I was recently assigned to set up an informational table at a local event. As I arrived at 7:15 a.m., I was surprised to walk into the gym walked into the gym to find dozens of providers already set up and ready to welcome the incoming clients. Since the doors had not officially opened yet, almost 100 clients were already lining up outside!
I searched for the table that was supposed to be mine, but I didn’t see it. One of the organizers must have noticed my look of dismay, so he asked if he could help me. I told him the name the table should have been under, he looked at his clipboard and said “Oh! Your table is downstairs! Follow me!”
“Okay!” I said as I gathered up my display board, signs, handouts, coffee and bamboo plant (I usually have a plant on my table when I do tabling events. Most organizations have candy. I have a plant.) I know. I'm strange.
I followed the man to the elevator where we traveled one floor down to the basement. “This way!” he said as he made his way down the dimly lit corridor. As we walked further and further I thought: “Am I going to be able to find my way out of here? Should I have dropped breadcrumbs so I can get back to the elevator?” We finally arrived at my assigned table, and once he pointed it out, he disappeared.
The other three providers in the room said hello and asked if I needed help setting up. I thanked them but said I could do it on my own. A few minutes later, I was all set up and ready to go. I had planned to show a slideshow of our volunteers and past events, so I was setting that up on my laptop when a woman blew into the room like a tornado.
“Where is MY table?” she asked the same man who had so joyfully led me downstairs a few minutes earlier.
“Right there,” he said, pointing to right where I was sitting. “You’re taking one half of the table and she (meaning me) is taking the other.”
“WHAT?” she huffed. “First you bring me to a dungeon and then I don’t even have a whole table to myself?”
The man’s face dropped and he turned away from her. “Have a nice day!” he said as he disappeared again.
I immediately stood up and began to move my things to make room for hers. Just as I moved to the end of the table to adjust my laptop, I felt the table moving toward me. The woman was furiously pushing the table over so that she would have more room for her things. What she didn’t know was that the table was literally on its last leg, so it immediately collapsed onto my ankles and feet, sending all of its contents (aka MY STUFF) crashing onto the floor.
My pumpkin Dunkin Donuts coffee? Spilled.
My laptop? On the floor, but luckily it was okay.
My lucky bamboo plant? Crushed and emptied of it’s dirt. It’s little leaves were broken and scattered all over the floor. So much for good luck!
As the table came crashing down on me, the woman gasped. “Oh my GOD! She said. “I am so sorry! I didn’t mean to do that!”
I didn’t respond, because I knew she had pushed the table because she was upset. I don't think anticipated the table falling over. As I began to pick everything, my fellow providers rushed over to help as well.
Camille from City Hall ran to find some lysol wipes to wipe up the dirt.
Corey from the Consumer Affairs office in Boston grabbed paper towels.
Within a few minutes, the table was upright again. The woman didn’t say another word. She simply finished setting up her brochures.
I know she was disappointed about being placed in a basement room when she expected to be placed upstairs where all of the activity was happening. I felt the same way! But instead of huffing and puffing and blowing tables over, I set up my materials and made a few new friends (Namely: Corey and Camille).
A couple of hours after I arrived, one of my volunteers came downstairs and said “What are you doing down here? Your table is supposed to be upstairs!” He helped me pack everything up and then showed me where I could set up upstairs. I was able to spend the rest of the day where all the action was happening! No more basement dwelling for me.
And the women who made all the ruckus? She remained where she complained, and she (nor her table helpers) never left her basement quarters.
What was my lesson in this moment?
Scripture: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good... — Genesis 50:20(a) NASB:
I hope you have the most amazing weekend ever!
Mama. Wife. Poet. Teacher. Maniac.