Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Goldilocks Returns With a Vengeance

The madness continues. Rogue Goldilocks can't just give a Secret Shopper review of the porridge and settle down for a nap. No. She has to mess with my stuff. Some more. I was starting to think that the scene that greeted me Wednesday morning was a figment of my overactive, conspiracy-theory-friendly imagination. Maybe pens cap themselves, and correction fluid pens shed their brand markings and grow new ones. Chairs walk twelve inches to be closer to other furniture. They've got four legs, you know. What are they supposed to do, let them atrophy? Laptops turn themselves off, don't they? Mine hasn't done that for two years, ever since all district computers were set to shut down at 5:00 p.m. But it could happen.

This morning, the carnage was worse. ALL of my pens had the caps placed over the writing end! My teacher texts were askew. My scissors in the top desk drawer were laying in the pencil trough. And a black calculator from the back of another drawer was topping my favorite purple Texas Instrument. My spare shoes were displaced, like they had taken a jog around the room. But wait! A most shocking sight rattled the windows to my soul. A Puff-With-Aloe lay on top of the trash in my small, deskside wastebasket. A Puff-With-Aloe covered with four red lipstick smudges. YIKES! Val and lipstick do not interface.

I asked Colleague if she was pranking me. She laughed. "You are too territorial. I think you're just crazy. Why don't you set a trap and see who you catch?" Hmpf! So much for nurturing me. You'd think twelve years of colleaguedom would amount to more. Did I ridicule her when, after seven years in the district, the music teacher mistook her for a cook? Well...yes, I did. But did I poke fun at her when she complimented a girl on her pirate goatee at the Halloween dance, and the girl's friend hung back and informed her that it wasn't part of the costume, and that the poor little gal was sensitive about her facial hair? Um...yes, I did. But still. Colleague should have more empathy.

Because these invasions of my control center are driving me crazy, I went straight to the person who would know. This afternoon I asked the custodian if anybody had been using my room after I left. It's the first room down the hall from the main entrance. It's not behind the double doors that are locked during sporting events. It has been commandeered for other functions before. Custodian said no. She assured me that she wipes down my desk with her bleach rag (note to self: find out when I became unclean), and that she might bump things on occasion. But a bleach rag would not put the caps on my pens, nor blot its bleachy, raggy lips with a Puffs-With-Aloe. I assured Custodian that I did not think it was her. After all, she's been doing this job for six weeks now. Surely she could not curtail her urges to mess with my stuff for that long, only to give in this week. No. I did not wish to put her on the defensive. But she's the key-master. Anybody wanting into my room would have to ask her. Perhaps a ticket-taker for the volleyball games needed some correction fluid to grade papers during down time. Or had to freshen up her makeup because taking tickets is such a demanding task.

I told Custodian that I suspected several faculty of pranking me. That one incident had happened at 8:00 a.m., a time when Custodian is not even in the building. She agreed. Somebody must pranking me. She went about her merry way, not touching other Who's ink pens as she cleaned other Who's classrooms.

As I gathered my things to leave, I knocked my large cup of water off the desk. The lid popped off, and pieces of ice left from this morning scattered like dice out of a Yahtzee cup. Sweet well water surged outward from my desk. I hustled to grab the last of my home paper towels from the cabinet. They didn't absorb much of Lake Shame. I ran (okay, I walked at a normal pace) to the workroom and cranked out some school paper towels, known more for their likeness to printer paper than their quicker-picker-upper technology.

I tossed down the industrial paper towels, and was shocked to see the extent of Lake Shame. Waves crashed under the table, heading for the back, unreachable wall. I swear I saw whitecaps. A national forest of paper products could not soak up Lake Shame. The clock was ticking. The Pony awaited me in the schoolyard across town. I hastily scribbled a note for Custodian. "I spilled some water under my desk. Be careful not to slip. It's just water. It will evaporate by Monday."

I fear she will think I set a trap to catch her messing with my desk.

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