Friday, February 14, 2014

Coy - Part Twenty-Nine - "I Go A-Fishing" - (A)


Part Twenty-Nine

"I Go A-Fishing"


            What happens next... is two fold and ...deceptive... in magnitude.  Observed within this setting; the morning of the historical society’s Holiday Fair grand opening fourteen years ago... both occurrences COULD ‘slip by’... even my... knowing eye.  They didn’t.
            First, one status notice... seemingly too, to be of a ‘slip by’ significance.  The Holiday Fair... although lasting four days and ‘through the weekend’... as a sort of ‘open house’... has its main event, main gathering and highest visitor moment... at this Thursday morning opening.  This is the ‘FAIR’ ‘GRAND’ “opening” including all baked goods, all crafts and crafting, all cookies, all doggies (and a few cats too!) and all ...members... sans CHILDREN... who are ‘at school’.  The fair starts ‘after the (morning school) bus’ and is OVER... in this grand open... open house... BEFORE the ‘afternoon (school) bus.  This is done this way to maximize the attendance of ‘those that count’ who ‘count best’ when NOT encumbered with ‘children’.  It also ‘leaves’ a whole day BEFORE the weekend for these “WE WANT THEM ACTIVE” at the open house... attendees... to ‘recover’ before the weekend.  AND... this scheduling also ‘takes into account’ competing local holiday (craft) fairs that, for example, local churches ‘have’... ‘on the weekend’ as declared by them to be taking place “THEN” as long as a “YEAR AGO”.  These ‘they’ do not like competition and conflict-ing-dates.
            Everyone understands this.
            It is a ...statue... of WASP etiquette.
            So... ‘the kids are in school’... therefore “I can act like a fool”... this morning... with “OUR DOG” in a homemade holiday costume parade ‘with everyone (and their dogs too) there’ and with... cookies, cake, eggnog, ‘spiked’(?) eggnog, candy, mistletoe, gossip, ‘best’ clothes... “BEST SHOES” and... “OH I AM EXHAUSTED” ‘when it’s over’.
            Within this crowded setting... a doggie-on-leash pre-parade ...skirmish... is taking place that saves my life from having my throat cut by Mr. (Dump) (Part Twenty-Eight) AND cause I, looking into the room above Mr. (Dump) to “no surprise” see a sport jacket and tie male fleeing the skirmish by heading straight for the ‘obvious safety’ of Mr. (Dump) and I as a... fellow males in jacket and tie ISLAND of... 
The director of collections (?) arrives.  And greets.  And does not look back... over his shoulder... to see... what I behold... of the fussy scramble of ‘the women’, ‘the doggies’, the leashes... the... spilled... eggnog.  The application of paper towels.  Women bending over ways they shouldn’t... or just ‘shouldn’t’... while other women... ‘continue eating’.  Et al.
            “Did you SHOW HIM yet?  We must be SURE to SHOW HIM.” says the curator.
            “No I haven’t had a CHANCE to MENTION...” said Mr. (Dump).
            “OH YOU MUST SEE our DISPLAY of the COMPUTER!”
            “I...” I said.
            “NOW it is EVERYTHING it has been SAID TO BE!  We’re just FINDING OUT EVERYTHING we HAVE NOW.  SO wonderful.  It is working SO WELL.  He’s done it all” continued the curator gesturing to Mr. (Dump).  “Come on; take him over.  But come right back.  You have to JUDGE (the doggies in the holiday outfit parade) you know.”  The curator starts forward shooing Mr. (Dump) before him into the office alcove where I, following, discern three high school students (“They’re out of school for the DAY to BE HERE”); one girl, two boys (Melissa, Eric and Tom (“TOMMY”) ‘manning’ a computer workstation ...set up in the hall between the offices... with... no... one... ‘there’ (viewing the historical society’s ‘special’ ‘new’ ‘archive’ ‘inventory’ ‘management’ ‘COMPUTER’ ‘system’).
            “This is MELISSA, this is ERIC.  THIS is TOMMY.  Eric.  You show this man EVERYTHING you’ve been doing.”
            Eric, jarred to teenage alert status, looks from the curator to me.  “Everything?” he says.
            “OH JUST how it WORKS.  What you do to ...well... ADD to the INVENTORY of the collection.  PUT SOMETHING IN the computer.”
            “ON the computer.” says Mr. (Dump) to the curator.
            “Yes.  Whatever.  And then show him how we can SEE IT.  He’ll be VERY interested I’m sure”.
            I’m still carrying my box of glassware purchases WITH the snack bowl ...upside down and on top.  I glance to my right, spy, step too, bend over and... free my hands by sliding my box of plunder onto the floor and under... a drop leaf table (circa 1840’s heavy leg late Sheraton style... for those who’d care).  I stand erect, my hands free, with the computer display before me, Mr. (Dump) to my right and... the curator... gone... back to... the doggie parade “is about to start”.
            Mr. (Dump) and I... are alone together... with the historical society’s new starship enterprise collection inventory computer mother ship AND its crew of ...three high school students.  “Show him.” Mr. (Dump) commands and then... he’s gone too; to ‘judge’ the doggie parade.  I am... alone... ON the historical society’s new starship enterprise.  I’m beamed aboard...
            By Eric
            Who take charge
            Of his charge
            With a charge
            Of grabbing a few manila folders off of the first of three stacks on the table.  He opens the top folder revealing a ...mid-nineteenth century ‘pamphlet in original wrappers’ WITH a slip of paper ...having a handwritten ink note  on it... consisting of author... short title and ... (old) collection number... on it.

            “This is ready to be scanned on to the computer.” says Eric taking the pamphlet, putting in upon the scanner, closing ‘the hatch’, pushing ...a... button and ... “SCANNED” it is.  Appearing on the screen of the computer, the document is... down sized by Eric to reveal a second (?) of a fill-in-the-blanks inventory document.  “I type this (referring to the slip of paper in his hand) on to that” he says gesturing to the blank document.  Melissa slips into the chair before the key board and SHE, as Eric deploys the ink note before her... ‘types it in’... to the blanks.  Then... the documents are merged... and... “added to the collection”... “ON the computer”.  Says Eric.  To me.
            “Very nice, Eric.” I say.  “DO another one.”
            Eric, repeating all with Melissa typing too... does that.
            I pick up a folder from the second pile on the table.  I open it and see a mid-nineteenth century... local town history... ‘pamphlet in original wrappers’ WITHOUT a slip of paper.

            “Those folders have things that are part of the collection but have no card in the collection.” Say Eric, observing my folder.  “We have to fill out the inventory document using the actual document.  That takes longer.”
            “Who does that?” I ask.
            “We do.” Says Eric.
            “So... for example... YOU decide who and what the author and title of this is.  Where it was published and when?  Right?”
            “Yep.  WE do.  It’s not hard to do but takes longer.  And there’s no collection number so we make one for it.  That’s probably the hardest.”
            “Oh.” I say... looking down at the pamphlet in the folder.  The pamphlet, again, is a ‘local (Maine) history’ item. “What’s hard about it?”
            “Choosing the right collection to put it in.  Mostly it’s local Maine history.  But some aren’t.”
            “So they...:  You LIKE history?”
            “Yeah.  Sort of.  We all do.”
            “What’s sort of?”
            “We’re from computer class.  We like computers.” (remember; this is fourteen years ago).
            “Oh.  I see.  Just a little history?  What do you like for history?”
            “The Civil War.  And stuff.”
            “And stuff?”
            I set the folder with the pamphlet back on the second stack and picked up the top folder from the third stack.  Opening the folder I beheld, again, a mid-nineteenth century ‘pamphlet in original wrappers’ ...again... WITHOUT a slip of paper.  Eric watched me.  What I beheld was a... in rough old barn found condition... pamphlet that I recognized as a very scarce, early and obscure pamphlet for the Rangeley Lakes, Maine, region.  All Rangeley region ‘old paper’ and rare books are ‘good’ and some are quite rare.  This particular pamphlet passes this standard for it is not only rare but... obscuring this rarity... is that... because of the sacristy causing its obscurity... most, including most collectors... don’t ‘know about it’; do not know this rare pamphlet... exists.
            I knew about it.  I’d ‘had one’ (owned and sold a copy) before.  I knew both the rarity and the collector obscurity.  One ‘cannot look it up’ easily... if at all.  IT IS ‘look-up-able’ but most efforts of ‘looking up’ would not be able to ‘find it’.  That this day (as I write)...; the ‘now’ of including the decades of search engine innovations.  Too.  I also note that since it is so obscure... it is ‘not that valuable’ in dollars ...because there is ‘none around’ with a ‘price on it’.  It’s hard to get a lot of money for something that no one knows about.

            Who knows about ...the copy of this pamphlet right here... right now?
            I do.
            Who else?
            Eric, et al?
            The curator of collections?
            Mr. (Dump)?
            “Those are the things Mr. (Dump) hasn’t found yet.” said Eric.
            “Oh.” I said.  “What happens to those?”
            “I don’t know.” says Eric.  “Mr. (Dump) puts ‘em in that pile.  Every box has some.”
            “Box has some?”
            “Yeah.  We’re doing it (inventorying and scanning) one box at a time.  Mr. (Dump) sorts the box when we bring it out (of the collection’s storage room).  See.” said Eric pointing to  a box at the corner of the table.  I look in the box.  In the bottom of the box are about twenty loose pieces of ‘old paper’.
            “What are those?” I say pointing into the box.
            “Those aren’t worth scanning now he says.” said Eric.
            “What happens to those?” I ask.
            “I don’t know.  He was putting them all in one box I think.”
            “How many boxes are there; that you’ve done.  Scanned?  Inventoried?’
            “Oh I don’t know.” Said Eric.  “I do know that we’d scanned and inventoried two hundred and seventy-eight item by last Friday.  That’s when we finished last week.”
            “Oh. Good job, huh.  Going well.”
            “It does take longer than I thought it wood.  All I thought about was the scanning.  There’s a lot more to it like where the document IS or should GO and stuff like that.”
            “Yeah... someone has to figure that out.”
            “Mr. (Dump) does that mostly”.
            “But you guys do the scanning and inventory.”
            “Yeah.  After he puts them in the piles.”
            “What happens to the stuff then?”
            “I don’t know.  It all goes back into the room.  I guess.  Then we start another box”.
            “So... everything in the box is scanned and inventoried before the next box comes out.”
            “Right. But just the stuff Mr. (Dump) puts in the piles.  That pile...” says Eric pointing to the third pile with the rare Rangeley pamphlet on top... “just keeps getting more stuff on it.  Sort of.  It’s just stayed there.  Once they’re cataloged on the computer everyone looks at them there.  It’s a real lot easier to see what there is.”
            “But you can’t see that actual item.”
            “You don’t need to unless you want to, like, READ it or something.  Then they can get it from the collection.”
            “They use the number?”
            “Sort of.  It’s in the collection’s boxes.  You know; like the Civil War stuff is in the Civil War boxes.”
            “No one does that much so far (ask to see the actual item).  Everyone is using the computer now.  That’s why we’re scanning the card catalog too.  We’re doing real well on that.”
            “Where is that?”
            “Right in the room there.”
            “Oh.” Pause.  “That’s a separate project?”
            “Yeah.  That file is separate from the new catalog system.  We’re just scanning that as a record of the catalog.”
            “You can search the scan?”
            “No.  Well... we ARE scanning that in alphabetical order... so, you can search it I guess.  We’d have to make another card for each card to be able to search it like the collection’s inventory.”
            “I see.  I understand that.  The old catalog is, well... pretty obsolete huh.”
            “Only Mr. (Dump) ever uses it and that’s just to try and look up stuff we find in the boxes.  A lot of it isn’t even in there (the old card catalog).  So... that’s why we’re not cataloging everything.  There’s just too much of it.  We do what he tells us to do and he’s getting the important stuff he says.  Otherwise we’d be doing this for a century.  I mean:  I’m going to graduate next year and this is my senior project.  So it will have to be someone else’s senior project after that.”
            “Makes sense.  Your doing a good job.”
            NOW... if the reader hasn’t figured out that the historical society’s collection has had a ...smoothly operating game of ‘musical chairs’ set up in its collection I ALERT that I HAD figured that out.  The fox with the chickens... plays the music of the ‘inventory’ of the ‘collection’ on the ‘computer’.  When the music stops, everyone sits down and what’s... in the collection is... what’s on the computer and... anything else... like an empty chair... or an almost empty box with scrap paper in the bottom... or folders ‘of stuff’ that ‘I couldn’t find’ are....
            Taken away?
            If it’s not in the inventory... it’s not in the collection... because it wasn’t ...ever... in the collection... was it?  If it wasn’t in the card catalog... it wasn’t in the collection?  If the card in the card catalog is scanned on to the computer but no one can search that ‘old catalog’ on the computer ‘easily’ who will search it? ...:  To see... IF an IT was once IN that ‘old catalog’... IF that old catalog is still there after they ‘scanned’ that catalog so ‘don’t need that anymore’ so sold it ‘at the annual summer yard sale’ (Parts Twenty and Twenty-One).
            Who knows all this beside me?
            Mr. (Dump) returned from judging the doggie holiday outfits.
            “LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?” he says to me as I was... just figuring I should FLEE the area before I become suspect.
            He knows all of this besides me.
            He, using the computer ‘up grade’ of the historical society’s collections AS the music for a game of musical chairs... has established the boundaries of the ‘up grade’ collection without... anyone at all ...caring.
            Or knowing this
            Except I?
            He... knows THAT... TOO:  “Bombardier to pilot”.
            “I see that your TEAM IS making a big change for the Society’s collection.” I say.
            “YES.  Definitely a change it will be for them to know what they have and where it is.”
            “Some of these, Eric says, you haven’t identified yet.  Or found them.  In the collection.  I guess.” I say picking up the folder with the Rangeley guide in it.  “Like this?”  I continue handing  the folder to Mr. (Dump).
            Mr. (Dump) opens the folder, glances at it, starts to close the folder and says “ALL in GOOD TIME.  THERE IS, as you must be aware, a great deal of material to sort through.  IN TIME we will find it all and have it cataloged.  As you know many items are obscure and hard to I-DEE.”  He closes the folder.
            “THAT ONE there.  I’ve HAD THAT before.”
            “This?” says Mr. (Dump) opening the folder again and actually reaching his right hand out and picking up the guide book... keeping all within the folder... but looking down upon it.  “Seems to me... I have HANDLED a copy before too.”
            “I bought and SOLD mine.” I said touching in a slightly testy inflection.  “It’s a rare thing; that one.”
            “I believe... you are quite right on that.”
            “It’s rare enough that I’d sure remember seeing it (here).  Don’t see that one around.” I said while picking up the folder that was under the Rangeley guide folder... from the same pile.  I open the folder, glance at the contents, I-DEE for myself that contents, close the folder and put it back all while Mr. Dump... holds the actual Rangeley guide in his hand and... this all taking less time than it does to WRITE IT DOWN.

            What I I-DEED was a mid-nineteenth century... local town history... ‘pamphlet in original wrappers’.  It is the same type of pamphlet as the pamphlet I’d looked at from the top of the SECOND pile... when I was talking to Eric.  BUT THIS ONE HAS A BIG DIFFERENCE.
            The difference between this local history and that local history is and economic.  The FIRST pamphlet is from the middle of nowhere, Maine (“East Jesus”).  The SECOND one is from a very, very, very well known highly regarded upper class mega rich ISLAND town... ‘on the coast’ “IT’S BEAUTIFUL OUT THERE”.
            I know this; the difference between the two ‘towns’.  And the pamphlets.  It’s about money; street value cash... and THIS is based on the and economic settings of the subject towns.  The first pamphlet ‘will not sell’ so is not worth any money.  The second pamphlet may be ‘offered’ for two to three hundred dollars because... ‘anyone’ who’d be ‘interested in that’ ‘can pay that’... for it.
            And more.
            A nasty ‘and more’.
            It goes back to ‘who cares?’ (Part Fourteen [A and B])  The first pamphlet’s town... ‘can’t read’ and ‘don’t read’ “up there”.  Very, very, VERY few ‘up there’ are ‘reading’ ANYTHING let alone carefully acquired antique ‘old paper’ and ‘rare books’ regarding that town’s history.  No one cares, no one reads, no one even ‘knows about this’ pamphlet.  AND IF ONE DID ‘seek it’, one may find it on a ‘catalog on line’ AT a ...historical society’s collection and ...have it ‘called up’ for ‘viewing’ if not actually ‘read it’.  “Yikes” on this last and that... very, very, very rarely ‘happens’.  FOR REAL.  (When did one last ‘call up’ an ‘old pamphlet’ in ANY collection and ... ‘read it’?)
            MEANWHILE back at the third pile’s second folder’s ...old local history pamphlet in VERY GOOD CHRISP condition for a community that “That price? Chump change.” “IT’S A REAL ONE” “GREAT CONDITION” “Don’t read THAT copy I had a PHOTOCOPY printed for READING by the HISTORICAL SOCIETY; they have one (a copy) in their collections TOO.  IT’S THE REAL THING QUITE RARE YOU KNOW.”
            Summarizes the commercial taking ‘that pig to market’.  Pretty neat that THAT pamphlet is in the THIRD stack... HUH.  Mr. (Dump) set the Rangeley pamphlet down in its folder, closed it and... I set my folder back before he could set his back and said “How much do you want for that one?”
            Mr. (Dump) didn’t move a muscle, say a word or even slightly even slightly suggest in any way that he heard me say anything in anyway at all.  I, taking the hint, plucked my box of ‘glassware’ out from under the table and ...split... before somebody killed me.  I headed for the door to get out of ‘here’ and ...almost made it.
            BUT, as this ends ‘fold’ one of ‘two fold’ ...”deceptive... in magnitude” (at the start of this chapter)... I alert that we do not see the last of what we just “Musical chairs?  GREAT!”.  It continues and goes right to the locked door of the Savage estate library room NOW (at this day; now).  And... I have just created... as Lord Timothy Dexter once titled:  “A Pickle for the Knowing Ones”?***
            I doubt it.  Mr. (Dump) is smarter than me.  He says.

***:  Dexter and his Pickle are profiled in my (this blog) “Can B. Worth” Part Five.

1 comment:

  1. Is it the shell game… with boxes and papers instead of walnut shells and a pea? Son of a bitch… is he a grifter… is that the appropriate term? Maybe it’s all okay as long as he is a participant in “WASP etiquette”? I would prefer that he break into the place under the cover of darkness and steal the papers outright… devious theft under the guise of SELFLESS SHARING OF TECHNOLOGICAL KNOW-HOW THROUGH SCANNING, PRESERVING AND CATALOGING somehow smells worse. Yet we all do “want the papers” so to speak.