Friday, July 13, 2007

"Wow, this must be what smart people do."

was what she said as she was (ever so loudly) reading aloud the titles of all the free newspapers on her way out of the library. A painful amount of time earlier i had heard her shouting "I'm sorry, I've never been to a library before, I don't know how to be quiet," from across the room.
Oh, what to do with that one? So she understands the concept of being quiet in a library she just doesn't have the physical capacity to modulate her voice? Is that a disability that the ADA is aware of, and should we all be wearing earplugs to accommodate her? Or is that perhaps a skill being taught in libraries around the world (thus her need to mention that she's never been in one before), and should i have then leapt from my chair to begin instruction in those all important vocal skills? Damn, i must have slept through that class in library school... (and should i have broken it to her that we have quite a few other not-smart people grace our presence here?) I really just can't take the time to talk to her about any of it right now because, for some reason, her shouting has really exacerbated the pounding in my head and it is all i can do to cradle my temple in the palm of my hand and slowly breath in and out, in and out, waiting for her to leave.
I remember the last Friday the Thirteenth i was also working here with our bright young circ clerk, and just as i finished telling him that i liked Friday the Thirteenths and he was pondering why that would be (he could understand how someone would feel indifferent to them, but LIKE them?!?), i got a call from the substitute i thought i had escaped (the one who just loves, loves, loves Dr. Laura) when i left my last library telling me that she was going to be late. Once she got to the library she started talking about how she was in the process of renovating her mind and things went downhill from there. I told BrightYoungCircClerk that i was reconsidering my whole Friday the Thirteenth stance.
So here we are again, me, BrightYoungCircClerk, and Friday the Thirteenth (at least no substitute clerks scheduled this time~but there also isn't a substitute librarian scheduled for MyAbsentCollegue so i do have to work the Entire day instead of cutting out after my usual shift. Things are off to a bang with some foreign object being stuck in the floppy drive of one of our public computers. Then when i try to open the drawer to get the stuck-foreign-object-remover out, that drawer is stuck closed.
I have the usual complaints about people not getting to where they want to go on the internet, and not remembering the passwords to their accounts, and the sites that they want to visit not working like they should, and why doesn't the library take care of that (because, as everyone knows, because the library provides access to the internet, it controls everything on the internet, as well as keeping track of everyone's password to every site in our massive databank somewhere, and why am i not being more helpful?)? And then there was the local paper that misprinted us as being a drop-off point for certain recyclables that we are not a drop-off point for but because the paper said so that is also my responsibility (well basically libraries and librarians are responsible for everything that goes on in the world and you can get anything and everything at your local library and if your local librarian tries to tell you any differently well, she's probably just lying or has something against you personally, i mean that's why libraries are so overfunded everywhere you look, Right?)
I actually defended the mother of the unruly boys (well actually she's only been bringing one in since the time i suggested they all leave) because another customer thought that she had kidnapped the one boy she had with her. He had told our circ supervisor out in the parking lot that he heard him "freaking out" and wanting to get away, so she came in to check and saw who it was, decided there was no problem, and then pulled me aside to tell me. (I had seen the so-called freak out which was actually the child asking for someone's library card and being refused, i remember because that was when i first noticed they were there, and i felt my migraine twitch, and thought "oh please, do not stay long", but their was no freak out, believe me, i have seen many freak outs and that was not one...)
Anyway, alerting our circ supervisor was not enough of a safety precaution because the man came back in to accost the mother and son by asking them all kinds of questions about who and what they were, to the point that i actually felt sorry for the family who had been sort of backed up against the reference desk by Mr. Inquiry, and i felt compelled to step in and confirm that, yes this was her son,she came in with him all the time, and everything was fine. Forcing me to take some kind of authority-like position when i'm in charge, now that's really annoying...
I have this woman that always comes in a few minutes before we close with odd recipe requests~recipes that she wants me to find and print out for her from the internet. I saw odd because she doesn't really care about any details except for one ingredient. The first night she wanted a casserole made with ranch dressing. Chicken, beef, tofu? Doesn't matter (now i could understand if you had excess ranch dressing lying about but wouldn't you have to purchase the main ingredient?)
She's in here tonight, huffing and puffing and wondering what the symptoms of heat stroke are. Unsympathetic me is just wishing she would hurry up and pass out so i can call 911 or get on with whatever else she wants so i can continue my closing routine (and she's sorry she's come in so late, yet again, she was trying to get in earlier...) Now she's wanting no-bake cookies with flour. After a cursory search, i am trying to close after all, and i have suggested the cookbooks as well as her trying the internet for herself, i found no no-bake cookies made with flour, then found myself embroiled in a conversation about binding ingredients in no-bake cookies and how flour was usually used in baked cookies. But she doesn't bake (she doesn't do computers and she doesn't bake~i know the casserole recipe i gave her required baking but i'll just leave that be...)
She says she doesn't do computers so she always has to have someone sitting with her, for financial reasons. ??? (I can understand not having a computer for financial reasons or having to have someone with you to help you but where do the two meet?)
She has more questions for me but i have to go shut down the internet computers so she asks me for some paper. When i come back i inquire what she was going to ask but she says she managed to retrieve it (from where? the computer she doesn't know how to use? the brain which i also have some serious doubts about?)
Then she tells me she was watching some program on the Discovery channel about foods to eat to strengthen your breast milk and do i know anything about that? Uh, no. That, she says, is why she's always asking about food (ranch dressing and no-bake cookies?). I suggest a doctor or nutritionist (but i suppose, as a library, we really should be providing those services here, SHOULDN"T WE?). She says she always hears people talking about republicans and democrats and the controversies within the catholic church and jews and research and stuff, "so, you know..."
(um, no, i really don't know)
"Okay, thanks, I'll see you next time."
(i'll be here...)

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