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My Coworker, The Kindergartener

, , , , , | Working | September 30, 2022

I’m at my department’s weekly meeting.

Boss: “Just a reminder that next week is the quarterly status update meeting for all employees.”  

We all groan.

Annoying Coworker: “I don’t wanna.”

[Annoying Coworker] is in her late fifties, but she acts like a kid sometimes. She apparently thinks this behaviour is cute. It’s not.

Boss: “Yes, yes, I know, those meetings are boring and mostly pointless. But we all have to attend unless you have a really good reason for missing it.”

Annoying Coworker: *Pouts* “I don’t wanna!”

Me: “[Boss], I won’t be able to attend.”

Boss: “Ah, yes, that’s right. No problem, [My Name].”

Annoying Coworker:Hey! How come [My Name] doesn’t have to go?”

Boss: “Because—”

Annoying Coworker: “No fair! If she doesn’t have to go, I’m not going, either!”

Boss: “[My Name] is going to be out of town starting Monday. Are you going to be out of town?”

Annoying Coworker: “…”

She glared daggers at me for the rest of the meeting. I resisted the temptation to stick out my tongue; one overgrown kid in the department is already one too many.

So Much For “Anti-Bullying”

, , , , , | Working | June 1, 2022

I used to be the Social Committee representative for my department. The committee had organized a day on which everyone in the company would wear a pink T-shirt to support a nationwide anti-bullying campaign, and the president of the committee decided that it would be a good idea for every department to get a photo taken for the company newsletter.

Social Committee President: “I’m leaving it up to each rep to make sure that as many people as possible are included in their department’s photo. That means sending out an email in the morning and then going around to everyone’s desk shortly before your department’s appointment time and reminding them.”

So, on the morning of the picture-taking, I sent out an email. Approximately fifteen minutes before our appointment, I went to everyone’s desk as instructed. Most of the people had already left, so it didn’t take me long. I got to the last desk approximately five minutes before the appointment time. Satisfied, I walked over to the elevator so that I could join my department. Just then, the elevator doors opened and a bunch of chattering people emerged, all wearing pink T-shirts.

Me: “What’s going on? Why are you back? Did something go wrong?”

Colleague: “Photo’s done!”

Me: “What? Already? But our appointment isn’t until 2:00, and it’s only five minutes to.”

Colleague: “Yes! Even though it was a bit early, we did a nose count and realized we were all there, so the photographer got it over with.”

Me: “Um… not everyone was there.”

Colleague: “Like who?”

Me: “Like ME.”

Colleague: “Oh. Oops.” *Giggles* “I guess we forgot you.”

It probably sounds very petty, but I was hurt and upset to be left out. My department wasn’t very big, and it wouldn’t have taken much for someone to notice that I was missing — especially since they knew I was the department representative. I’d already had some not-great experiences with the Social Committee, and that was the last straw that convinced me to quit.

Letting You Down Vegan And Again

, , , , , , | Working | April 25, 2022

My daughter was about to turn seventeen. She’d been a vegan for a while, and she’d done a bit of research to find an upscale restaurant for her birthday dinner that had food she could eat.

Daughter: “[Restaurant] has a vegan gnocchi dish that sounds great, but it’s only on the kids’ menu for some reason. I wonder if I could get an adult-sized portion, or a double portion, or something like that.”

Me: “I’ll get hold of the restaurant and ask.”

I emailed the restaurant and got a very nice reply from the owner. She said they’d be happy to do an adult-sized portion of vegan gnocchi. So, we had a plan when we walked in.

Daughter: “I’d like the vegan gnocchi, please, and we were told that you could increase the size of the portion so that it would be for an adult?”

Waitress: “We don’t do that.”

Me: “But… I contacted the owner, and she said that it would be no problem.”

Waitress: “I don’t know what to tell you. We don’t do that.”

Daughter: “Could you just bring me two kid-sized portions, then?”

Waitress: “No.”

Me: *Starting to get angry* “No?! Why on earth not?!”

Daughter: “Mum, it’s fine. I’ll order something else.” *To the waitress* “What else do you have that’s vegan?”

Waitress: “A salad. That’s it.”

Daughter: *Dejectedly* “I’ll have that.”

Me: “Now hold on. It’s your birthday, and you should be getting what you want—”

Daughter: “MUM! It’s okay.”

Me: “Why don’t we go somewhere else?”

Daughter: “NO! I’m fine!”

I should explain here that my daughter sometimes suffers from anxiety, and at the time that this story took place, she had an absolute horror of “causing a scene” or “drawing attention to herself”. If it had been up to me, I would’ve demanded to talk to the owner, but I didn’t want to upset my kid. So, I gritted my teeth, and we had a less-than-satisfying meal.

The following day, I sent off an angry email to the owner, asking what on earth had happened. The reply I got wasn’t what I’d expected.

Owner: “I’m really sorry to hear about your experience at [Restaurant], but it’s probably just as well that your daughter didn’t get the gnocchi. Turns out that it’s not vegan after all.”

Just What Every Shy Person Loves!

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 9, 2022

When my daughter started high school, she went through a friendless phase. All of her friends from elementary school either attended a different high school or decided not to be friends anymore. Because she was very shy and didn’t make new friends easily at the time, she usually spent her lunch breaks eating quickly in the cafeteria and then reading in the library.

One day, her teacher approached her.

Teacher: “I see you spending every lunch hour alone. It’s not right.”

Daughter: “I don’t mind…”

Teacher: “No, it’s not healthy for a young girl like you to not have any friends, so I’m going to help.”

Daughter: *Alarmed* “Please don’t! I’m fine.”

Teacher: *Not listening* “I’m happy to do it! Starting tomorrow, I’m going to introduce you to some of the other kids. You’ll come out of your shell and will be making friends in no time. All you need is a little push.”

Daughter: “…”

She was very quiet when she got home from school that day. She excused herself to her room after dinner, and I was concerned. When I heard her crying, I knocked on her door and asked what was wrong. After some hesitation, she told me.

Me: “What do you want to happen?”

Daughter: “I want him to leave me alone, but he won’t listen to me.”

Me: “He’ll listen to me. Do you want me to handle it?”

My daughter looked at me with the beginnings of a smile.

Daughter: “Do you promise not to lose your temper?”

I’ve been known to blow my stack in the past, especially when someone I love is upset.

Me: “I swear. I’ll be cool as a cucumber.”

Daughter: “Then yes, please.”

That night, I called the school’s office and left a message asking for [Teacher] to phone me. The next day:

Teacher: “Hello, Mrs. [My Last Name]! I understand that you’re [Daughter]’s mum, and you wanted to talk to me?”

Me: “That’s right. [Daughter] told me about your plans to, as you put it, ‘bring her out of her shell.’”

Teacher: *Happily* “Oh, yes! I’ve done it many times before, and—”

Me: “Let me stop you right there. My kid is fine, and she doesn’t need your help.”

Teacher: “But… she doesn’t have any friends—”

Me: “Not at the moment, no. But she’s more than capable of making them on her own.”

Teacher: “I really think—”

Me: “Mr. [Teacher], I’m sure your heart is in the right place, but your help is neither wanted nor needed. I’m going to ask you politely to back off; otherwise, I’ll escalate this to the principal.”

Teacher: “…”

Me: “Are we good?”

Teacher: “Yes.”

Me: “Awesome. Thank you so much for your understanding. Have a great day!” *Hangs up*

My daughter “came out of her shell” just fine on her own and started making friends when she was ready. That was almost fifteen years ago. Today, she works in theatre, primarily as a director, because, as she puts it, “I love bossing people around.”

How Big Is This Store?!

, , , , , , | Right | April 5, 2022

I was shopping in a grocery store when I heard this.

Woman’s Voice: “Hannah? Hannah? HANNAH!”

She sounded panic-stricken. I was about to approach her when I saw the store’s manager walking up to her, so I backed off and eavesdropped.

Manager: “What’s the matter, ma’am?”

Woman: “My little girl! She was right beside me, and now she’s missing! Please help me!”

Manager: “Don’t worry, ma’am. We’ll do everything we can to find her.”

Shortly afterward, the store’s doors were locked, and an announcement came over the PA to be on the lookout for a six-year-old girl matching [description]. The mother grew increasingly hysterical, sobbing that her daughter must have been kidnapped. Then, five minutes later…

Woman: “HANNAH! OH, THANK GOD!”

She hugged her daughter, and all was well… until five minutes after THAT:

Woman: “HANNAH! WHERE ARE YOU? SOMEONE HELP ME! MY DAUGHTER’S GONE!” *More hysterical sobbing*

I’m a mother myself, and I know how difficult it can be to keep an eye on small kids, but losing your little girl twice in one hour?