It takes all kinds — but this is a kind I hope never to deal with again *UPDATED*

I just have to share this one with you, because it’s too delicious to keep from myself.  One doesn’t often see such naked pathology oozing out of a single email.

Here’s the background:  My children’s school district gives the children laptop computers, which are an integral part of their curriculum.  (I hate the computers, because I think they interferes with learning and because the internet access is a problem, but that’s another story.)  Each computer case has a nice big label with the child’s name and the words “Property of the ****** School District.”

My 13 year old daughter is an amazing, almost obsessively responsible person.  I joke to people that she scares me, because she’s going to rule the world some day.  She is neither unreliable, nor a flake. She definitely forgets things sometimes and makes mistakes (don’t we all, especially when we’re young teenagers?), but it’s never because of carelessness or lack of trying.

Earlier this year, we paid a one woman production company several hundred dollars so that my daughter could be in a show she was putting on.  This wasn’t a bribe.  It’s simply the cost of a production in our neck of the woods for kids who are interested in the theater.  The woman, although only in her late 20s or early 30s (that is, at least a generation younger than I am), has been doing this for a while, and she handles things professionally. For complicated reasons, the show ended up being in an out-of-the way location 40 minutes from our house, which has been a pain, to say the least.

This week was show week.  For Friday’s show, my daughter went directly from school to the production.  She was gone for hours.  At show’s end, after a 17 hour day, she gathered her stuff, helped an injured friend to the friend’s car, and then headed for her own carpool.  In all the hustle and bustle she forgot her — or, rather, the school’s — computer.

By Saturday morning, my husband had spoken to the woman who runs the productions and ascertained that she’d found the computer.  She told my husband she would have it for us to pick up at the afternoon show.  She didn’t.  After the show, I asked her if she could bring it to the cast party, which will be held today.  She replied that if she was at the party, she would try to bring it.  Otherwise, I would have to get it, either from her or her mother.  Because of the crowd of little girls, the conversation ended there, but it led to this email exchange.

I’d be interested in your thoughts about the woman’s response.  I was taken aback, to say the least.  Do you think she has a point, or am I correct that (a) she’s out of line saying those things to me and (b) she’s out of line making me chase after her for the return of, not mine, but the school district’s property?

Here’s my email:

Congratulations once again on putting together a delightful show. Your production really gave the kids a chance to shine.

I want to get my ducks in a row re [my daughter’s] computer, since she needs it by 7:15 a.m. on Monday morning for school. For me, of course, the optimal thing would be if you could bring it to the cast party. However, if that won’t work, please tell me where I can pick it up tomorrow, whether from you or from [your mother].

Thank you.

This is what I got in reply:

If I can make to the cast party, I will bring it.  If not, we can find another time for you to pick it up since I work full time and do not live near [the town in which the cast party is being held which, incidentally, isn’t my town either].

[Your daughter] is very fortunate that it was me who found it as she left it out in the open in a facility that is open to the public. Members, staff members or anyone else could have easily taken it and kept or sold it.

As a parent myself, if my child had misplaced something so valuable, I would be very relieved and appreciative of anyone who would go out of their way to return it to my child. I would also take the opportunity to enforce some sense of accountability in my child, or at the very least some sort of gratitude for those whom their actions may impose upon.

I only half jokingly told my sister that, if this gal continues playing these games, I’ll tell the school district that she’s stolen school property — which, technically, she will have because she knows it’s school property and she’s refusing to release it.

UPDATE:  Well, she showed up at the party — as the hostess told me she’d promised to do all along — bringing the computer with her.  I’m happy to report that I comported myself like a lady, saying only “Thank you very much.”