I wasn't completely solo yesterday. Lennie, our mentally handicapped Monday/Thursday volunteer came in for his shift at 1. Mostly when Lennie is in, he's there to talk to Mrs. C, who he's known forever. He talks to me too, but mostly to repeat his theme of the day or to latch on to something I've said that connects to something he's heard of. When I'm there solo, like yesterday, there's not as much communication. This is probably my fault, as I don't have all that much to say to Lennie beyond the usual small talk. He's not one for in-depth conversation and tends to return to such topics as N ascar, West Virginia college sports, how cold it is, or to whatever his theme for the day is.
Mostly, Lennie tries to be
helpful, or at least look helpful. He straightens books and carries
non-fiction upstairs to put on the cart. Sometimes he disappears
upstairs for a whole half hour, where I'm sure he's doing more
shelf-straightening. And since Mrs. C wasn't there to tell him not to,
he used her computer to surf the web, look at pictures on _Yah oo_ and
watch clips from the new _Sylves ter Stal lone_ reality show. That was
fine by me, if it gave him something to do. Otherwise, he wanted to come
over and keep resetting my computer timers.
three kitchen timers set up at the circ-desk to time how long each
computer patron has been on their computer. We give them a half hour and
after that we don't run them off unless someone is waiting. The timers
count down from 30 minutes and then I set them to 01, 02, or 03 seconds
to indicate the order in which potentially bumpable patrons should be
bumped. Lennie doesn't get that. He just sees stalled timers that need
to be reset to 30 minutes and makes it his job to reset them. He won't
mess with timers that are counting down, but if the little :
isn't blinking, they're his to reset. So throughout Lennie's time there,
I had to keep resetting his resets in order to make sure I was busting
off the right patron when it came time to do so.
tried explaining my system to him and he would nod as though he
understood. This would only last for about a minute and he would go and
reset the timers again.
At one point, a college-aged
girl came in to use a computer. Lennie, who had been keeping vigil over
the timers, wanted me to know which one was available. I thanked him and
told the girl which one to use. She wasn't even out of the room yet
before Lennie piped up with, "She's a good lookin' one, ain't she,
I don't know if she heard, cause I didn't make
eye contact with her. I can't see how she didn't, though. All I could
think to do was agree with him in the hope he wouldn't keep repeating
his question until he got an answer, and saying, "Yes" was the safest
response I could think of.