She asked me how to spell "orange."
Sometimes, someone looks us dead in the eyes and asks us a question that we really never thought we'd have to explain to another human.
What comes after A in the alphabet?
Are Peru and Portugal bordering?
And when we get these questions, what can we do but... answer?
Here were some of the answers.
A friend of mine, aged around 14 at the time, said we should plan a road trip to America someday. We (her sister, my sister and I) told her no, we can't. She asked why not. We had to explain it was because we live in Australia and America is a country separated by water.
Math Math Math Math
"So the regular price is 45, and the package is 22, so your total would be 67."
"67 plus 22?"
"No, 67 total."
"Then what's the 22 for?"
"That's the price of the package you want."
"So what's the basic?"
"And the package?"
"So what's my total?"
Repeat for like 10 minutes, I wish I was exaggerating.
Edit: I left out details for the sake of brevity.
You get a basic set of services (varies in price, for her it was 45), and if you like you can add other services for more money (usually about 10 each), and we have a package where you pick three extra services for a better price (22).
Please be assured everything was explained at length, complete with pointing at signs and lists. The only thing she couldn't grasp was basic math.
Gotta Love Straight Up Racism
I've told this story on Reddit before.
My mom's co-worker was adopting a baby from China.
Another co-worker said "But when it starts to speak how will you understand it?"
Adopting co-worker said "What do you mean?"
Other co-worker said "You know..."
That you can't have a half-son.
A coworker and I were having a discussion about Arnold Schwarzenegger. I mentioned that he fathered a son with one of his housekeepers. My coworker said, yeah that's his half-son.
After a long, dumbfounded pause, I tried to explain to him that there is no such thing as a half-son. You can have a step son and a step daughter, and you can have a half-brother or a half-sister, but if you father a child, it is your FULL child.
He still didn't get it.
Large = Large = Large = Large
I work at Five Guys and we have regular and large for our drink options. We keep the cups next to the register and the menu shows that we only have regular and large. I have been asked "Which cup is which?" and I've had to explain that the larger cup is, in fact, the large. Losing brain cells at this job
How Do These People Get Power Positions
One of my last bosses kept messing up my paychecks. I was clocking in and out on time and the time sheet showed that, but my total hours on my check would be wrong.
Finally I figured out the issue... she had to report our hours to the management company via spreadsheet. When putting the time into the spreadsheet 1 hour 30 minutes (1:30) would be entered as 1.3 rather than 1.5. I explained this to her numerous times and she just couldn't grasp the concept you don't just put a decimal and the minute, that hours went from 1-60 so 30 was in the middle so halfway aka .5 (as well as the rest that goes along with that 15 min/.25 etc). Eventually I had to send an email to HER boss to get it sorted out.
The Big Deal About Pickles
I worked at an open market last summer that mainly sold produce. I had a lady come up to me one day and ask why we sprayed our vegetables with water. I stared at her for a moment before explaining that we don't, they just get wet from condensation because it's cold where they're stored and hot in the market. She still didn't get it, and I had to explain the whole process of condensation to her.
Also, the one guy who was super pissed because the pickling cucumbers we sell were not yet pickles when he bought them. When I explained that yes, we know they aren't, they are for making your own pickles, he was still very angry. They're literally sitting on a table. We have canned pickles elsewhere in the market.
It's Only Been Around For Over Thirteen Thousand Years, NBD
I once had to explain to a guy that Egypt was on the continent of Africa. And it's not a thing of like debating the boundaries of Europe vs Asia vs Middle East. He didn't believe that the country was actually part of the continent. And at the time we were on a boat and I didn't have cell phone signal so I couldn't pull up a map and show him where Egypt was.
He was an Australian-Peruvian dude my cousin was dating.
Normally I don't want to get down on people for not knowing geography but I feel like this is kind of a big thing since Egypt is such a part of ancient history. Like, massive, thousand year empire, etc etc. Kind of a big deal.
I've Got The Power
I once had a roommate who froze a head of lettuce and was surprised that it was a pile of mush when it thawed. Then she put it in the oven to crisp back up. Needless to say, the salad did not turn out well.
I also once had a coworker panic when I copied and pasted text from a website onto a Word document for them. They were convinced I was deleting text from a webpage.
My ex called me one afternoon, clearly in the middle of a panic attack, and told me that her mother had "deleted google". And she wasn't even joking. Her mom was in the living room crying, thinking she had "ruined the Internet for everyone". So I spent an hour on the phone explaining to the super-hacker the difference between a web page and a bookmark.
I do like the fact that instead of just blaming everyone around her for the Google machine not working she was just worried because she'd broken Google and everyone else would be really sad that it's been ruined. Quite dense but also quite sweet.
So Then CAN You See Russia From Your House? Or Nah
I had to explain to two adult government employees where Alaska was located on a map. They were both US citizens working for the federal government looking at a google-earth esque map of the world and COULD NOT find Alaska.
Both of them were pointing to Russia and somewhere down in the Pacific ocean going "I think this one is Alaska." I wishI could say there was some kind of misunderstanding... But I actually pointed to the state and said "This is Alaska" and they both looked flabbergasted and said "Wow! I had no idea it was there."
Gluten-The OTHER White Meat
That gluten is not essential to life and not everything needs to have gluten in it. It was for some milk product that was gluten free.
That just because the bottle of coconut oil says for culinary use doesn't mean you can't use it for skin/hair. I saw a person throw away a good bottle of good quality coconut oil(st francis) over that.
The Poor Moon
My mother in law called me several years ago 100% serious and in a panic telling me that the moon is gone and nobody else notices and something horrible is going on and nobody will listen to her. That's when I had to teach her that the moon rotates around the planet.
Also yesterday, my wife thought wheelbarrows are called wheelbarrels, she's over thirty.
Human Bodily Functions Are Advanced
Had to explain to my mother that food does not and cannot literally "go right through you." She'd always said some version of that phrase and I just assumed she knew how digestion worked but liked how the phrase sounded. Then one day she said something that made me pause, and I wondered if she actually thought food could shoot down your throat, through the stomach, zip through the intestines, and be ready for evacuation in under an hour.
She's my mother so I couldn't say "are you a moron?" like I wanted to. Instead I very carefully said "you know that's not how it works right?" She gets this deer in the headlights look, asks what I mean. I say " it takes somewhere between 36 and 60 hours for food to get worked completely through the digestive system." So now she looks confused, and asks why sometimes right after she eats she has to spend 30 minutes on the toilet. I explained that food in the stomach can trigger the lower intestine to evacuate, which is why the dogs always had to be let out 30 minutes after a meal even if they'd just been outside. I'm still not completely sure she believed me, and to this day still says the phrase.
You Gotta Want It, Fam
I didn't have to explain it, but I was witness to it.
Old white dude in a gas station is yelling at the obviously foreign cashier. He wanted to buy 50$ worth of gas, but there was some kind of sale or special going on. I don't remember the details, but it boiled down to getting more value out of that 50$. The cashier was trying to give the man 10$ back, but the he was adamantly refusing to accept it. He starts ranting at the cashier like, "NO I HAVE TO PUT THE GAS IN FIRST. I WILL COME BACK IN AFTER THE FACT FOR MY CHANGE. WHAT THE F*CK I WANT 50$ OF GAS NO 40$."
In case this isn't clear, the man wanted to pre-pay with cash. If he fills his tank completely with gas but the total doesn't reach 50$, he comes back in to get the remainder(Which makes perfect sense).
What this guy didn't realize was he was getting a DISCOUNT, not being forced to get less gas. Basically this dude was going to get 50$ worth of gas for 40$. He was too incensed by the fact that he had to deal with a "foreigner" to actually LISTEN to what the poor cashier was saying. I'm standing right behind this whole altercation and I immediately understood what the cashier was trying to tell him, but this old guy wasn't having it. This old dude was actively trying to put the blame on the cashier because he made it slightly hard to understand what he was saying. Like because the guy didn't speak perfect English he was just assuming he was trying to pull a fast one on him.
He gets so mad that he demands all his money back and drives off, presumably to go to a different gas station. You can't help people who don't want to be helped.
Nope, It's Always East, Just Like You're Always Wrong
That if you go continuously East you do not start going West at some point.
He insisted that just because the POV looking from the other side of the world "changed direction" (aka going right then you get to the other side and are going left from that same POV) you had changed which direction you were going. And if you end like 5 feet West of where you started that you walked West, not East.
Also, because I've had a lot of stupid arguments from this guy, another favorite was when he tried to argue that the T. rex was probably a scavenger/herbivore who mostly ate tree trunks. Not leaves. Tree trunks.
You know it's not a great place to work when employees band together to walk out. Literally.
Unions were basically created for this reason, by having the working people band together to fight against being mistreated by corporations, they create power in numbers. Even without a formal union, there is still power in numbers--no company wants to be tasked with explaining themselves like that.