “class,” teaching us stuff about working with special needs kids. Then, the kids would arrive, and we were each paired up with one child for two hours of play and lessons.

One day, while I waited for the class to start up, I was speaking with one of the other volunteers about my first experiences volunteering with special needs kids.

Me: “Since I was new to it all, they paired me up with the easiest child they had to watch, a kid with ADHD who wasn’t even all that hyperactive. But I’m ADD myself, so I couldn’t help but feel they had a ‘blind leading the blind’ situation going on, you know?”

Volunteer: “Wait, you’re ADD?”

Me: “Yeah, technically ADHD/inattentive variant, but it’s easier to just say ADD.”

Volunteer: “Wow. I wouldn’t have guessed you were ADD. You don’t seem desperate to get attention at all!”

Me: “Umm, I really don’t think you understand what ADHD is.”

I explained what ADHD was to him, but his comments made it clear that he honestly thought that the hyperactivity of ADHD was nothing more than attention-seeking from someone clinically diagnosed as so desperate for attention that they needed to act out to get it.  

I was sorely tempted to suggest he may want to consider repeating the class we were in next year, since he could use some more remedial training in special needs.

Their Relationship Must Be Deafeningly Quiet

, , , , | Right | July 30, 2021

I am part of a group that does volunteer work. We had an event coming up, and for the first time, I was calling members to ask them to help out. It went really well until I tried to call this one guy. A woman picks up the phone.

Woman: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi. I am [My Name] from [Volunteer Group]. May I please speak with [Man]?”

Woman: “What?”

Me: *Slightly louder* “Umm, hello! I am [My Name] from [Volunteer Group]. May I please speak with [Man]?”

Woman: *Calling out LOUDLY* “[Man]! Someone’s on the phone for you!”

Man: *Distant but still loud* “WHAT?!”

Woman: “Someone’s on the phone!”

Man: “WHAT?!”

Woman: “THE PHONE!”

Man: “WHO IS IT?”

Woman: “It’s someone from [Volunteer Group]!”

Man: “WHAT?!”

Woman: “PUT YOUR HEARING AIDS IN!”

Man: “THEY ARE IN! WHAT IS IT?”

Woman: “Come answer the phone!”

Man: “WHAT?!”

They went back and forth like this for several more minutes, getting louder and louder, arguing among other things about HER needing hearing aids, too. I finally just gave up and moved on to the next volunteer.

I mentioned this at our next meeting and everyone acknowledged this couple are both quite hard of hearing and don’t like to admit it.

Do You Know What “Volunteer” Means?

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 3, 2021

I used to take part in clinical trials for a little extra cash. The trials were easy; they usually involved visiting the clinic for about an hour a day over a week, testing different lotions on our legs to see how well they moisturized. Everyone who participated had to fill out a form at the very beginning. Apart from the usual disclaimers, it said that we were volunteers and we would be paid a certain amount of money for our time. As far as I was concerned, I was being paid grocery money to do next to nothing, and I was glad for the opportunity.

One day, about halfway through the trial, one of the other participants suddenly spoke up.

Participant: *Loudly* “You know what I just realized? We’re only being paid [total] for [time] hours. That’s not even minimum wage!”

She looked around the room with a self-satisfied expression, obviously expecting us to agree with her. No one said anything. In fact, we all pretty much pretended that we hadn’t heard her. Irritated by the lack of response, she said:

Participant: *Even more loudly* “They’re taking advantage of us! We should ask for more money!”

Along came a clinic employee, and I inwardly cringed. I’d done several of these trials, and I’d seen this lady before. She had NO tolerance for fools.

Employee: “I understand that you have a complaint?”

Participant: “Uh… Well, you’re not even paying us minimum wage.”

Employee: “That’s right. Remember that form you signed which said that you’re a volunteer? Volunteers, as a rule, don’t get paid, but we are paying you [total].”

Participant: “…”

Employee: “So. Do you still have a complaint?”

Participant: *Meekly* “No.”

Employee: “Good.”

She walked away, and I didn’t hear another peep from that participant.

Don’t Leaf Them Unattended

, , , , , | Working | May 25, 2021

About ten years ago, my mum got involved with one of the local parties, and when the local election rolled around she got involved in delivering their leaflets. Predictably, she got my step-sister and me to help. So, out we went, and as teenagers, we got bored and looked to cause some mischief.

We noticed another party had been round earlier and some of their leaflets were still stuck in the letterboxes along our route, so we came up with a competition to keep us entertained: who could grab the most of the other party’s leaflets out of the letterboxes? It kept us entertained until we finished our piles of leaflets and we headed home.

Of course, my mum saw us carrying the other leaflets and gave a lecture about democracy, blah, blah, blah.

A couple of days later at the victory party, my mum was talking to the local councillor and she told him this story. He laughed and said, “Your girls have a better idea of how democracy works than you do.”