Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Er, well, thanks. Or, you’re welcome. Or something.

I was making one of my regular jaunts to the outhouse this morning when I was halted by one of our secretaries—“There’s a lady at the counter who’s looking for some information about her property?” The implied question was, “Would you please see if you can help her.” I am usually the one who gets tagged in situations where, ahhh…the citizen standing there is less than clear in his or her requests. Yeah, that’s a nice enough way of saying it.

We get all sorts of lost souls up here, routed by folks downstairs who just want to be rid of them, and since (believe it or not) I am incredibly patient with deranged and angry and disaffected persons, I get to talk to them.

I walked out to the counter and no one was there. “Ma’am?” I asked the intern at the desk what happened and just then heard a scuffling below the edge of the counter. “Ma’am?” She was bent down doing something on the floor—I could just see a portion of her back. “Ma’am?” Scuffle. Shuffle. Flipflipflip. Rattle.

She finally stood up. “Oh, good, you’re here.”

“Yes, ma’am, how can I help you?”

She was not unattractive, of a certain age (and height), with tall, brunette hair (I think Ultress Dark Brown 3N, but I’m not real sure), brashly dressed, and was busy putting a bold pearl lavalier onto her glasses as she talked. And boy, did she talk.

I was able to garner that she had a piece of property, and wanted to know if it was in any special districts. “Okay… yes ma’… I’ll che… yes ma’am… just a mome…I’ll be righ…”

I came back to my desk, keyed it into our Super Whiz Bang Golly Gee Machine, pressed Play, and copied down her information—nothing out of the ordinary.

I took it back out, and she was devouring a city directory—“Did you just get these? I didn’t know that they had these! I can’t find my address ANYWHERE! Are these the [insert unintelligible name of something or somebody]?”


“What do you call these?”

“City directories.” I really wasn’t trying to be a smart aleck—they’re just city directories. My lack of a detailed answer didn’t seem bother her, though. I gave her the scrap of paper I had written her information on and told her she was good to go. “OH. That. Is. GREAT! That is SO wonderful. NOW. I need you to go write that all down on one of your business cards and give it to me so I’ll have it.” I turned to go, and she had another request, “AND, I need a copy of THIS PAGE right here out of this book!” I started to get it and make a copy when I went back—the copier sits right outside my door, after all. And I was really getting to be in a dire situation due to my interrupted journey to the necessary.

“NO! Honestly, if you can just first write that down—it’s the SINGLE most important thing, and THEN you can make the copy.”


“Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou…” Her voice trailed off behind me as I went back to my office and got out a card and came back to the counter and wrote down the same stuff that was on the slip of paper I had given her. “OH! This is SO wonderful. Now, if you will just staple your card onto this paper, I will just LOVE YOU until the day I die.”

Thanks, lady.

I grabbed a stapler and joined our hearts together as one, then grabbed the directory she was shoving at me. “Just that ONE PAGE please, if that’s okay!”

Copy, back to the counter, where she was now agitated. “I just CAN’T BELIEVE that my address is not in either of these books. I have LOOKED, and I have LOOKED, and I CANNOT FIND MY ADDRESS IN THESE BOOKS!” I gave her her copy, then took the larger of the two and started thumbing through the street names.

“I HOPE you can find it.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I just HAVE to know who all of the neighboring people are!”

“Yes, ma’am.” I suppose going next door and knocking was out of the question.

“Right here, ma’am. This page right here.”

“OH. HOW! DID! YOU! DO THAT!? Now, if I could get a copy of THAT page, it would just be so wonderful, and I would just LOVE YOU until the day I die.”

I thought we had that covered with the stapling, but I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to give an extra go at it.

Went and made the copy, then came back and gave it to her. She was very happy.

Some people, you know.

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