Friday, July 02, 2004


I think my little confrontation with Chester has had a contagious effect on the rest of the staff. Seems like everyone's confronting problem patrons with fervor these days. Mrs. C has been particularly aggressive on this front and practically attacked Mr. B-Natural the other day. Mr. B-Natural came in for his computer crossword puzzle at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Before signing his name upside down on our clip-board, as per tradition, he noticed that a previous computer patron had mistakenly written 11:47 a.m. instead of 10:47 a.m. when they signed in.

"Hey, this isn't right. This guy couldn't have signed in at 11:47," Mr. B-Natural grumped.

"Oh, yeah?" Mrs. C said, rounding on him with fangs bared. "Well maybe he's just being a troublesome patron like you--signing your name upside down every day just to aggravate us!"

Mr. B-Natural wisely kept quiet, but even this confrontation didn't prevent him from signing his name upside down when Mrs. C's back was turned. While I love to see Mr. B-Natural get his, I still think it's a mistake to admit to him that anything he does is at all irritating to us. It just encourages him. Mr. B-Natural was, however, not the only problem patron to face Mrs. C's wrath that day.

Later in the afternoon Parka came in to chat with his e-skanks and was typing with excessive force as usual. No matter which computer we put him on, he bangs away at the keys like he's trying to press each letter through sheet metal or something. It drives Mrs. A crazy, as her office is directly above the computer hall and the noise floats up the stairwell to her, so we frequently hear her complaints. Yet, for all these weeks no one had actually confronted the man about it until Mrs. C decided enough was enough.

"Is there something wrong with that keyboard?" Mrs. C asked Parka.

"What?" Parka replied.

"I said, is there something wrong with your keyboard? You're typing on it pretty hard there. If there's something wrong with it, we can have it replaced with one that works better."

"No, there's nothing wrong with the keyboard," Parka said. Then he began typing again, albeit more quietly.

Frankly, I don't mind my fellow staff members becoming more confrontational. It's about time we were. As my friend Glen recently told me, "most people just aren't used to be confronted for their stupid behavior and will often yield when called on it."

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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.