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Ballet Commentary We Can All Get Behind

, , , , , , | Related | November 10, 2019

This story happens when I’m quite small, about three or four years old. My parents have taken me to a children’s matinee at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. They were worried that I’d be bored, but apparently, I’m utterly enthralled.

At one point, a male and female dancer begin to perform a romantic pas-de-deux, and a small voice pipes up from the middle of the crowd, “Oh! The pretty lady loves the man!”

We’re sitting far enough back that the dancers don’t hear this, but a ripple of laughter moves through the audience nearby. An usher hurries over and asks my father to take me to sit at the back, and he complies.

Another scene is circus-themed and features a clown putting on his clown suit. Midway through, the same small voice rings out again. “He’s putting on his jammies!”

More laughter from the audience. This time the usher asks my dad to remove me from the audience entirely. 

As my dad says, this was clearly the beginning of my career in media analysis.

An Extra Twenty Minutes Can Make All The Difference

, , , , , | Right | November 5, 2019

(I work at a local grocery store only twenty minutes from my house. As a courtesy clerk, it’s my job to make sure there are carts available for the customers and to also help any customer who needs it. It is twenty minutes before my shift ends and, as I have finished all of my tasks for the day, I am walking the aisles in search of something to do.)

Older Woman: “Would you be so kind as to help me?”

Me: “Of course I would.”

Older Woman: “My hands don’t work as they used to and I can’t seem to lift this box of canned pop. Would you be so kind as to put it in my cart?”

Me: “Of course, I would be happy to.”

(I put the cans of pop in her cart when she notices that the two-litres of the same brand are not out.)

Older Woman: “Oh, dear, it would seem like the two-litres are out of stock.”

Me: “I can go check in the back for you to see if we have any lying around.”

Older Woman: “Would you? That would help a lot.”

(I head into the back. Sure enough, I find the two-litres of the same brand. I then get the amount she requires and place them in her cart.)

Older Woman: “Thank you ever so much.”

(Then, noticing that my shift has ended, I wish her a good day and make my way upstairs. On my way back downstairs, out of my uniform, one of the customer service clerks comes over the PA.)

Coworker: “Courtesy clerk for a carry out, please.”

(I was the only courtesy clerk on duty. I walk over to her and she notices I am out of uniform.)

Coworker: “Oh, [My Name], we will get someone else to do it.”

(I am leaving to go home, anyway, and knowing only a few people are working now that it is late, I don’t see anything wrong with me helping her to her car.)

Me: “I am leaving, anyway; I would be happy to escort her to her car and help her load her groceries.”

Older Woman: “It’s people like you that make me come back to this establishment.”

(I push her cart to her car and help her load her car.)

Older Woman: “Thanks again for the help.”

(A few days later, I notice the same woman speaking to one of my managers when she notices me. She points at me and they start walking over to me.)

Older Woman: “This is the lady — the one who took time out of her life to help a young lady like me.”

Manager: “She has been in here for the past week telling all of us how great you were. She asked for you each time as she wanted to give something to you.”

(She hands me a twenty-dollar bill.)

Older Woman: “You deserve something for your hard work.”

(I look to my manager, afraid that it might be against store policy to accept it.)

Manager: “Take it; from what she told me, you deserve it.”

Me: “Thanks ever so much.”

(We then hug and she leaves to go do her own shopping. Later, while I’m on break, the manager comes up and walks over to me.)

Manager: “Seeing as you worked off the clock, I want you to take another 15 minutes to compensate for it.”

(The old lady is, in fact, a regular, and each time she needs help she asks for me. Of course, sometimes I am not on, but when I am I’m always willing to help.)

Meh… Still The Same Queen

, , , , , , | Related | October 14, 2019

(When I am about eight years old — around 1972 — my class has an essay contest. The topic is “Why I’m Proud To Be Canadian.” I am a pretty decent writer for an eight-year-old, and my essay contains a lot of stuff about the beauty of our country, the freedom we enjoy, and so on. When the time comes to announce the winner of the contest, I am thrilled to hear my name called. I don’t remember what the prize was – a candy bar, I think – but I am just happy to have won. I can’t wait to get home and tell my parents.)

Me: “Mum, Dad, guess what? I won an essay contest at school!”

Mum: “Wow! That’s great! What was the topic?”

Me: “‘Why I’m Proud To Be Canadian’!”

Mum & Dad: *bursts into laughter*

Me: *smile slips off my face* “What’s so funny?”

Mum: *still laughing* “You’re not Canadian, dear. You’re British.”

Me: “But… I mean, I know that I was born in England, but I’m here now.”

Dad: “You’re not a Canadian citizen, though.”

Me: “What?”

Dad: “You have to go through a bunch of paperwork and stuff to be a citizen, and we haven’t done that for you yet. So, you’re not Canadian.”

(He and Mum went to make dinner, still laughing. I’ve never forgotten how let down I felt about their reaction. Plus, I felt like I’d won that contest under false pretenses. I became a Canadian citizen a few years later, at least.)

When Romance Becomes Horror

, , , , , , , | Related | October 7, 2019

(When I am 19 or so, my taste in books is a bit, well, trashy. I read “bodice-rippers” pretty much exclusively. My mother hates this and nags me constantly to “stop reading that garbage and read something good, instead.” I tell her to leave me alone; I enjoy those books and I am not harming anyone. One day, my dad approaches me:)

Dad: “My coworker is in the hospital, and she phoned yesterday to say that she could really use something to read. Do you think you could lend her some of your books?”

Me: “Really? Sure! What do you think she’d like?”

Dad: “How about those?” *points to my pile of romance novels* “I bet she’d like them.”

Me: “Well, I don’t mind, so long as she knows they’re just on loan.”

Dad: “Don’t worry about it. She’ll return them once she’s done.”

(I pack up all my trashy novels and give them to Dad. Weeks later:)

Me: “Dad, is your coworker done with my books yet?”

Dad: “Hmm? Oh. No, not yet.”

Me: “Really? It’s been ages. Surely she’s not still in the hospital?”

Dad: “No, she’s out now, but she’s still reading them.”

Me: “She does know that I want them back, right?”

Dad: “Yes, of course.”

Me: “Well, okay.”

(A few weeks later…)

Me: “Dad, can I have your coworker’s phone number?”

Dad: “What on earth for?”

Me: “I’d like to ask for my books back.”

Dad: *getting angry* “For Pete’s sake! I told you she’ll return them when she’s done.”

Me: “But–”

Dad: *loses temper* “ENOUGH!”

(This went on for months. I’d ask Dad to bug his coworker for my books, he’d make some excuse, I’d persist, he’d lose his temper and yell at me, and the cycle would repeat. I finally gave up when it had been more than a year. In hindsight, I can’t believe I was so naïve; there was obviously no coworker. This was a scheme cooked up by my parents to rid me of that “garbage” for once and for all. Joke’s on them, though; I now read Stephen King constantly, which disgusts my mother even more. Oh, well. I’m 55 now, and I’ll read whatever I darned well please.)

Not Red-dy For You

, , , , | Right | October 2, 2019

(I work at the order desk for a company that supplies drugstores with all of their merchandise – pharmaceuticals, candy, cigarettes, you name it. Drugstore employees call me and give me their orders, which I enter on my computer. I work in the office area, and all of the items are stored in a separate warehouse. I can depend on having a conversation like this at least once a week:)

Customer: “I want some cigarettes.”

Me: “Sure. What kind?”

Customer: “Uh… I don’t know the name. You know, the ones in the red box.”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t know which ones those are.”

Customer: “The red box.”

Me: “I’ll need a name, sir, plus a quantity.”

Customer: “Tell you what, honey. You run over to wherever you store those things, find alllllll the ones in red boxes, write down the names, and then come tell me what they are.”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that, sir–”

Customer: “Let me guess; too much work?”

Me: “No. I mean that the cigarettes are stored in a warehouse, and I don’t have access to it.”

Customer: “Yeah, right. Wait— You’re new, aren’t you?”

Me: “No, sir. I’ve worked here for six months.”

Customer: “Then you should know which cigarettes come in red boxes!”

Me: *sigh*