Val has been feeling a bit prickly lately. As prickly as the formerly smooth buttocks of a toddler who wanders in from the wading pool, only to topple backwards into the earthenware pot holding Grandma's cactus.
Even you, my dear enablers, would be outraged by the fate that befell me this evening. I am livid. Spitting mad. Ready to spew vitriol with more zeal than a disgruntled camel.
It all started with the meeting. A meeting of parents interested in learning more about scholarship opportunities for their young 'uns. Deadlines, the filling out of forms, tricks and tips, etc. Before the meeting was called to order, I arrived at the venue. I cooled my heels browsing through the library stacks. A free moment is a terrible thing to waste. As an insider, I had access to the room before it was free of a lingering meeting which convened before the scholar escapades. I could hear the incoming mob outside the door. Like Vandals, unused to biding their time, eager for the pillaging to commence.
I stepped out from the stacks when the presenter announced that the crowd could enter. She encouraged attendees to sign in, and pick up one each of the seventeen stacks of material on the table. As I took my first step, the horde surged past me. I narrowly avoided spinning like a cartoon Tasmanian Devil. Unwilling to lose an arm in the maelstrom of thrashing talons, I headed for a table at the edge of the library, with the intent to come back to the materials when the hubbub died down.
I found a chair at the end of an empty table. Upon the table in front of that chair, I placed my stack of note paper, topped by the grade report of The Pony. I laid my red rolling writer upon the grade report. And lastly, I set my new bifocals on top of the grade report. Like a beltless raincoat draped over a theater chair, my accoutrements signaled TAKEN. They could not have been mistaken as a mere pile of discarded scratch paper. After all, my personal touches were evident. A grade report with my son's name on it. Bifocals, for cryin' out loud.
Many of you who moonlight in forensics for the FBI might have surmised by now that something untoward is about to occur. That my personal territory-markers, tooting a tin horn with exuberant Christmas glee like Gizmo, the original Gremlin, are about to be drenched with Stripe spit. Figuratively, of course.
I returned from my information-gathering sortie, only to find that an unsavory segment of the mob had rushed my saved table like uncouth hillbillies stampeding from their neck of the woods to a town that lost its power, in an effort to grab their unfair share of the vittles being served up by the Red Cross. A self-important woman, a high priestess, perhaps, of the Vandals, had already directly linked her nether regions with the cushion of my saved chair. She was PASSING MY STACK OF PAPERS, PEN, AND BIFOCALS over the heads of other usurpers seated near her. "Here. Here. Somebody take this." Not merely pushing it aside. Pretending it wasn't marking my saved place. She was actively, aggressively, PASSING MY STACK OF PAPERS, PEN, AND BIFOCALS over various and sundry heads, attempting to dispose of the evidence.
I strode to her side. "Those are my papers. Give them to me. It looks like I'm sitting somewhere else."
She did not even have the common decency to cower before me. To make an excuse. In fact, I thought I was going to have to lean my ample bosom onto her head to hold still her swaying, like that of a King Cobra menacing before a strike. I recovered the tools of my trade while the howling jackals looked on, unabashed.
I retreated to the opposite end of the room, and sat in a seat that mirrored hers, the one that used to be mine. It was a great angle for giving her the stinkeye the rest of the evening.