When I was a bit down over getting divorced, a good friend, Chloe, became worried about me. She read an article about how people who live alone live longer and higher quality lives if they have a pet. Determined to enrich and lengthen my life, she walked into my office one day with a large bag containing a bubble-fronted fish tank and a little fatso of a goldfish, complete with huge cheeks.
Immediately he was dubbed “Bubbles”. His tank was installed on one of my office shelves, since I was working ten-hour days, six days a week and wouldn’t see Bubbles if he lived at home. The janitor fed Bubbles over the weekend, and during the week, the staff would stop in to say hello to Bubbles even more than they came to see me.
Bubbles kept us all company for several months before the day he went to that big fish tank in the sky. But his sendoff by way of the local commode seemed inadequate somehow. The staff, who had been working furiously all through the dark winter to recover from the library’s roof collapse,* were dismayed and quickly hatched a plot to see Bubbles off with pomp and ceremony. The next night we descended on a local restaurant (the Boat Shed, a fitting place to say farewell to a fish). Fourteen or more of us took over the western end of the Boat Shed where we drank several toasts to our little golden friend and saluted his service.
|The Boat Shed, Bremerton, WA|
During the course of our drinks and meal and more drinks, we heard from my administrative assistant that her sister, Miss Danielle, was actually in the Boat Shed as well. Danielle was there on a blind date--and was meeting her new friend in the bar at the far end of the Boat Shed. It didn’t take long for all of us to decide that we needed to offer our lubricated and unsolicited advice to Miss Danielle on the acceptability of her date--despite never having met Danielle or her date! I led the parade as we abandoned our dinner (but took our drinks) and ALL of us proceeded to march the length of the restaurant to introduce ourselves to Miss Danielle and this Mathew fella to see if we approved of her latest “find”.
The conga line spanned the length of the bar AND the restaurant as each of us introduced ourselves and asked pointed questions of Mathew regarding his intentions and his suitability as, well, a suitor. But when we discovered he owned a local hot tub store, the lobbying began in earnest. We had just lost 2/3 of our library-media building* and were in the process of planning the new facility. Would he consider donating a hot tub? We were quick to share our aches, pains, insomnia, and variousconditions that would be alleviated by a soak. We also had a flat roof right outside the staff lunchroom, and with a little effort, we could possibly talk the architects into making the lunchroom window into a door.
The heckling went on, likely commensurate with the amount of alcohol imbibed, until the last of the staff had introduced themselves. Once we returned to our table, all of us noted how Danielle and Matthew had laughed their heads off through the entire exercise. We conferred and readily agreed Matthew had the staff’s medal of approval.
But while our instincts were excellent (they are still together more than 20 years later), we never got that hot tub.
*a story for another day