At my day job, which I never write about but my boss has assured me I wouldn’t be fired, we put on plays to which we, obviously, sell tickets. Our theater holds 4000 people and I’m one of three people who work year round to make this shit go down as smoothly as possible.
I should’ve known this past Sunday was going to suck when I walked into the theater only to be stopped by a volunteer demanding to know where my ticket was.
“I don’t have a ticket.”
“You can’t come in without a ticket.”
So I make my way to the theater and set up, reserving seats for my biggest donors and sponsors. Yeah, I try not to deal with the regular folks. I can really only maintain a professional and charming demeanor with people who help me meet my development budget. Sadly, the fancy pants reserved section is right below the disabled section.
So when one of my Board Members came over and found me in deep conversation with someone who basically funds my entire salary, I was a little miffed to be interrupted.
“Someone in Disabled is angry that their ticket was so expensive.”
“Are you kidding me? Disabled tickets are cheaper than our already cheap regular tickets.”
“Yeah, I know. Will you please talk to her?”
“I hate confrontation.”
“Well, someone’s got to talk to her.”
I make my way up to disabled where a little old lady LEAPS from her seat.
“I understand there’s an issue with your ticket.”
“I know you. You’re Beth Spot-wood.”
Oh god. It was Mrs. McHumorless, my 1st Grade teacher.
Now, keep in mind there are 4000 people in this theater, approximately 1000 of which have some kind of issue they want to kvetch about and 2 people to kvetch to. And I’m stuck getting yelled at by this woman who seems to think time has stood still for the past 23 years. Apparently, I’m still 7.
No pleasantries, no asking about what I’m up to, no congratulations on pulling off this massive event…just rude, angry, confused and horrified bitching about $13.
I just stood there and took it, trying to explain that there was a mix-up when she bought her ticket and obviously, we’d try and fix it.
On and on she went, unable to be remotely kind to the very person she taught to subtract.
“Well, let me run up the hill to concessions and try and get you some money.”
It was my passive aggressive way of hoping she’d realized $13 was not worth going down as a cheap ass bitch. Her response?
I was pissed!
So pissed, I didn’t get her the goddamn $13.
Instead, I regaled my office, my parents, my childhood friends with the story. I lay awake at night thinking of all the things I wanted to say to her. On the advice of my father, I actually considered getting $13 in nickels. Seriously, this 10 minute encounter really riled me up.
And I just sent her the following note, via the US Postal Service.
“Mrs. McHumorless, Enclosed, please find the $13 owed to you. I took it from PETTY cash. I thought it appropriate. Regards, Beth SpotSwood.”
Suddenly, I feel so much better…