Apr 20, 2010

The Great Rubberband Caper

So I was thinking how Pine Mountain Observatory will be opening in about 5 weeks. My crazy life is about to get crazier. I'm looking forward to it, though. I love standing at the summit. I love looking through the telescopes. It's fun to give some kid their dream by showing them nebulae or other galaxies or some point in the sky that always caught their attention. It's fun to teach someone dying to know how to use a telescope and a star chart. It's fun to learn more and become more knowledgable.

Last year, we were severely short-handed. So, I usually pulled double duty - gift shop and then operating a telescope. Lots of folks don't bring red flashlights, so for our sanity, we cover white lights with red cellophane. It's part of gift shop duty to make sure no white light makes it up to the telescope pads. Some invariably always does. Siiiigh.

Anyway, one night I was busy wrapping about 50 flashlights. I'm not going to get hired as gift wrapper at Bloomingdales, but I can cover any type of flashlight in existence. I teach folks flashlight etiquette: keep them pointed at the ground, only use when you have to and to please place headlamps around the upper arm or anywhere but on the head.

I go to wrap the next group's lights and the rubberbands are gone. I look everywhere. It's a tiny gift shop. They're gone. And, there are no others. I have 10 more flashlights to wrap and nothing to make them stick with. So, I had to conclude someone picked them up. I'm nice, so I assume they're gone by accident. When someone was picking up their stuff, the rubberbands got in their stuff and away they went.

So, I send someone over to the tent to ask for the rubberbands back, to ask folks to check their bags and pockets. Well, they never come back. I was mad the rest of the summer. Honest. It just pissed me off that someone would swipe the rubberbands. Why? Why steal my rubberbands? OK, yes, I'm still a little miffed about it.

But folks swipe anything that isn't nailed down - toilet paper, solar lights to help guide them over boulders and into the parking lot, tent poles, string, tape ... anything and everything. It really astounds us what people will steal.

Just know Rubberband Thief, karma can be a bitch. Me, too. And, I'm looking for you!