Sure enough, as I drove up to the liberry, a full seven minutes before we were scheduled to open at 1 p, there were already three patrons pounding on the door to get in despite the whole really obvious hours of operation sign on the door. I parked and then made a point of walking past them on my way to the back door.
"We'll be opening in just a few minutes," I said. They looked suitably irritated with me.
went through all the opening duties then watched the chain-smoking
rubes who were still impatiently waiting outside. I'd worn my bright red
"DO NOT DISTURB: I'M DISTURBED ENOUGH ALREADY" t-shirt today. It didn't
work at all.
The front door opened at 1 p.m. exactly
and not a second before. The flood gates opened with it and a steady
stream of patrons poured through the door. Three of them immediately and
hungrily signed up for computers, leaving two latecomers to stand in
slack-jawed frustration at the half-hour wait time. The internet crowd
can be especially irritating on Mondays. Most of them are used to being
able to come in at 9 a.m., but on Monday's they have to wait an extra
four hours to get their e-mail fix. They don't like it one bit. Makes em
cranky. They were also irritated that our internet connection has been
intermittent at best for the past week. Our ISP has been replacing
servers or routers or something and the service keeps going down. I
understand how frustrating that can be, but we've had patrons threaten
to punch their monitors because of it. I keep having to explain that
their inability to check their e-mail and play their on-line crossword
puzzles is not our fault.
The patrons who didn't want
computers or tax forms or my help with either seemed to desperately need
my help finding books. ("Um, hey, I uh, got a book here a long time
ago. It was about this girl and she wrote in her diary. The book was
about this thick, you see? Whuuut? No, I don't know the
title or author.") or making photocopies with the devil-copier, or try
to find books we don't have for their kids' book reports, all of which
were due tomorrow, of course.
Bout the time I'm neck deep in needy patrons, who walks through the door but the patron who must not be named, Chester the (potential) Molester.
He headed through on his inspection rounds and went upstairs. Now,
there were three teenagers in the library at that moment two of which
were guys--one in the kid's room and one reading at the top of the
stairs. They were hopefully off Chester's radar. However, we did have
one who was upstairs somewhere herself. Fortunately, there were several
mentally handicapped patrons and their aides upstairs by this point and I
didn't figure Chester would try anything with so many witnesses. Still,
as soon as I could shed myself of needy patrons I grabbed a stack of
non-fiction and went up to see what he was doing.
put my books on the cart by the door, I could see Chester sitting alone
at one of our tables. He was facing our front outer wall with his back
to the handicapped patrons. He was still able to swivel his head, and
did in my direction as I walked in. Chester looked terribly pleased with
himself for some reason. He was smiling in that Chris Penn gone to seed
sort of way he has. (I know, I know, this is really insulting. I mean,
have you seen Chris Penn lately?) A happy Chester is not a good
Chester, though and it wasn't until I was back downstairs that I
realized why he was so happy. The teenage girl must have been sitting at
one of the closer table's on Chester's side of the room. I hadn't seen
her because that table is blocked from doorway view by shelves, but it's
the only place she might have been had she been sitting up there.
Before I could worry about it too much, the girl came down the stairs,
gathered up her backpack and left. She didn't seem angry or worried, so
maybe she was just leaving already. But it made me wonder if she found
it difficult to bear the Chester's happy stare.
bit, (long enough for the girl to have gotten away) Chester came down,
looking far less happy than before. I openly watched him as he passed
through and toward the door, looking for signs that he had any stolen
magazines stuffed into his vest. I figured the guy at the top of the
stairs might serve as a deterrent for Chester to do any pilfering, but
who really knew.
TO BE CONCLUDED...