An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fund and/or Temper Raising (Moving Days K)

As you have probably guessed, Mr. Crab did not donate his stuffed animal heads to our new "liberry." I'm afraid I don't know the story behind his decision not to, but I suspect he didn't like our proposal to sell them for cash. I do know that at some point he did donate some amount of money to the new "liberry" project (most likely $200, but possibly more) for he was among the people invited to attend a donors only wine & cheese reception in the new "liberry" building, a few days before the place officially opened. (And on that subject, I must say, the public support for the new project was quite astounding. While there was a lot of grant money secured and state funds allocated toward the construction, a great deal of our funds came through donations from the public at large. In fact, a full two thirds of the fundage was in hand before ground was broken and the rest quickly began coming in afterward.)

Though the "liberry" now has its own set of wine glasses (stored in the staff breakroom--NOT the kitchen) we didn't own them at the time of the donors reception and had to borrow some from a couple of area restaurants. The cheese and wine were likewise donated by area restaurants and area vineyards, respectively. The cheese was high quality; the wine, not so much, but there was certainly a lot of it so only a few people complained.

Naturally, the "liberry" staff had to work the reception, along with members of the Friends of the "Liberry" group and members of the Board. The board poured the wine and hob-nobbed with the rich & powerful while the rest of us canvassed the room, picking up the empty plates and half-drunk wine glasses people kept leaving on every exposed surface, before someone had a chance to come along, knock them over and spill them on the brand new carpeted areas. In between cleanup missions, we had time to nosh on some of the goodies ourselves. During one such cheese break in the workroom, I heard the unmistakable sound of a wine glass shattering somewhere. Fortunately, it had smashed on the tiled floor near the foyer and not on the carpet. Unfortunately, as I quickly saw, it had been Mr. Crab who'd dropped it.

I'd like to think that most human beings, after having dropped a wine glass in public, would actually attempt to do something about it. I'm not saying they should go find a broom and dustpan themselves, necessarily, but at the very least they should tell somebody about it and perhaps try to pick up the broken glass before someone else steps on it. I'd also like to think that most human beings, after someone comes out to clean up the broken wine glass THEY had just dropped (and not told anyone about) would at least have the decency to assist in the smallest way possible by, say, getting out of the damned way. Not Mr. Crab. No, Mr. Crab refused to acknowledge the glass he had just dropped despite the fact that it was very clear he had been the one to drop it being as how there was glass and wine all around his feet and on his shoes. Instead, he went right on talking to the man he had been talking to as though nothing at all had happened. And when I came out with the broom and dustpan to clean up his mess for him, he remained planted in said mess as though the glass and wine weren't there at all, continuing to talk and hindering my efforts to sweep around his feet. This was very, very annoying to me, but not surprising coming from a known colossal asshole such as Mr. Crab. Ultimately it would have been okay as I would still have been able to sweep up most of the glass despite him. What Mr. Crab did next, however, made doing my job without having to first render him unconscious very very problematic.

You see, the reason Mr. Crab was refusing to acknowledge his broken glass was that he was embarrassed about having broken it in the first place. (My guess is that his self-image as the Great White Hunter would not allow for such clumsy accidents as dropping a glass in public.) Being embarrassed about it, he didn't want me calling any more attention to his accident by trying to clean it up. I feel fairly certain on this point, because shortly after I bent down and began attempting to sweep up the glass, Mr. Crab began kicking the pieces away from him. His kicks were quick, rather violent and aimed at sending the glass beneath the cover of a nearby leafy potted plant situated around one of the floor vents. He gave no regard to the fact that I was there at his feet, nor that his kicks were connecting with my hands and very nearly knocking the broom and dust pan from my grasp. Nope. He just kept right on kicking away.

"Mr. Crab," I said, but got no response. "Mr. Crab, please stop that!" I said, but again got no response. I knew he knew I was there because we'd made eye contact as I walked up, so I must assume his refusal to acknowledge me at that moment was just as intentional as his continued kicks.

It was at that moment that my brain flashed red and it occurred to me that Mr. Crab would no longer be able to kick the glass nor ignore me were I to impale him upon the end of my broom. And as absurd as actually doing that might seem, I knew with dire certainty that if I didn't get away from Mr. Crab RIGHT THEN, our little situation would escalate into a physical confrontation and might very well lead to headlines, such as: Elderly Library Donor Given Beat Down at Fund-Raiser by Crazed Staff Member. Retracts $200 Donation. Says Ass "Very Sore."

I grabbed my broom and dustpan and retreated through the crowd and took refuge behind the circ desk where I snatched up a glass of wine and downed it quick before pouring another. Mrs. A saw my face and asked what had happened. I told her.

"What an asshole," she said.

"Yeah."

Mr. Piano, one of our newer board members, saw us talking in hushed, angry tones and also asked what was up. I told him too.

"What an asshole," he said.

"Yeah," Mrs. A and I said in unison.

I remained behind the desk for several minutes, drinking more crappy wine and eating more soothing cheese. And every few minutes, other staff members, having heard the short version from Mrs. A, filtered over to hear the detailed version from me. Even former board member, Mrs. Emm, came by to confirm the details. I told her the story and my embarrassment theory. She shook her head knowingly, patted me on the shoulder in sympathy and walked away. And it was at that moment that I realized I had just achieved the ultimate revenge against Mr. Crab. Mrs. Emm is one of the biggest gossips I know and is probably tapped into the rumor and innuendo stream of the well-to-do crowd of our area more than anyone outside of Mrs. A herself.

Oh, so you don't want anyone to know you dropped a wine glass, Mr. Crab? Well, good luck with that, cause now Mrs. Emm has the play by play and there's no way in hell she's keeping it to herself. It might not have been all that big a deal in the first place, but your actions to cover it up have now assured that it's a small deal being spread to the winds.

After this realization, I had another glass of wine and felt much better about the evening.

(TO BE CONTINUED...)

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