An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Now that's EVEN MORE Monday for your ass!

The rest of my Monday went pretty typically for a Monday, which is to say bursts of chaos followed by periods of downtime, punctuated by incessant phones ringing with caller after caller saying either "What time do you close?" or "Can I renew my books?" or "Is Mrs. C/Mrs. A there?" I knew that was going to happen. Every single time Mrs. A goes out of town, the world comes apart with people who seem to think their butts are going to implode if they don't speak with her right this very minute. When Mrs. A's not in, they'll settle for Mrs. C. But Mrs. C was out of town too and Mrs. A is on the other side of the country on vacation at the moment. So I got to hear the sound of several asses imploding throughout the day. The truly frustrating thing is that most of the people who call to ask to speak to A or C know good and damn well neither are in. As soon as you say it, they tell you, "Oh, yeah. I knew that." Then why did you bother to call?

I also had to interrupt making copies for a needy patron to answer a call from a guy who said, "Do you know the number to the DMV? I tried looking it up in the phone book but I couldn't find it."

"No, I don't know the number to the DMV," I said, deciding not to point out to him that we were a library and NOT directory service and therefore should not be expected to know such things. Story of my life, really. When I worked in radio people called for even goofier numbers than that. Somehow if you're in mass media or library work you're considered a depository of knowledge to be consulted at whim and leisure.

I tried looking up the DMV's number for the guy in the phone book myself, trying the WV STATE LISTINGS section and giving him a play by play of my phone-book. In the guy's defense, the DMV seems to have gone out of its way to remain unlisted. All I could find was an 800 number for a statewide line where anyone calling it had about as much hope of speaking to a real person as I did calling my bank this morning.

At 4:30 I started trying to get my closing duties taken care of, calling the holds, counting the till, trash taking, etc. But I couldn't count the till. Mabel the Amateur genealogist was still back on the computer, printing out dozens of pages that at .10 a pop were going to become a factor in my end of the day tallying. Why bother to count the money in the cash box when I'd just have to make change with it for Mabel's prints, destroying my count and making me have to do math?

At 4:56 the last wave of patrons began. Like I said, none of them are aware of our Monday 1-5 p hours despite their decade long existence, so 5 O'Clock is no reason for them to slow down. Fortunately, most of the people who walked through the door at 4:56 were with my favorite patrons, the Asner family. I whispered to them that we were about to close, but gave em free reign to go find some books quickly. Right on their heels, at 4:59, was a couple I'd not seen before, returning their books. I've dubbed them Mr. and Mrs. Thrill. After dropping the books on the desk, they began slowly meandering around the room in browse-mode.

"Uh, just to let you know we're closing in about one minute," I said.

The man gave me a deeply dirty look and said, "Whuut?"

"We close at 5 on Mondays," I said. "You're welcome to look around quickly and find something, if you like," I added--after all, I had a children's room full of Asner kids who weren't exactly rushing. The man wasn't happy about this, though. His dirty look got even dingier, bordering on and then crossing over into insulted.

"That ain't no good. People don't get off work til fiiiive," he said.

"I understand, sir. That's why we only close at five on Monday. The rest of the week we're open til 7, but we do close at 5 on Monday."

This didn't help. His wife, meanwhile, was in a tizzy-panic trying to decide what to look for in the ten whole seconds I'd allotted her to find a book. After the inner egg-timer in her head dinged off, she turned to her husband and threw up her hands in defeat.

"Pick you something out," he said.

"But, I don't... I... They... They're closed," she said.

"Go on and pick you something out," he told her, but she was too far gone to even try. "We ain't coming back," he told her on their way out the door. Hmm. Our loss.

After the Asners had gone at 5:05, it took another 10 minutes to close the rest of the joint down. I half expected patrons to continue pounding on the door to get in, but there was nary a knock.

Got home to find out Ice.com has canceled the order of pendants that our smarmy CAsshole made with our card. They're also crediting our account the amount they'd charged, so it looks as though we won't have to contest anything. We'll just have to file the police report and hope their brethren in San Diego can figure out what's going on and hopefully prosecute whoever did it.

We're still not sure how they got the credit card number in the first place. Ash had used it on-line early the morning of the new mystery purchases, but the site she used it at was a secure one. We're thinking she may have gotten an e-mail worm virus that could have spied it and mailed it on. So now we're having to erase and reinstall her laptop to try and get rid of any creepy crawlies.

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