i can be a clumsy person. i was a clumsy person this past friday night. i went to my favorite coffeehouse and was waiting for two others to join me-and that's when it all went down. i'm also a board game enthusiast and was one on friday night. here's the deal...
i had just entered the gryphon, with scrabble tucked under my right arm, and an aluminum tin of 144 domino's stacked atop the slender rectangular box. i was doing great, just fine (yes, for the whole 12 seconds i thus far had managed to balance the two against my ribcage), until for some reason i decided to drop the darn tin and let loose all 144 tiles. so, all over the floor they spewed- with force, vigor and speed. and yes, some even jumped ship, slid under the front door of the cafe and landed outside on the cement sidewalk, surprising the corral of teenagers that mingled there.
i think the only reason i felt a bit dumb, was because not a soul, not one, helped to pick up the tiles. it was like being in 7th grade, dropping your trapper keeper, and having all your folders and papers fly out in every which direction, and instead of your fellows giving you a hand, they peruse past with speed and indifference.
the people behind the counter just kinda glanced my direction. (everyone knew I dropped my domino's because of the obnoxious noise the tin made, hitting the wooden planked floor, welcoming the crashing 144). and I understand that the behind the counter people didn't help, they had work to do. but there was this one young fella, about 25 years old, who i've actually seen there quite a bit (he may even work there) who was no more than 9 feet away from the seen of the accident, and he just stared at me. he stared. it almost made me sick.
how can an individual, a supposed gentleman at that, not even offer a hand to someone, someone who clearly could have used one, to clear the 144 from the threshold of the doorway they cluttered and stoppered. if it were a girl, i'd be just as bothered. he never said he was a gentleman, so i can't hold him to that. but i just couldn't, and still can't, get over the fact that no one offered to help.
so, at an average pace, i managed to pick up all 144. and actually, i did get almost help from one of the teenagers outside. as i was on all four, the door cracked opened and in came a forearm with 6 domino's clenched tightly in the fist belonging to the arm. (i imagine there was a face to go with the arm, but i wasn't offered a glimpse). "here," the arm said. and that's all i got.
once the tiles were ordered in their box, i got a drink and found my way to the old kitchen table. about 8 minutes later, after i jotted a note of frustration about it all, my two friends joined me, and with them, i shared my sob story. i think i ended the story saying something like this:
"the most annoying part of dropping the 144 wasn't that i looked like a fool, but that i didn't get the opportunity to meet a new friend in the endeavor of cleaning the mess. you see, it's in the messiness of life that we have opportunities to help another, to love another or sadly to neglect another."
and that was that.