Our Wednesdays have been getting weirder and weirder. I've missed the past several, but the tales I've heard from fellow "liberry" staff back it up.
Evidently the local
mental health social services agency, Unobstructed Doors, has mandated
that its aides take their mentally handicapped clients to the library
and have put it on their schedules of things to do. We're happy to have
them, but something about mentally handicapped patrons being
force-marched into the library, whether they want to come or not, makes
We have a group of
mentally handicapped patrons whose aides bring them in like clockwork
every Wednesday around 2 p.m. The group varies in size from week to
week, but there have been weeks where nearly all four tables upstairs
have been full. Now again, I'm not complaining. Most of these patrons
seem to enjoy coming to the library and that's good. However, there's
one of them who on more than one occasion has thrown a screaming fit
upstairs. And when I say "screaming fit" I'm talking a blood curdling screaming fit.
You'd think the girl was being murdered, and I've rushed up the stairs
(nearly breaking my ass despite our new sign) to make sure she wasn't.
She's not. She just gets fed up with being there or is in some other way
offended and just opens up at full squall to protest. This happened
yesterday and the whole crew had to leave shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile, there's always Ron the Ripper...
Ron turns up at the library, he usually turns up alone at first. This
is because his primary aid, Donald, is a firm believer in giving Ron as
much space and freedom as possible. Donald usually takes Ron to the
Unobstructed Doors office downtown, tells him to go to the library and
sets him free. Ron walks up the hill to us and Donald follows a few
minutes later at his leisure. Now, freedom and space is all well and
good, but between the time Ron hits the door and Donald shows up, Ron
can rip up quite a few magazines. And Donald, despite our many pleas,
doesn't care to check and make sure Ron isn't ripping our good
While I was out of town there were a couple of Ron incidents.
A, our head liberrian, said that Ron came in one morning and went right
upstairs to his favorite ripping table as usual. I don't know if
someone had beat him to the table or not, but Ron got upset about
something and began doing his usual loud caveman bark. It sounds like
"Unnnngh! Unnnnnnnngh!! UNNGNGGHHHHHG!!!" only much louder. Mrs. A
rushed upstairs and put her finger to her lips to shush Ron. Ron,
however, is incapable of being shushed. He firmly knows that caveman
barking is unacceptable behavior and he longs for someone to shush him
just so he'll have an excuse to turn the volume up to 11. This he did.
Mrs. A said it was deafening. About that time, Donald meandered on in,
heard the tumult upstairs and came rushing up to see what was going on.
He was able to calm Ron down. (In fact, we're pretty sure he's one of
the only aides Ron will listen to. From what we've been told, Donald has
quit his aid job on several occasions only to be begged to come back
because he's the only one who can deal with Ron.)
The second incident takes some setting up...
the library staff comes in early to take care of administrative
concerns or to clean. While in early, it's quite common to hear the
sound of someone trying to open the front door. This happens several
times a morning as, it seems, no one in town is capable of reading the
posted hours prominently positioned on the door itself and they always
try the door anyway before scratching their heads in confusion and
driving off. One day, though, Mrs. B, my fellow liberry ass., was in
early and was sweeping the walk outside when she saw a seemingly
mentally healthy patron walk up to the front door and try to get in.
After he failed to open the locked door, Mrs. B saw him notice and read
the posted hours. Then he stepped back onto the sidewalk and walked
around to the back door which she had left unlocked. He opened it and
went in. Mrs. B followed and said, "Excuse me, sir, but we're not open
yet." He said, "Oh, I know. I just wanted to come in anyway."
did much the same last week but at least he has the whole mentally
handicapped thing as an excuse. This time it was Mrs. C who was in
early. Again, she said she heard someone try the front door, then a few
moments later she heard the back door open followed by the sound of
footsteps walking upstairs, no doubt pausing by the magazine rack to
snatch up a few fresh and as yet unripped magazines, and then on into
the upstairs room and over to the favorite ripping table. A few minutes
later, Donald rolled up and knocked on the door to ask if Ron was in.
someone came in the back and went upstairs," Mrs. C said. It then took
Donald 20 minutes to coax Ron into leaving, with much caveman barking as
That was all over the past two weeks.
Weird Wednesday, yesterday, though, Ron had to come in. This time
Donald was nowhere to be seen. In fact, the aid who was with him was
brand new and very very green as to the ways of Ron: The Ripper. As soon
as they reached the top of the stairs, we could hear Ron start in with
the caveman barks. They lasted for a few minutes until both Ron and his
new aid came back downstairs and quickly departed. The new aid looked
Mrs. A, who was upstairs at the
time, later described what happened. As soon as Ron began barking,
Green-Aid became horrified and began saying things like, "Ron! No, Ron.
You don't scream in the library, Ron. Ron, be quiet. Ron, this is not
how you're supposed to behave!" This, of course, just fueled Ron's fire,
turning up the volume and forcing their flight.