As a lot of you know, I work as the assistant manager in my father’s art gallery. It isn’t a challenging position other than the occasional run in with a supremely anal customer. But it’s art, so you should get used to dealing with snobbery if you’re going to get into the business.
I can handle snobbery usually. Oh, I can handle the people who get angry with me for not being able to provide a photo of Multnomah Falls frozen with a rainbow over it (never gonna happen). And I can handle the people who come in and talk about how much better their art/photography/everything is better than my father’s or anyone else’s for that matter. I can brush it off.
One thing I can’t handle is people who don’t know how to behave in an art gallery. Not only do we carry photography and canvas artwork (glass, frames, easily scratchable pictures, and things hanging on the wall) but we carry glass works, pottery, hand painted china, soft wood tables, amethyst geodes and other malleable stones, and marble and onyx vases. All generally things you would consider fragile. All generally things you wouldn’t let your children play with. All generally things you would keep obnoxious people away from.
Not so here in the lovely mall. Daily, we have large groups of children coming in to play tag and throw bouncy balls. Parents set their kids to playing tea party with our china to occupy them while mom and dad look at pictures for their second office. We had a miniature zen garden in here at one time. A little girl about, oh, 14 (note my sarcasm) dumped all the sand out on the shelf and then made designs in it. Her father praised her for thinking outside of the box.
For some reason, many young men seem to be under the impression that if they come in and pull a large crystal shard off of one of our amethyst geodes, it is free for the taking to give to their girlfriend standing right outside egging them on. We’ve had teenagers come in and practice their juggling just to tick us off. A 20 something came in one afternoon and dribbled a basketball around for at least 1/2 an hour before I got through to him with my evil eye. And once, belive it or not, someone rode a unicycle around in here.
It’s not just the kids and teenagers. We have adults who failed to grasp the concept of respecting property not your own. They try to force open the doors on the jewelry cases before asking you to open them. They try to rip the fabric on our clothing line to see how durable it is. I get complaints because I don’t open the delivery door for them to use so they have to walk less distance to their cars. And they take photos of the photos with their camera phones to use as a desktop image. “Copyright? What’s copyright?”
But today. Today topped it alllllllll off. Never have I been so angry at work that I’ve seen red. Until today. It’s been fairly busy in here this afternoon – until about now. And I haven’t had time to watch every person in here to the amount that people generally need watching. My uncle, bless his naive stupid heart, put an $1800 piece of salt crystal out in the middle of the store with a small sign that says “please don’t touch.” I know he’s read the Bible where it talks about if you’re told you can’t do something…you just wanna do it more. This crystal is so fragile that a drop of water running down it will leave a rut. You can mark it with your fingernails. It has quartz crystals at the bottom that are as fragile as if they were paper. And as I was straightening up from a sale, this adorable little kid comes up to me and says, “did you know someone wrote their name in your rock?” Oh yes. Right in the middle of the crystal, some freak named “Tyra” decided to leave her mark. TYRA scrawled with a key or a coin because the lines ripped in the surface are too wide to be fingernails. I’ve not been this angry in a very very long time.
Tyra, whoever you are, I hope something very bad and expensive happens to you in the next few days that you didn’t budget for. Something that costs you around $1,949.40. Cuz that’s how much you put my family out of money. I know Jesus doesn’t like this attitude…but frankly, Tyra. I don’t care.