It's been a long time since we've had any trouble from Mr. B-Natural. Mostly he's been an ideal patron. He even came in recently and asked me if I would teach him how to save files to a CD ROM using his new laptop. I showed him how and he seemed quite friendly about it and far from his usual Grumpiest-Old-Man-in-All-the-World self.
Last week he got far grumpier.
Long-time readers may recall the saga of Mr. B-Natural and his beloved dog, Bubba. They might also recall the night to day transformation Mr. B-Natural underwent after he first acquired Bubba and began bringing him into the "liberry" as his emissary to the world. They might also recall how, three years back, Bubba brought a plague of fleas into the "liberry" and was subsequently banned from setting foot in the building.
At the time of the banning, Mr. B-Natural protested that Bubba didn't have fleas and staged a walkout over the matter, refusing to set foot in our building himself. After a few months of this, though, he realized that this was hardly punishing us so he came back. Occasionally, if Mrs. A was about, he would drop comments about how Bubba sure does miss the library and how he still doesn't have fleas. Mrs. A would only smile and tell him that we too missed Bubba and that we would love to come out to Mr. B-Natural's car and visit the dog sometime.
Over the past year, though, other dogs have begun to visit us. One of our patrons, Carrie, a frequent and very, very generous donor, began bringing her dog into the library. Granted, she was only there with the dog to briefly visit us or drop off a check and never to hang around, but there were several near-misses with Mr. B-Natural almost seeing the pooch. With Carrie being a massive donor (who actually made a huge donation in her dog's name; an event which prompted us to joke that when Bubba came up with anything approaching that amount he could come back too) we were a little hesitant to forbid her to bring her dog in.
Next up, a member of our board of directors, Mrs. Em, recently bought a puppy which she has insisted on bringing into the building despite the fact that she knows full well that animals are not allowed and that Mr. B-Natural will rain shit down on our heads were he to ever see it. I like her dog even less because it bit me, but, again, what are you going to do?
Then Mr. B-Natural did see Mrs. Em's dog.
Saw it several times, even.
In fact, for about a week running, Mr. B-Natural seemed to have developed the mutant ability to arrive at the "liberry" only when Mrs. Em was in-house with her dog. And, as before, he began dropping comments to Mrs. A about how the puppy would make a wonderful playmate for dear Bubba. Mr. B-Natural never got mad or raised a big stink, but he was understandably unhappy about it, as he has been for years now. Mrs. A tried to explain things to him by saying that the other dog was only passing through on business and was not hanging around for hours at a time like Bubba used to. Mr. B-Natural's reaction to this was to turn and walk out.
Mrs. A thought about this situation and decided that if she couldn't ban the dogs of donors and board-members, she couldn't very well ban Bubba. It was time to stop playing favorites. She announced to Mrs. C that we would need to change our policy to allow visits from dogs, provided they remained on the tiled area just inside the front doors. They would break the good news to Mr. B-Natural when next he visited
When I came in for work this past Friday, I saw a sign taped to the glass of our front door that read "Service Animals Only." I wondered what the story behind it was and soon the alphabet squad of Mrs.es A, B and C told me.
Mrs. A explained her decision to rescind Bubba's ban. However, before she could alert Mr. B-Natural to it, he'd phoned Mr. Hooter, the president of our board of directors, to raise hell about the veritable zoo we were letting run free in the "liberry." He insisted that if Bubba was banned all other animals should be banned as well, save for service animals. Furthermore, Mr. B-Natural wanted a signs put up to this effect and wanted the policy enforced for all parties. Mr. Hooter was in agreement.
"I can't blame him," I told Mrs. A upon the conclusion of the tale. "I would have done exactly the same thing in his position." Granted, there's the irony that if he'd kept his trap shut for another day or so he would have finally gotten his way and been able to bring Bubba back, but I completely see his perspective of the issue. It isn't fair to let other people bring dogs in and not him. And since he'd already complained to Mrs. A on any number of occasions, he felt he had no other course. Mrs. A said she saw his point too, but would have handled things differently had she been in his shoes.
"So, I guess we won't be seeing him for a few more months?" I said.
"Oh, no. He's been in three or four times since Wednesday," Mrs. B said.
"He keeps checking to make sure we have the sign up," Mrs. C added.
And, an hour or two later, Mr. B-Natural did arrive for some computing time. I made it a point to smile at him when he came in, hopefully communicating that I bear him no ill-will and am, for once, on his side.