An unfortunate reality of being a tiny business is that you are painfully aware of the cost of every little thing. For example, one of Oliver’s biggest pet peeve’s is when people ask for something to go, and then sit down and eat it in restaurant. We have perfectly good plates, and if you take it to go, you cost him extra money on the take-out container. He doesn’t begrudge anyone passing through a take-out container. He just hates it when people who don’t need one ask for one.
Another big one is napkins. And this is where Resident Crazy comes in. One day, as Oliver and I are cleaning for close, Resident Crazy comes in and gets a coffee. She sits down to drink it. I’m washing dishes, and am considerably closer to Resident Crazy than Oliver, who is filling the drinks machine on the other side. However, it is Oliver’s hawkeye that notices first when Resident Crazy spills her coffee everywhere. Most people clean up by using one or two napkins to mop up. Resident Crazy starts cleaning the mess by taking *stacks* of napkins and wiping the table with them. When I say stacks, I mean 10 or more napkins, and trust me, the top ones weren’t even getting wet.
Oliver is obviously mentally counting the cost of this napkin mountain, and tells Resident Crazy to stop! And that he will clean it. Now Resident Crazy and Oliver have a love-hate relationship, and clearly that day, Resident Crazy was feeling hate. Besides which, because of her mental state, I get the feeling that she gets treated like a child a lot, even though she’s obviously over 50. She didn’t understand that Oliver was trying to rescue his napkins. She seemed to think that he was babying her, so she yelled “I CAN DO IT!” very angrily, stuffing wads of napkins into the garbage.
Irritated but defeated, Oliver went back to the drink cooler, muttering angrily to himself. Resident Crazy settled down, and sulked over her coffee.
But a couple minutes later, she tipped her coffee *again*! She lept up and began wiping the spill with MORE stacks of napkins. Oliver was calling at her angrily to stop it, but Resident Crazy wasn’t having it. She turned to me, and yelled, “Can you make him stop?!” This is something she says pretty often, as if I have any power over my boss, or as if he was doing something wrong. Usually, I just shrug at her, but even I was sick of how many napkins this woman was destroying. It was like she was literally cutting down trees, so I stopped doing dishes, grabbed the table-wiping cloth, and said “Here, [Resident Crazy], let me do that.”
Surprisingly, she let me, but she went on and on about how mean Oliver was, and could I please tell him not to be so mean to her? I looked her in the eyes and said “He’s just mad because you used so many napkins.” I picked up one of her stacks. “These cost a lot of money.” And then I waved my cloth at her. “This doesn’t.”
“Ok,” she said. “But he didn’t have to be so *mean* about it.”
I ignored her, and walked back to my dishes. Oliver had a look of relief on his face, and Resident Crazy seemed to have calmed down. I felt like such a hero in that moment. There had been so much tension in the room before, and now everyone seemed to have relaxed. It was such a good feeling.
I wish I could say that Resident Crazy learned a lesson that day about how valuable napkins are, but a few weeks later, Oliver told me that she had spilled something and then dumped a pile of napkins on it. Oh well. I guess there will always be crimes for this napkin hero to stop.
tl;dr: I wrote the word napkin so many times that it has lost all meaning