Thursday, June 08, 2006

Borrowers, Get Out!

Our usual Monday Madness came late this week. It came on a Thursday. And while we had the staff to deal with it, none of us wanted to. We all had our own projects we were trying to attend to and wanted nothing to do with the circ desk.

Meanwhile, the phone would NOT stop ringing and the Brent & Brice auxiliary league of neighborhood kids would NOT stop coming in and demanding computers, which they insisted on sitting at in groups of three per computer, despite being told by Mrs. C and then again by Mrs. A and eventually again by me that they could only have one per cause they’re too damn noisy otherwise. Soon we had a 45 minute wait time for computers due to the backlog of patrons, neighborhood and otherwise. That's when I heard a familiar and horrifying voice at the circ-desk. Yep, it was everyone's favorite Vid-Borrower, Mrs. Bellows.

Mrs. Bellows was turning in all her videos from the last time she was in. On the counter, next to her heaping stack of returned videos, was a half-empty 2-liter bottle of Pepsi and a large clear plastic box with a handle on top in which every ratty-assed audio cassette tape in the world had been crammed. I prayed none of the audio tapes were ours and she didn't open it to disgorge any, so probably not.

After piling all her videos on the desk, Mrs. Bellows seemed to have several brain-farts in a row, then said, "Is there a... do you have one of them... You got a computer I could sit on for awhile?"

No!!! Please NO!!!!

Mrs. C informed her it would be a good-sized wait for one, as they were all still clogged with neighborhood kids for the foreseeable future.

"I'll just be over in the videos, then," she said. Well, naturally.

After about half an hour, the neighborhood kids left in mass and the computers were all finally free. This coincided with Mrs. Bellows finishing her selection of more painfully bad videos and bringing them to the desk for checkout. Mrs. C asked her if she still wanted a computer. No response. And it wasn't like Mrs. Bellows was clear across the room, either. She was right there at the circ-desk. So Mrs. C asked her again, but Mrs. Bellows was far more concerned with obtaining a large plastic grocery bag from us in which she hoped to carry her selection of bad videos home. After loading it full, she stuffed in her box of tapes too, causing the whole thing to bulge.

"Do you have a refrigerator I could put my pop in?" she asked, indicating her half-empty 2-liter. "I want it to keep cold."

Mrs. C said, no, we didn't have a refrigerator. Not precisely true, as we do have a little tiny one, but it's not for public use and Mrs. Bellows would be hard pressed to find room in it for something the size of a 2-liter anyway.

Mrs. Bellows walked away and Mrs. C, seeing that I was about to go refill my water bottle, asked if I would go try to tell Mrs. Bellows she could have a computer. I did and it took a couple of tries to get through to her, but she declined needing one. Then, as soon as I’d fetched my water and returned to cataloging, she decided she needed one after all. Mrs. C, noting my ire, told me to stay put, that she’d take care of it. She went back and logged on the last computer back and then told Mrs. Bellows which one she could use. Naturally, Mrs. Bellows sat down at the middle computer and, since it wasn’t logged on and therefore not of use, began bellowing for help before Mrs. C could even get away.

After that, I sat back to wait for further inevitable bellowing on her part, as she has never been known to use a computer without some need of assistance.

And I waited and waited and waited.

Soon everyone had left for the day except me and Mrs. A, who was still trapped in her office doing work. After a while, Mrs. Bellows collected her overstuffed grocery bag and departed. Only then did Mrs. A come downstairs and ask if I’d heard all the bellowing. Apparently, Mrs. Bellows had been bellowing for several minutes and Mrs. A had nearly abandoned her work to stomp downstairs and tell the woman to stop screaming for help and get off her lazy ass and walk to the front room to ask for it. Oddly, I’d not heard a single bellow, and I’d been listening for them.

I was already thinking that Mrs. Bellows should probably get her hearing checked, but now I’m starting to think I should too.

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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.