Friday, March 23, 2007

what i should have said

don't you love it when the perfect retort comes to you just a bit too late?

Yesterday, just before my dinner break i had a woman standing in the middle of my library shouting into her cell phone, in an ever increasing volume, i watched and listened to her for a tad, assessing the situation (which was not really an emotional crisis~just apparently the way she "communicates" with people") hoping that maybe she would lower her voice; end her phone call; or perhaps just disappear, when other patrons started glaring at her then at me wondering why i wasn't doing something about her i stepped over to her and asked her if she could Please take her phone conversation outside (the door was actually just a few feet away.)

She yelled, "No! I'm not taking my phone outside, bitch..." (and a few other expletives i didn't catch as i was walking away because the no had been completely unexpected.)
She stalked around for a while continuing her conversation as i looked at the clock, thinking it was time for me to leave and i really just should, and i was a little shocked that this would happen to me in my beloved new library as no one had ever said no to me when i asked them to quiet down their cell phone conversation even in my VERY SCARY INNER-CITY-LIKE old library that none of our librarians ever want to go to (of course the name calling and swearing was nothing new and i have had many people refuse to leave after they've been kicked out at which point the police must be called~at least a weekly event at my OLD library.)

After she hung up and as she was stomping by my desk she spoke at me, "You must be new, he's on the phone why don't you make him go outside!" (she was referring to the man using our courtesy phone, he was speaking in a reasonable voice, i might add). Now there were many responses welling up in my mind, as well as, i'm sure, a most interesting look on my face, but luckily for both of us, i'm sure, the woman was off somewhere else and my manager was approaching to tell me she was leaving for the day.

"What's up?" she asked, noting the horrified luck on my face (and possibly my closed fist pounding on the desk). I relayed my little tale. She said, "Perhaps we need to start being a little more consistent about our cell phone policy, i had a woman stroll through her the other night loudly and obliviously chatting as well."

"I know, i was there. Oh well, have a good night." i replied, then promptly fled (after stopping at the customer service desk to see if there was any particular reason this woman should be receiving special treatment~after all i AM new~although that particular comment made me seethe)

Now, let me just insert here, that ALL of the libraries in our system (and by all i am, of course including my current library just to leave no questions) have signs on the door with a picture of a cell phone and that lovely little red circle/slash thingie asking people to turn off there cell phone or place it in silent mode. Some of our libraries enforce this very strictly, most of the time, if people talk in a reasonable tone i let them, but if they get loud or their ring tone does i gently remind them (as i do with ANY other disruptive talk, noise, or behaviour in the library). If they get snarky with me i use the signs as a fallback.

Apparently this woman couldn't see her behavior was unreasonable so she probably wouldn't understand the reasonable assessment that it wasn't actually her cell phone USE i was objecting to but HOW she was using it. Nor the reasonable argument that the man she wanted me to tell to go outside was talking at a reasonable argument (not to mention the fact that, as our phone was actually CONNECTED through WIRES to parts of the library it was physically impossible for him to step outside...)

What would have come out of my mouth if she had actually been speaking to me?

Probably something unfortunate like: "Oh i'm sorry, i didn't realize that you had Special Needs... or Were Crazy...or Were Stupid" which would have lead to a confrontation between Problem Woman and Rampaging Librarian and that would not be good.

But today i was thinking what i should have said was: "Why, yes i am new to this library. My name is (YoSafBridg), and i was transferred in because they were having some Issues here and they knew i was Just the one to handle it." (in an ever-so-sweet tone)

or maybe: Why, yes i am new to this library. My name is (YoSafBridg), and i was transferred in because i the system is highly confident in my years of experience in handling difficult situations." (which is actually closer to the truth since i was transferred from my old library (which was a difficult situation in and of itself) because they were transferring most of the librarians who had been at their libraries for 5-7 years (and i had been there nine)

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