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.

Monday, April 19, 2004

The Good Monday

Had to work today, all by my lonesome, but for a Monday it wasn't too bad. Mrs. C has advised me in the past that Monday's don't always suck. They just usually suck. When they don't suck, they're usually just really slow and boring. Rarely is there any middle ground, but I guess today qualified.

First off, unlike most Mondays, there wasn't a mass crowd of angry patrons gathered at the door, waiting for us to open at 1. Instead, the only people waiting at the door were one of my favorite cool patrons and a bunch of screaming tards. Literally. There were tards on the doorstep and one of them was in fact screaming. His aide from the local Unobstructed Doors organization asked him to be quiet, though, and he did and they all went upstairs to read.

On the upside, we had patrons come in to donate money to the library plus two different people paid for their interlibrary loan postage, which is two more than usually do.

Othewise, the rest of the day was mostly uneventful, except for a few small Mondayeque events...

  • A patron needed a book for her 8th grade son to do a book report on. She asked me to pick one out for her. I asked her what sort of book report the teacher had assigned, since "book report" as an assignment is just way too generic. I needed qualifiers, cause teachers NEEEVER do anything without spelling out details. (They also very rarely call the library ahead of time to let us know what books they're assigning as required reading so we can have enough copies on hand when 8 dozen kids descend upon our heads at the last possible second demanding Seabiscuit, but I digress.) Mom had absolutely no clue. Didn't know what the assignment was. Didn't know any subcategories. Didn't know if it was fiction or non-fiction. Didn't know shite. She finally admitted to knowing that the report could NOT be on a Harry Potter book nor The Lord of the Rings, so that finally clued me in that it was a fiction assignment. Since she was so open to suggestion as to ask me to pick one for her, I gave her Neil Gaiman's excellent kid's book, Coraline. Granted, its protagonist is a girl, which will probably not please her 8th grade son who was hoping Mom would bring back something exactly like Harry Potter without actually being Harry Potter. If he was so damned particular about it, though, he should have drug his picky ass in and chose one himself.





  • A man phoned and asked if we had any videos of American short stories. I said I was unaware of any. He then asked if we had any videos of just short stories in general. Again, no. I explained that the videos we have are almost entirely wide-release movies, most of which were donated to us, or non-fiction documentaries. He seemed irritated. My guess is he's another parent trying to get his kid a short-cut on a school assignment.
  • One of our regular patrons, a long haul trucker, came in with a huge stack of unabridged Robert Ludlum books on tape that he'd interlibrary loaned through us. "Gimme the next four," he said. I started to try and explain that it doesn't work that way, that if he wants to interlibrary loan something he needs to supply us with, oh, I don't know, a TITLE. "Naw, naw, naw," he said before I could even get a word out. "Yew just look up there what the next four on the list are and order em." I so wanted to be pissed at this guy, but I realized that Mrs. C must have done exactly that, at his request, when he first started this Ludlum jag. It's a bit odd, but not an unreasonable request.
  • A patron needed to check some details on Travelocity, only when she went to sign in, it automatically loaded the username of some guy named Mike. It didn't load his account or his password or anything, but Travelocity itself automatically clicked the REMEMBER ME IN THE FUTURE box and called her Mike. The instructions on the page say that if you're not Mike to just type in your own username and password, but every time she did it brought her back to the same screen and called her Mike. It also didn't help that whenever she tried to sign in Windows brought up the box saying DO YOU WANT WINDOWS TO REMEMBER YOUR PASSWORD IN THE FUTURE? and she kept hitting YES despite my telling her not to do that twice. She was having much the same problem logging into her e-mail account, so my guess was that it was her fault for refusing to read instructions. I switched her to a different computer but it didn't help cause she was still a moron. On her way out she groused at me that someone should fix the computers. I wanted to tell her that someone should fix the patrons while they're at it, as I was pretty sure it was all her fault, or Travelocity's and not our computers. To prove it, I signed up for a Travelocity account just so I could go back to her computer and try logging in myself. It let me right in with no problems and didn't call me Mike once.
  • While I was proving this, I noticed that the patron computer keyboards were absolutely filthy. Some keys were practically blackened by greasy patron residue. At 4 p.m., with nothing better to do, I stole the keyboard from Computer #3 and took it up front with some paper towels and grease-cutting Windex to clean it. After seeing what was under the keys, I ran for the vacuum and a crucifix. Then I crept back to the desk and carefully pulled up all the other keys, exposing the horror show of utter filth that lay beneath, squinting up at the light. That was the nastiest keyboard I've ever seen. Simply foul and unholy, not to mention grody to the max. There are keyboards at the bottom of cesspits that are cleaner. I've shat cleaner keyboards. It was the butt-reistiest. And for my own peace of mind, so that I can continue to sleep at night, I'm going to assume that the curly dark hairs I found beneath the keys are from the backs of the hands of hairy patrons and not other parts of their anatomy as one might otherwise assume.
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