Friday, April 4, 2014

Stranger in My Pocket

I spent the day at the local junior college science fair, and I reached a startling conclusion. Val is as attractive as one of those electromagnets that dangle from a crane and lift crushed cars at the junkyard.

The fair opened at 7:30 a.m. Kids had until 9:30 to get their projects set up. My students were riding the bus with our middle school entrants to conserve resources. The Pony and I headed directly to the fair, per our normal morning routine. We arrived at 7:26. "Let's just sit here a while and make sure the doors are open. There's no rush. Our bus won't be here until after school starts."

"No. I'll go in at 7:30. It's open. They shouldn't say they're open if they don't want people here that early." The Pony uses logic as a weapon. I managed to stall him until 7:38. Then I drove him to the circular drive so he didn't risk paragliding in the heavy winds with his project board that would not tri-fold after his addition of a plexiglass triangle to represent a prism. I returned to the lot and parked T-Hoe.

Just as I suspected, The Pony and I were the only people in the field house besides the fair director. I picked my seat (heh, heh, I picked my seat!) so I could see my entrants once they were set up. The trick is to stake out the front row of bleachers so you're not mixed in with the kids during the awards, and you have leg room, and can come and go as you wish. Plus the uninterrupted view down to the floor. I spread out my coat and bag of science fair accoutrements along the bleacher, to save space for my two colleagues who were accompanying the bus. I was the lone attendee for a good 30 minutes, until a bus from another school arrived.

I had just returned from the display floor after picking up my list of projects. I sat back down at the end of the bleacher, my coat still sprawled like a lioness in the sun digesting a meal. The sponsor from the just-arrived bus walked past me AND SAT DOWN ON THE VERY EDGE OF MY COAT!

You've gotta be kidding me! ALL that space, not a single soul other than Val in that whole audience, and he sat right on top of me. Plus, he had brought some work to do, it seems, because he edged the edge of my coat back towards me, and plunked a teacher text on the bleacher. But that's not all! An acquaintance of his arrived on the next bus, and she walked around the other side of the field house and approached from the right. Passed Creeper while chatting, pushed my coat so that it wrinkled like a Sharpei pup, and PLUNKED HER BUTT DOWN BETWEEN ME AND HIM!

So...there were only us three sponsors in the entirety of the whole building, and we occupied a ten-foot section of one bleacher! I was starting a slow burn. Like my head was the top of a thermometer, and the mercury or red-colored alcohol was rising. Fast. More buses disgorged their little brainiacs. Their sponsors accompanied them to the floor. By the time our bus arrived, and my colleagues joined me, there was no room at the end.

"I've been saving these seats for you. Unsuccessfully. I feel like Elaine at the Paradise Twin. 'Saved. Taken. SAVED! These seats are SAVED!' I guess it wasn't clear what I was trying to do, what with my coat stretched out and me sitting right here on the other side of it."

The Creeper and the BleepHer swiveled their judgemental eyes to look at me like I had two heads. Which I could only wish for. Because I would use my two mouths to give them a sound cussing. Okay. I wouldn't do that, because I was representing my school, and people there knew my name like everybody at Cheers. But I would have made twice as many snide comments about claim jumpers and line cutters and close-sitters.

Seriously. There was so little room left of my savitude that the male colleague declared, "Well, I'll just sit up here in the row behind you."

What is WRONG with people?

Can they not fend off my gravitational pull?


  1. Whether it's weirdos in the gas station or rude-os in a science competition, you attract them all...

  2. It's magnetic resonance. Or something.

  3. You must have a magnetic personality.

  4. See, that is what is great about being an old fart. I would have said, "I'm sorry, I've been away for a while, did they change the rule about seat saving, because it used to be if you stretched a coat across a chair and there were other seats available we used to call it saving a seat. We used to just say 'this seat is saved' and if they ignored us we called them that wrong now?"

  5. See how I snuck in a semi-Seinfeld comment.

  6. Staking his claim? You should have exclaimed, Move it!

  7. Sioux,
    I'm the belle of the Button-Pushers' Ball. It comes with a crown AND a tiara, because some button-pusher is sure to snatch one right off my royal head.

    Or perhaps a chemical imbalance.

    I am the honey-dipped weirdo magnet, attracting more flies than my more repulsive sister, the vinegar-dipped weirdo magnet.

    You are progressing quickly in your training, Grasshopper. Something that is certainly not frowned upon.

    Val is not one to create a scene. He would have had to crawl onto my lap before I exclaimed, "Move it!"