Saturday, March 12, 2005

Slow Sadderdee in the Snow

It snowed last night and dumped a good few inches on us, so the wife and I had to dig out in order to leave the house this morning.

My Saturday shift was very quiet. We didn't even have any patrons until 9:30, and then it was only Mr. B-Natural, who, as in accordance with tradition, tried to sneak his coffee back to the computers, again.

"And please leave your coffee at the front desk," I said, after logging him on. Mr. B-Natural started growling at this and seemed like he was gearing up for some sort of verbal complaint. By that time, though, I'd already walked away giving him no one to vent his frustration at. This is my standard policy in all things involving Mr. B-Natural. He is, after all, the grumpiest old man in the world and prone to grumbling and complaining when faced with being told that he can't have coffee by the computers despite the fact that we have told him that 12,000 times.

Beyond him, the day was very light up until closing time at 2p. That's when everyone decides it would be a fantastic time to head to the library and we had whole families pouring in starting at 10 til close. One family knew when we closed and gathered their choices and checked out in efficient time. Another family also knew when we closed, but they had neglected to bring their library cards so they couldn't check anything out and had to leave. A babysitter/sitee team didn't know when we closed, but were able to make a choice pretty quick. The holdouts were a dad and daughter who came in at 5 til and immediately camped out at the magazine rack upstairs. They acted surprised and vaguely offended when I told them, at 1:58, that we would be closing in two minutes.

"Oh, you close that early on Saturday?"

"Yes, sir, we do."

"I didn't know that," he said.  And he said it in a tone that indicated he didn't like it and wasn't sure if he would be complying with it. And he didn't. At 2p straight up, the guy and his daughter had made no move to leave. In fact, they didn't come downstairs until a full 4 minutes after closing time. I had plenty of book-shelving and other duties to attend to up front, so I didn't make a fuss. But I was annoyed. My annoyance hiked up several degrees when, after they finally came downstairs, the man announced, "Guess I need to find something to read."

What I did NOT say: Uh, no. It was time to find something to read at two minutes til close back when I first warned you. That window has now been painted shut and we have now pried open the window for Getting the Hell Out.

Fortunately, dude found a book quickly and actually had his library card. Glory be!

"I didn't know you closed early on Saturday," the man said again as I stamped his date due slip.

"Yup. 9 to 2 on Saturday."

"Is that new?"

"Nope. Been that way for quite a while now," I said. Try 15 years, dude!

"Oh. Shows what I know."

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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.