Last night, I had the pleasure of presenting Science Fair awards and checks at the board meeting. Or as some folks in the audience might have called it, The Bored Meeting. Because they see it as a big deal, a definite honor to be honored there, but they're just not that into it.
The Pony and I swung by my mom's house to kill some time and avoid a drive all the way back to the Mansion between school and the meeting. She fed us some flatbread pizza and chicken strips, provided us each with our own couch, put Jeopardy on the TV, and hung breathlessly onto our every utterance. She's a peach.
Farmer H met us at the venue. Or as most would call it, the Basementia gym. As The Pony and I climbed out of T-Hoe, Farmer H started jawing with an old man and old lady who were walking in ahead of us. He seemed to know them. I assumed they must be the grandparents or parents of somebody he went to school with. Finding ourselves locked out, we sent The Pony back to the end door to come through and let us in. We waited. And waited. I did not see him through the door glass slits.
"He can't get in. Where is he?"
"He can get in. I just saw the principal of Elementia go through that door. It's open."
"I don't think so. Where's The Pony?" Just then a disembodied woman's voice told us to come in. Nobody else seemed to hear. Was I having an auditory hallucination? I tried the door handle. IT OPENED! We went in, and so did that old couple. Farmer H followed them towards the gym. "Wait a minute! Where's The Pony? We have to find him. We have to at least wait and let him in. He's being honored." The Pony appeared outside the doors. He pulled. He made a face. He started flapping his hands. Shrugging. I hollered to Farmer H to go back and let him in.
"Why didn't you come in the end door? Principal Elementia did."
"Uh. Yeah. Principal Elementia has a number code for the keypad."
We proceeded to the relatively empty gym. Principals Newmentia and Elementia were readying awards on a table by the podium. I went in search of a chair to sit against the gym wall. No way was I climbing those creaky wooden steps up to the 1930s era bleachers and relatively newer seats. I would have to stay handy to do my presenting. Handy, but not standy. Farmer H accompanied me to carry an old wooden straightbacked chair that I found in an unsecured storeroom.
By this time, people were arriving, and finding that they were locked out. Some started banging on the metal gym lobby doors. Too bad, so sad. I was not going to leave my perch every 30 seconds to go let people in. Not my job. The overseer of that facility should have planned ahead. Or at least been there by now. The Principals started calling around to see who could disarm the security system. Nobody was in the office to continually buzz people in. Seriously. They were invited. To greet them with a locked door was not very polite. Finally, someone got the bright idea to prop those doors open with their built-in metal door-hook thingies. As the first group surged past me and up the steps, a lady frowned at me and said, "We were locked out!" Like I was the one responsible. Like I should have taken it upon myself to run around and sort out the problems created by those in charge. I looked at her. "I KNOW! You should have seen what I had to go through to get in!"
So the people surged in and filled all the chairs and some of the bleachers. The program got underway. My fellow presenters showed up. Arch Nemesis also went to find a chair. The other hardy souls stood with a foot bent back against the smooth concrete block wall. Certain presenters were allowed to go first, due to a concert within the hour over at Nementia.
When my turn arrived, I congratulated my 20 participants this year, 19 of whom placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or HM. I called them down. Handed out their checks and certificates. They went to get their pictures taken. I went back to my chair.
THERE WAS A WOMAN SITTING ON IT!
I don't know who she was. Not an employee of the district. Surely she could see that she had invaded the bullpen of employed presenters. That other audience members were sitting in the audience section. But there she sat. ON MY CHAIR!
My colleagues turned to look at me, their eyes as round as the eyes of Japanese anime characters. As round as the eyes of Precious Moments figurine children. As round as the bodies of honeypot ants before their brethren suck them dry. Eyes that said silently: "We tried to stop her! We did! Please don't hold us responsible. We don't know how to handle this situation. You were gone. She was here. Now we can't get rid of her." Arch Nemesis even offered me HER chair, but I declined. I held up the wall.
When Arch Nemesis went over to present her awards, I casually slipped into her chair. That usurper in MY wooden chair looked at me like, "What do you think you're doing?" It was all I could do to give her the cold shoulder. When Arch came back, I offered her own seat to her. She declined. But when the intruder jumped up to leave a few awards later, Arch filled my wooden chair before it was cool.
Principal Elementia wrapped up the evening by recognizing adult mentors. I felt bad for him. And for them. Because just as he began describing the program, and how it benefits the students, almost the entire remaining audience arose to leave. As in clomp across the creaky wood like buffalo on a stampede. Those rats scampered off the sinking ship like...um...rats off a sinking ship!
People can be so rude.
Oh, and those old people Farmer H was talking to? He went to school with them. The lady is even younger than Farmer H.