Wednesday, August 09, 2006
A CHAIR IS STILL A CHAIR...
... EVEN WHEN THERE'S NO ONE SITTING THERE.
Picture it: I was early to the Argo Tea Cafe last evening in order to lay claim to a little space for my fellow Stitches in Britches knitters. I sat at a table, and put my bag on the chair opposite me to ensure at least one chair for my friends. I then brought out the lace and commenced knitting.
A few minutes later, as overdressed tourists sought some way to kill time until the theatre next door opened their doors, a woman in High Uptight Episcopalian Drag walked up, tilted the chair so that my bag slipped to the floor, and started away with the chair -- without so much as a howdydo.
Lucky for me, the chair was close enough to me that I could reach out and grab it before she could wisk it away. Now, normally, if someone had asked if they could use the chair, I would explain that I was being joined by someone and they were welcome to use the chair until my guest arrived. Usually another chair has been vacated before anyone shows, so the issue is moot.
But this woman didn't ask nicely. And that got my Irish up. I grabbed the chair and said, "I'm sorry, that seat is taken." She replied, with a snear and a sickly-sweet Southern drawl, "Where I come from, a chair isn't in use if no one is sitting in it."
I kept my hold firm, and met her snear with a wilting look that would have made my mother proud. And I said, in a volume certain to attrack the attention of at least a few of the people around me, "Well, that may be how they do things in Bugtussle, Honey, but here in the big city we ask politely and say please and thank you."
She increased her snear and say, in a mocking tone, "Please?"
And I met her mocking tone and said "No."
Still holding tight to the chair, she said loudly, "Well, I never!"
And all I could think to say in reply was "Believe me, Honey. It shows."
People in the near vicinity laughed out loud. She released her grip and slunk away. I felt like I had lost ten pounds.