Thursday, April 21, 2005

Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #23

SETTING: My "liberry," some weeks back.

ME: Hi, can I help you?

FEMALE PATRON: Yeah. I was looking for a book called the Da Vinci Code? (She says this in a tone which suggests I might somehow never have heard of it.)

ME: (Affects sudden intake of air) Welllllllll, that may be a hard one to find on the shelf.

PATRON: Really?

ME: Oh, yeah. See, while we own five copies of the Da Vinci Code, they're perpetually on hold. In fact, they've been on hold for nearly two years now. And whenever one does hit the shelf, it's gone almost instantly. I've never seen anything like it before.

PATRON: Wow. Somebody just recently told me to read it. They said it was really good.

ME: Well... it's popular.

PATRON: So when's one due back in?

ME: (Looks it up in the computer. Four copies are checked out, one is horrendously overdue and likely never to be seen again, one is checked in but is actually in the hold bin awaiting pickup, only three people seem to be actively on hold for the next available copy.) Looks like next week, but three people are on hold. Would you like me to put you on hold too?

PATRON: No. I think I'll just check back with you next week.

ME: Um... That's not going to work for this book.

PATRON: That's all right. I'll just check back next week.

ME: No, really, ma'am. I'm serious. It won't work. Any other book we have, sure, but not this one. I swear you'll get it faster if I just put you on hold for it.

PATRON: (Still very cheerfully) No, that's okay. I'll just check back next week.

(This patron has YET to see this book.)

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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.