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, March 07, 2005

Flat Monday

Here I was, fresh out of the bed this morning, had time to make coffee for me and the wife, rub her shoulders and help her get her stuff together for her long 50 minute trek to Town-R where she's doing her family practice rotation this month. I smooched her goodbye and she went out the back door. I figured I'd have some coffee, do some blogging about how my Sunday shift went yesterday, and then head to work at 12:30 myself.

"I've got a flat!" I heard the wife call from the driveway.

Sure enough, the back left tire of her Ford Escort station wagon was completely flat. I threw on some warm clothes and shoes and went down to help with what I knew would be an incredibly frustrating task.

Unlike, say, my car, the Escort is just a beeyotch when it comes to changing its tires. The lug-nuts fuse with their posts and it takes much cursing and sweat and pain and more cursing in order to get them off. We worked at it for fifteen minutes and not one of them would budge despite my liberal cursing and caveman growls of frustration.

"Do we have WD-40?" she asked. Yes, we did. I fetched it and sprayed hell out of the lug-nuts. Still no dice.

"Why don't we just have it towed?" I said. After all, our deliciously good auto-insurance covers towing. She didn't want to do this, though. Not for a tire.

We worked at it some more, taking turns grunting against the four spoke tire-tool, our hands burning with effort. Nothing.

"Maybe I can jack the car up just a little," the wife said. "Maybe there's too much pressure from the weight of the car itself." She got her jack out and slid it under the car, turning the crank until the car lifted off of the asphalt driveway a couple of inches. I then took the tire-tool and stuck one of its spokes onto the top lug-nut. I turned it and it gave with a jerk.

"Bless your brain!" I told her. I moved the tool to the next nut. It too gave with a jerk. I then went around each of the nuts like this until I got to the final one, which I continued to try and turn after the initial jerking give. The gives continued to jerk. It was only then that I realized that I had been using the wrong size socket on the tire tool the whole time, using one that was big enough to let the nuts slip around within its grasp, giving us the illusion that things were turning when they most certainly were not.

I turned my cursing up a notch at this, invoking an unpleasant image that involved a dog and, perhaps, a condom.

"We have to have this towed!" I said.

Nope. She still didn't want to tow it over a flat tire. Instead, she said we should let it soak in WD-40 for the day, applying new coats as needed, and if we still couldn't get the thing changed by tomorrow morning, then we'd call a tow. Meanwhile, I would need to drive her to work.

No worries there. I don't mind doing that at all.

I suspected, though, that this would only be the FIRST frustrating thing to happen to me today. It was, after all, a MONDAY.

Turned out, though, it wasn't so bad after all.  It was certainly hectic, but nothing two people can't handle. In fact, Mrs. A said that she'd never before seen more people pounding on the door to get in before our Monday opening time of 1p. I saw two more of them myself at 12:55. Can people not see the GIANT white sign pinned to the door that reads "THE LIBRARY OPENS AT 1 P.M."? No, they can't, or just obstinately try the door anyway, just in case.

The only real chaos came when some girls from one of the local homes for wayward youth came in with their guardian. Actually, they weren't even all that chaotic, except that they each wanted a library card, which made the desk kind of busy for a while. They all seemed nice enough, if a bit too made up in some cases. (I mean, come on; what 15 year old really needs half-inch eyelash extensions mascaraed out to darn nigh a full inch? Even Paris Hilton would have been startled by these.)

Three of the girls were looking for How-To books on witchcraft. ("Not the bad kind of witchcraft. The good kind," one of them said.) I knew they were SOL on this front, but did a search for them anyway just for show. We only own one book that comes anywhere close and that's the Dictionary of Witchcraft. It's hardly a How-To guide. We also have to keep it behind the circulation desk because whenever we actually shelve it upstairs it turns up stolen within a very short time and we have to buy another. I used to think it was being horked by would-be witches, but now I'm pretty sure it's more likely that non-Pagan patrons are doing the stealing, which seems somehow even more wrong. After all, the Ten Commandments don't say, Thou Shalt Not Steal, Unless Something Really Sticks in Thy Craw.

One of the girls already had a library card, but she had neglected to bring it with her. I know this because she opened her checkout attempt with, "You'll have to look my name up, because I left my library card in my locker." I looked her up and she did have a patron record, but I told her I couldn't check anything out to her without a card. She then suddenly remembered that she lost her card and how could she get a new one? Sorry, chick, not gonna fly. You already told me you left it in your locker and since I now know you have a card I'm not giving you a new one cause you inconveniently left yours elsewhere.

Other than nearly locking a slow-moving patron in the building trying to get the place closed at 5, work went pretty good.

I got home at 5:15 and sprayed down the lug-nuts with WD-40 again. Probably the fifth coat of the day. Then, with a little English behind it, I was able to genuinely loosen all but one of the lug-nuts. I soaked it good and waited. After picking the wife up at 8:20 and returning home by 9:20, we tried again and it finally gave too. Tomorrow I get to go find a tire place to repair the nail gouge in the
tire while she takes my car in to work.

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