Being misunderstood is the worst. If you feel like no one understands your situation, fear not! You're not the only one. Indeed, if you've ever had a moment where you've found yourself awkwardly explaining, "This isn't what it looks like", you're in good company.
The following are assorted stories from people whose situations were taken out of context despite the fact that they had perfectly valid explanations. You'll come to learn that context is everything. So, go! Bask in the cringe! And realize your life isn't that awkward in the grand scheme of things.
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I was watching Cops one night. My four-year-old daughter was with me. She got her toy handcuffs and started imitating the cops on TV. Then I asked her if she wanted to go to the store with me. We go to the store and she still has her handcuffs on. I don't even notice. While I'm checking out, the employees got together and asked me why the little girl had handcuffs on. I turned beet red and mumbled something about watching Cops, showing them that they were just toy cuffs.
Fast forward to the vet—he pulls out kitty, and my wife's underwear clung to his coat via static electricity.
I grabbed it, put it in my pocket, and we laugh a little. "Lots of kitties like that," he says.
Then later, at the grocery store, I pull out my wallet and the underwear fell out. It was not my day.
The wife tells the husband that neutering the dog would be a good idea, and he agrees. Later that same day, she takes the pup for a walk. He does his business and she notices that the dog gets pee on his fur. So she decides to trim the fur. The husband walks in on the haircut and freaked out. He thought she didn't want to wait for the vet. It's been over 10 years and they still laugh about that story.
I hit a deer and took it home to butcher it out because, wel... it made us dip into our grocery budget to fix the car.
Halfway through processing this deer, we realized we had nothing to store the meat in. I went to the store to get large black trash bags, electrical tape (because I was there and needed it for a cord), cellophane, and numerous different sizes of zipper bags.
At the checkout, the gent behind me asks, "Are you alright? You're bleeding."
I look down seeing blood I missed, but smile and offer "Oh, it's not mine."
Everyone then took a look at my items.
He had a fun time explaining that to the police.
It was about 4:30 in the morning and I had to get up at 6, so I just gave up on going back to sleep. I debated what to do for the hour and a half and decided to go to IHOP. As I was about to leave, I realized that if I left my sleeping boyfriend in the house and the intruder WAS actually still there and ended him, I would feel extremely guilty. So I went to wake him up just enough to warn him before I left for IHOP. He woke up to me leaning over his bed, holding a bat, and whispering about murder. He almost cried.
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An hour or so goes by and his mom comes in furious. I guess the neighbors had a daughter our age. When I moved the telescope, it was inadvertently pointing toward her bedroom window. This kid's mom thought I was corrupting her son by getting him to spy on the neighbor with me. C'mon lady, we just wanted to play some chess.
It was all going well until they said they wanted to play "Minecraft." As the group of kids suddenly scatter from where I am yelling "Ah! Run away from the Creeper! Ahhh!" I look up to see a line of parents suddenly jostled back into consciousness with absolutely no friggin' context whatsoever.
My wife and I used to hide money in her underwear drawer so our kids wouldn't be digging through it. One morning, I was getting dressed and wanted to get some money before I forgot, so I was digging through her underwear when my five-year-old son saw me. He asked what I was doing and naturally, I couldn't tell him that I needed money so I had to say something like, "I was just cleaning things up." Pretty sure he didn't believe me and thought I was looking for a pair to wear.
I imagined The Purge, but only pregnant women doing the crimes.
I ate a piece of chocolate while loading my stuff in the car and put a second, smaller, chocolate in my back pocket, right before I said goodbye to my parents. It was a hot day at the end of summer.
Right before I reached the exit to the highway, I stopped at a traffic light and realized that the chocolate between my butt and my car seat was not a good idea. As I reached for it, my left hand became smeared with melted chocolate. Following my loud "Well, shoot," I realized that the girl in the car next to me just saw me reaching into my butt and bring my hand up covered in brown stuff.
The look on her face was totally worth it. The only bad thing was that the melted chocolate couldn't be wiped away with just tissues.
Years ago, I took my then four-year-old daughter to play in a park in Chicago. There were quite a few families there, including an Asian family with five or six kids. My daughter played with them for a while, until they left. My daughter wanted to leave with them but I told her she couldn't. I took her hand and began to lead her away, but she started screaming "No!" and crying hysterically, trying to pull away to get back to her friends.
When my niece was five, I took her to the movies and we snuck in candy and snacks. I played around with her to make her feel like it was some secret operation and we had fun smuggling it into the theater. The employees at the theater had black uniforms, and I told my niece that if she saw the people dressed in black, she must hide the candy or we’d be kicked out. The movie starts and I forget all about it. Then, an employee walks into the theater in the middle of the movie. My niece sees him and yells, “Uncle a black man! Hide your stuff!” I just sank into my chair praying the movie would end soon.
When I got there, she was dancing with some guy I knew to be a cook in our unit. I watched long enough to see they were just dancing and nothing more, so I decided to just let her be and I walked down to a nearby pub. I had a beer and came back when I knew the disco was closing.
Well, as I stood outside waiting, the cook she was dancing with came out with his buddy and they almost immediately managed to get into a fight with a group of Turks who were hanging out in the parking lot. One of them broke a bottle on the cook's head.
I broke the fight up and separated the two belligerents. Then I took the cook by the head so I could examine his wounds which were bleeding a lot. About this time, my girlfriend came out of the disco with her friend and saw me holding this guy— blood all over his face and on my hands. She ran up to me screaming that I couldn't just mess somebody up for dancing with her...
Cue the scene on the subway where the legless skateboard guy goes through the train saying, "I have no legs, I have no legs!"I thought it was random and weird so I yelled it at my mate a few times and we laughed. He turned around to stop and talk (we were walking down the street) and he went white. There was a little girl in a wheelchair behind us crying and clearly never going to be able to walk again. I literally died.
My nephew's fourth birthday party was at a park that I used to go to as a kid. After opening presents, he wanted to go play so he ran off. I was the youngest one there so I was instructed to go watch him. He was halfway to the playset, and so I ran after him to catch up. I grabbed him, picked him up and started tickling him, but he started yelling no, so I put him down. He then ran off and I chased him. Every time he yelled, the parents around me would look.
On my first or second date with my girlfriend, we were waiting in a line to buy ice cream. A kid confidently put his arm on my shoulder and said: "Dad!"
I, a male, am in a dive bar in college that had black lights above the bar for whatever reason. I'm buying a girl a drink and when I go to pull my wallet out, I see that the black light has highlighted a significant outline of some liquid around the webbing of my hand between my thumb and index finger. She then informs me that it's all around my mouth too. Apparently, the peroxide in baking soda toothpaste leaves an otherwise invisible trace that comes out under blacklight.
I'm currently on bail for minor drug trafficking charges. Only a few weeks ago, I was doing the grocery deliveries for work and had all of the cash from each customer in separate little baggies on the passenger seat of my car.
There I was, just driving along when I get pulled over by a cop. He looks in the car and sees all the little money baggies. Of course, knowing my history, he believes it to be illegal money. I had a fun time explaining to the boss why I was half an hour late.
I forgot my hand-out for a college class. I was standing behind seated students. One of them had her hand out on the table in front, where I could read it. She thought I was looking down her cleavage.
So there's me and my Irritable Bowel Syndrome doing what we do as I get ready for work one evening. Somehow, the toilet got clogged. I had work very soon, and my bathroom-buddy was probably just getting off the bus to come home. Time was of the essence.
I checked everywhere for a plunger. No plunger. I phoned maintenance with maybe ten minutes to get across the compound to my bus... They told me they didn't loan plungers, and that clogs must be dealt with by maintenance staff only. UGH!!! And of course, that person was on break for another half hour.
I ended up needing to leave for work. My efforts to fix the situation had taken up all my time and I didn't even get a minute to leave an apology note.
She thought I left things like that as a prank or something. I came home to a note raging at me for being sick and twisted. She'd been tired from a long shift, so it was very cruel of me to do that, yadda yadda yadda.
I left her another note apologizing for what had happened. Thankfully, the nature of the schedule and dorm layout meant we never actually laid eyes on each other. She never knew my name, face, or even voice. THANK GOODNESS!
Living with my roommate. I had put washing in the machine the night before. When I got home from work, I remembered the wash.
He moved out shortly after.
Anyways, she completely freezes and looks at me with these heartbroken eyes. I know there’s a perfectly logical and reasonable explanation for this, I just don’t know it yet. I had absolutely no clue who it was. Sure enough, she started crying. Then, I’m like, “Okay, let’s call and see.” My friend picked up and everything was made clear.
Later that night, she says, “I can’t believe you made me go through that.” It was an interesting evening.
I was in the Art Institute of Chicago, looking in the modern art section. Art history is a big part of my degree so I have quite a few opinions about some of the artists. Turning the corner, we walked into a space filled with work by artist Jeff Koons. Without even thinking, I said loudly, "I hate Koons." Got a lot of really awful stares. Left that section pretty quickly.
At some point, I'm sitting in a lab building this microscope to see how long it would take for kids. Both my professor and the lab manager (the only other two people working for this lab) went out to buy some stuff from a company that had gone out of business. A sales rep walks in and I'm just sitting at my bench playing with Legos. She asked if the manager or my professor were around because they have some sweet discounts on pipette tips or something like that and I tell her that they're both out and I could help her. At that point, she just looks at me like, "Seriously, your bosses are gone and you decide to sit here and play with Legos instead of work? This is what I have to deal with?" We sit in silence for a minute before she shakes her head and says that she'll just try back later.
I assume my lab now has a reputation at that company as having a grad student that plays with Legos instead of working when nobody is looking.
I stammered and nervously grinned while she stepped into the horrifically infested bathroom with no windows. I could only come to the conclusion that she assumed I was responsible for that toxic dump.
Flash forward to that afternoon. We’re at the mall with my mom shopping for boots. We go up to the register and my wife opens her camera roll to find the coupon she had taken a screenshot of. She hands her phone to the cashier, a sweet, bubbly girl of about 17. The girl’s eyes widen with terror and all the color drains from her face immediately. She slowly hands the phone back to my wife and whispers the only two words she can muster:
I was cruising through a really nice community around 2 a.m. when suddenly a cop comes out of nowhere and pulls me over. He asks what I'm doing and I tell him I'm just out for a drive. He informs me that there has been a rash of car stereo thefts in the area. Now, earlier that same day, a friend had given me a very nice car stereo, amp, and CD change that I was planning to install, so they were all piled in my backseat, wires hanging all over the place, along with the tools I had borrowed from my dad to do the job. Of course, he spies all of this through the rear window with his flashlight and questions me.
I nervously gave him my explanation, and he went back to his cruiser for a bit, then came back and let me off with a smile. I'm assuming that once he pulled up my record and saw I was 16 years old with no previous infractions, he assumed my story was true. Or I was an extremely professional and ambitious car stereo thief. Thankfully it was the former.
My Spanish wasn’t great so I didn’t know how to explain and just laughed awkwardly. Later I was chasing him around and I would lightly smack his butt when I caught him and he thought it was hilarious.
He ran up to this same woman giggling and saying, “Help! She’s trying to touch my butt!”
Time to leave the park...
I used to work security and reception at my company, so I greeted everyone when they came in the door and made sure they were wearing their security badge. You could either wear your badge on a lanyard around your neck or on a retractable belt clip.
One day, I was talking to some of the girls that work on the second floor. One of them just flat out asks why I always check out women when they come in to visit. Excuse me?
Turns out, there was a lot of talk about how I was "looking women up and down" when they came through the door. Well, I was looking everyone up and down. I would look at their chest first and if there was no badge there, my eyes would move to their belt. It was kind of my job and stuff.
My brother and I got into a fist fight (he was right, I was wrong) and he punched me in the mouth. I was bleeding pretty good and kept spitting blood on him for some reason. He went into the condo and my mom freaked out because he had blood all over him. It went a little like this:
Mom: OMG YOU’RE COVERED IN BLOOD!
Brother: Calm down, it isn’t my blood.
Mom: OMG WHOSE BLOOD IS IT? WHAT DID YOU DO?!
Brother: Mom, it’s fine, it’s just Tyler’s blood.
Mom: OMG WHERE IS TYLER?!
I walked in shortly after alive and well. The dispute between my brother and I was settled, by the way.
I ran into the basement, but nobody was there. Upstairs, nobody there. Kitchen lights were off. The house phone started ringing but I don't answer and I know it's too late. I called my friend, but no answer. I called another friend, still no answer. I cleaned up the evidence of our underage party, checked around the house one more time, then waited for my inevitable demise.
My friends then called me back as I was outside freaking out and they start to rush home. Long story short, the cops showed up with two dogs and guns pointed at me. I get slammed to the ground and handcuffed. My friends arrived home and explained the situation just in time before I get hauled off. That was a heck of a night.
It should be noted that Sara and I (a female), are both straight. Sara and I go out to a bar. Turns out the bar was a gay bar, and it was having a Sex and the City movie release party. Cosmos and snacks? Cool.
A little while later, I’m sitting outside on a bed-like couch with Sara while Bob gets us our next round of drinks. The photographer for the event comes by and casually asks to snap our photo, so Sara and I lean together and smile. Snap. They ask for our names, which we assumed was to get prints later or something, so we gave them our names and thought that was that. Back to happy hour and griping about dead-end jobs.
Fast forward to Monday morning. We’re back in the office and I see Sara leave. When she comes back, she slaps the newspaper on my desk, with a smirk on her face. It’s the front page of the culture section, and there’s the photo of me and Sara above the fold with the headline: “The gays come out in celebration of Sex and the City premiere.”
The paper definitely “outed” us as a gay couple.
Well, my dad’s coworker saw the paper and, since my last name isn’t that common, he showed the pic to my dad and asked if I was his daughter. I would have paid so much money to see his face at that moment.
It made for an interesting conversation with my parents later where they assured me they loved and supported me no matter what.
My new neighbor told me about a house fire in his old neighborhood. It was fall, and he and his family were roasting marshmallows in their fireplace when they heard the firetruck siren. They ran outside and saw the emergency vehicles a few houses down in front of their neighbor's house. They ran down the street toward the crowd. As they stood with the crowd watching the house burn, they were getting nasty looks. It was then that he realized they were still holding the roasting sticks with marshmallows on them.
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