Yes, the Screening Room fundraiser went exceedingly well, far better than my ability to answer again and again the same question over and over night after night.
Often I wanted to glare “How is” back into patrons’ mouths before they got to “the fundraiser going,” but hostility is hardly for people happily throwing $100 checks and $20 bills at you.
Absurdity sufficed. Patrons approaching with open checkbooks and poised pens were easy and willing targets:
“Screening Room is spelled J-A-C…”
But those moments were few and far between, especially during the two-week runs of “Blue Jasmine” and “20 Feet from Stardom,” well-attended films that surely enhanced the fundraising effort.
Problem was that people — timing last-minute arrivals as many theatergoers do — were making inquiries and writing checks at the ticket counter while lines halfway to the library were waiting to get in.
Making matters worse — which, of course, means “better” for those collecting the money without having to deal, as I did, with logistics — the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival ran during the fundraiser, drawing inquiries about its tickets and times and venues and …
And I was on the verge of what years ago was called a nervous breakdown, but which today is called going ballistic.
One night a woman took her time stirring her Constant Comment Decaf — now there’s a contradiction in terms! — at the concession stand long enough to hear me say “two-thirds of the way with three weeks to go” four times.
She had to notice that I was sounding more and more like Norman Bates near the end of “Psycho.”
Amused sympathy on her face made me confide that I was considering flash cards that I could update every few days.
She suggested that I make a recording with a button to push whenever the question was asked.