Friday, April 8, 2011
The Silent Killer Auction
I was working the admissions table and much to my dismay and embarrassment, people kept coming up and complaining that the change I had given them was inaccurate. The young girl volunteering next to me was pregnant, and she kept apologizing for me. (Even when she paid me, I got her change wrong. Apparently, I charged her for her unborn child. Oops.) As we got to know one another, I learned that she has a little girl in a class where you go once a week to play with your child and sit in a circle. Oh, and if you are lucky, you get to change a few diapers that don't belong to your child, as well. You pay for this, and it is such an honor.
I was giving this one guy a hard time about asking for his money back, "because my wife already paid." Right. And I got up from the table with him to look at the merchandise.
"I'm just messin' with you," I explained.
And he goes, 'Oh, you're joking. I joke too, but I didn't really understand if you were serious or not." This seems to be a recurring social problem I have.
"You wanna hear a blond joke," he inquired, breaking a sweat and pushing his bangs back.
"Sure!" I exclaim, happy to be released from my volunteer duties.
"I mean we're in a Church, but do you think it's appropriate?" He seems nervous.
"It's not a sin, because I'm not a real blond," I winked.
He continues, "Okay, there's this blond and her house is on fire. She calls the fire department and tells them that her house is on fire."
"Okaaay." What in the hell is coming next, I am thinking.
"Well, when she calls them, they say "How do we get there?" And she says, "with a big red truck and some ladders!"
"You were afraid to tell that in a church? Is that all you got?" I was clearly disappointed.
At that point, he sauntered away, obviously defeated. AWKWARD.
Anyway, everytime I go to one of these things, I have some negative interaction with another adult that mirrors a playground squabble. One year, I was bidding on this large purse that was donated from a rep from Abercrombie or something, and I got into a bidding war with a dude, that's right, I said a dude. Apparently, his wife was with child, (I found this out later) and she just HAD to have it for her diaper bag. Listen, I understand pregnancy hysteria as much as the next person. I just don't relate to it, when it is a dude who is channeling it.
So, anyway, it was my first silent auction (because I am normally too emotionally and socially fragile to attend one of these things) and I am getting that purse. Brad, who is on the Board there, sent me in our place, because he developed "a headache" right before we were leaving, so in my mind, he was going to PAY for my time. My friends and the teachers knew this, so they were rooting for me, as well. I just LOVE women, don't you?
"You gotta get that purse, gurl," demanded my friend, we'll call her Lauren, president of all things with "organization" at the end. "He OWES you that. He is probably cuddled up watching ESPN right now and you're watchin' all three of his kids and workin' the admissions table." LOVE her. GURL power!
She is also the friend that yelled out to me in the packed preschool hall the day of registration, "Where were you this morning? You forgot to sign your kids up for next year."
"I've got my enrollment paperwork right here!" I yelled back as I waved the sheets in the air while balancing a baby on my hip and holding another's hand.
"You're never gonna get in the class you want. There were people lined up around the block at 6am this morning!" She assessed her posse and announced, "Looks like Underwood's gonna be homeschoolin' this year!" Her posse roared with laughter (some of the which were teachers).
"Gurl, I do afternoon. YOU know that." I recovered.
"Oh, that's right. You're fine. NOBODY does afternoons."
Anyway, the lights are blinking, indicating the end of the auction, and I happen to be signing up for the next incremental price at that very moment. Lauren comes over the speaker or yells into her monogrammed bull horn or something, and she announces that the auction is over. The details are fuzzy because my stress level was so high at the time.
"You won!" Lauren screams, revealing her perfectly white straight teeth, while I rummage for my checkbook in my other impossibly oversized purse. "Oh no. What's he doing?" The dude is writing in his bid under mine after the lights had blinked. What was happening?
I walked over to him and he was standing in front of the purse and the sign up sheet with his arms folded and a huge smile on his face. I picked up the sheet and explained that the auction was over and that I had won. (Not my favorite social interaction to have.)
He snatches the sheet out of my hand and hisses, "Well, we'll just SEE ABOUT THAT!" and at that moment I notice what must be his wife standing in the corner with a smirk on her face. Let's not ignore the fact that the guy is also about 5 feet taller than I am and let me reiterate - A MAN.
I was shaking as he stomped over to Lauren and demanded that she tell him who is responsible for overpaying for the purse. She declared me the winner and then here he comes again toward me with his confrontational swagger. I was actually experiencing that "fight or flight" response that animals get in the wild. He throws (yes, throws) the sheet in the air and as it floats delicately in front of me, he spat, "I guess YOU won. ENJOY YOUR PURSE!"
Still trembling, I wrote the check, scooped up my kids and hightailed it to my car. Just as I was strapping someone in their car seat, I glance over my shoulder to recognize the Nazi Purse couple glaring at me from inside their minivan.
My recommendation today is to not act like a total asshole at school fundraisers. Period. This includes ME, natch.