Did a 9 to 5 shift today, filling in for Mrs. C who was out of town at a meeting. For a Friday, it was terribly slow. I actually had to look for work to do to justify my existence, beyond playing Mrs. C for the day.
There was some good news, though. Mrs. A and one of
our board members had to do a conference call with a grant organization,
which tied up the phone line in the morning. I was thus
blissfully spared such burning daily questions as “What time do you
close?” and “Is MRS. C there?” for nearly an hour and a half.
Toward the end of the conference call, someone’s car
alarm started to go off outside. We don’t really have much problem with
car alarms here in Tri-Metro. In fact, I haven’t really heard that
many since I left Charlotte in 2001. I guess most folks around here
either don’t use them or the alarms just never have cause to go off.
This one certainly was, though. For five minutes all we heard was HONK
HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK!
Mrs. A came downstairs to make sure it wasn’t her car. It wasn’t. Instead, it was some car up the hill, probably near the little apartment
building around the corner. Mrs. A stood on the steps outside, trying
to track the alarm sound back to its source, but by then the car’s owner
must have finally come out to check on it because HONKing ceased.
Five minutes later, it started again. HONK HONK HONK
HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK! Then, a few long minutes after that, it again
ceased. Then, a few short minutes later, it started again. I was just
imagining some poor bastard trying to sleep in a bit, who kept having
to get up and find his keys to turn off the infernal alarm. Then, he’d
have just enough time to go back inside and climb into bed before some
little kid hiding in the bushes would sneak out and smack the car again.
I knew exactly when the conference call ended. That’s
when the phone started ringing off the hook with all the people who’d
been trying to call for an hour and a half. The very first one was from
a man who sounded excited that he was finally able to get through.
library… are… are you open?” he asked breathlessly. At least he didn’t
ask what time we closed.