Friday, April 16, 2004

Last nights of Whine and Hosers

Shortly after arriving for my shift yesterday, I said, "Well, I was 8 minutes late getting out of here last night because of a certain patron."

That was all I had to say. I suddenly found myself in the middle of a bitch-session about Parka without having to even say the man's name. Mrs. B, Mrs. C and Mrs. H were all well aware of him and began singing the man's downfall. They too had experienced Parka's irritating waiting room routene at the card catalog chair following being kicked off.

Also, turns out that last Monday when Parka hauled tail at Mrs. C's first word, it was actually at her first THREAT. She said that she had been anticipating him being a slow-ass to log off so at 10 minutes til close she went back and told him that she was going upstairs to straighten up and when she came back down she was turning the computers off. That was all she had to say.

It so happens that last night I had somewhere else I needed to be at 7 p.m. and didn't have time for Parka dicking around on the computers either. I decided to take a page from Mrs. C's book. See, of the many signs we have hanging on the walls at our branch, one of them states in no uncertain terms that the computers, copier and typewriter will be shut down at 15 minutes til close. "WILL BE" it says. There's another sign that says in no uncertain terms that computers WILL BE turned off if patrons refuse to log off when asked. The signs have been there forever, but the policies are rarely enforced. I decided that needed to change.

Parka came in at 6 and loudly announced, as usual, that he needed to use a computer. I said sure, then added, "Just to let you know, I'm going to be shutting the computers down at 10 minutes til close tonight." No explanation as to why. No excuses. Just this is how it's gonna be. I figured if he gave me any lip about it, I would just point out our sign and tell him he should feel lucky I was giving him an extra five minutes. Parka didn't protest, though. In fact, he seemed cool with it.

When I went back at 10 til to shut em all down, he got right up and left with no problem.

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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.