“Able” To Bring Her Down

, , , , , , | Friendly | September 15, 2019

(My uncle is considered by the rest of my family to be a “child-whisperer” because he can easily manage five children at a time by himself. He can take five of us — his kids and my siblings and our other cousins — on outings and manage to keep us all safe while we have fun. We all love him because he is very easygoing and patient but also can be silly with us. We go to the zoo when I am nine, with my ten-year-old and four-year-old cousins — his son and daughter — and twin six-year-old cousins — his nieces. We overhear two old ladies speaking. One of them points at my six-year-old cousin who has one leg.)

Rude Old Lady: “It is fitting that they brought that freak to a zoo.” 

(Her companion laughs. My uncle overhears this comment, as does my cousin, who starts crying. While her twin and the rest of us are attempting to cheer her up, my uncle walks over to the ladies, smiling.)

Uncle: *in a jovial sort of way* “Hello. Would you kindly repeat what you said?” 

(One of the women looks apprehensive, but the other doubles down on what she said before.)

Rude Old Lady: “I said that it is fitting that you brought your freaks to the zoo.”

Uncle: “Freaks? That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?” 

Rude Old Lady: “No, it’s accurate. You’ve got two kids wearing glasses — that ought to be child abuse, especially when you’re doing it to a little girl — and a kid with one leg. Plus, that kid has another kid who looks just like her except she’s whole.”

Uncle: “Oh, the twins? They don’t look that similar. For a start, she has blonde hair and she has black hair. I might consider it child abuse to not let children wear glasses, regardless of gender.” 

(So far, my uncle has been very conversational in tone. Now, he spreads his arms out like he’s making a grand speech and starts speaking loudly. The other people near the bear exhibit — and even the bears themselves, probably — are listening now.)

Uncle: “Understand this, O ableist hag! I do not appreciate you calling my family freaks, O she-who-made-a-kid-on-crutches-cry! I have nothing more to say to you, O demon-in-a-woman’s-body! Begone, I say!” 

(While my amputee cousin starts laughing at the absurdity of the statement, the rest of us cheer, and the woman, publically humiliated and shamed, stalks off, her companion saying, “Well, you were a bit rude, don’t you think?” to her on the way out. I bring this up now, years later, only because while visiting our grandmother during the summer, the oldest of my cousins and I go to the grocery store. My cousin nudges me in the ribs and says:)

Cousin: *just loudly enough for her to hear* “Hey, it’s the demon in a woman’s body!” 

(She scowled at us and kicked in our general direction before walking away.)

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Unfiltered Story #157514

, , , | Unfiltered | July 9, 2019

(I am at a reptile exhibit with my younger sister. We are looking into buying a chameleon from a breeder here, as their reptiles tend to be healthier from the ones sold at pet stores. We have wondered over to a snake cage where the breeder is sitting close by.)

Sister: Oh! I want to hold that huge snake!

Me: Careful it might bight off a finger!

(The breeder has been listening in and holds up a hand, missing two fingers.)

Breeder: It just might.

Lions And Tigers And Tired Moms, Oh My!

, , , , , | Related | June 21, 2019

(I am at the zoo with my family looking at the tigers. The lions are on the other side of the zoo. A woman in her 20s walks up holding an 18-month- to two-year-old child.)

Woman: “Look, honey! See the lions?”

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Unfiltered Story #152449

, , | Unfiltered | May 29, 2019

(I had a chinchilla in a cage and was showing it to people)
Little girl passing by: Look mom! It’s an owl!

Not The Touching Animal Story You Were Expecting

, , , , , , | Right | May 27, 2019

(I enter the butterfly house at the zoo with my husband, toddler, and baby. There are only a few groups of people inside, so it is quite quiet. Near the entrance is a mother talking to her son, who is about five years old. He has apparently just touched a butterfly.)

Mother: “You can’t touch them. It’s going to die now.”

Boy: *no reaction*

Mother: “Don’t touch the butterflies.”

(They slowly go through the exhibit with another woman and small girl, and we follow slowly behind. Near the exit, the mother and other woman are chatting with each other while looking at their phones. The zookeeper is facing the other way, talking to another visitor. The children are squatting next to a garden bed. The boy picks up a stick and, holding it like a baseball bat, takes a swipe at a butterfly. Thankfully, he misses. The mother takes no notice, and the keeper hasn’t seen it. I stand a few meters away, staring at the boy, waiting for him to do it again. A couple of butterflies pass near him and he starts thrashing the stick around.)

Me: “HEY! DON’T HIT THE BUTTERFLIES WITH A STICK!”

(Everyone turned to look and the mother hustled her son out, looking annoyed. I guess violently attacking butterflies is okay so long as you don’t touch them.)

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