I was working the desk during story hour, today, when Mr. Crab, third grumpiest old man in all the world, habitual forgetter of his "liberry" card, and a man quite unafraid to mention that he's a $200 annual "liberry" donor, scuttled in.
I was glad he
visited during story hour, because it meant Mrs. B and Mrs. C were
otherwise engaged. So when Mr. Crab came to the desk with books to check
out and then didn't have his "liberry" card, he would have to deal with
me. Last time,
and despite all good sense otherwise, Mrs. B let him get away with
checking the books out on her card. This would not be happening on my
watch. I imagined he'd wail and gnash and threaten to withhold his $200
annual donation from us, as usual, but it would do him no good. I would
quote "liberry" consortium policy to him, shrug my shoulders in mock
sympathy and then offer to hold his books at the desk until such a time
as he could remember to bring his library card when setting out to come
to the library.
While waiting for him to do this, there
was a sudden rush on our computers, causing me to dash to and from the
circ desk to sign people on and boot other people off. Soon enough, I
saw Mr. Crab scuttling toward the desk to check out, but I was already
in mid-dash and decided he could wait a whole 30 seconds until I
returned. On my way out of the room, I spied Kanji the Kid coming in the front door.
at last, I returned to the circ desk both Kanji and Mr. Crab were
waiting there. Kanji was standing nearest our computer sign in sheet, so
I told him it would be a while before we had a computer, as they were
all quite full.
"Actually, I don't need a computer. I
need to renew some books I have out," Kanji said. He nodded toward the
circulation desk computer, as though I should fire it right up.
"Do you have your library card?" I asked.
I thought. Just the situation Mr. Crab was waiting for. Would I treat
anyone else differently than him? In this test, though, I would deny
Kanji any such service, right in Mr. Crab's face, so he would know what
he had coming to him before he tried to pull the same trick.
why I called home and got my number," Kanji finished. He passed me a
little yellow slip of paper with his card number written out.
"Ah. Very good, then," I said. I typed in his number, renewed his books and Kanji happily lumbered out of the building.
I looked up at Mr. Crab, I expected to find him pre-surly for my
convenience. But he just slid his books at me and then passed me his
"liberry" card without a fight, or even his usual lengthy search of his
overstuffed wallet, or his usual threats to withhold donations should he
not find it and then be denied service. As I began checking his books
out, our desk-side surl-o-meter began to ping.
Mr. Crab griped. "That young man was rude, shoving his way to the desk,
like that, ahead of other people. Rude." He then gave me an expectant
look, as though waiting for me to agree with him or otherwise give him a
fight. I started to explain that Kanji didn't mean to be rude; he just
has Aspergers. Then I decided that Mr. Crab wasn't owed any explanation,
so I just shrugged. Mr. Crab took his books and made for the door,
nearly plowing into a lady patron in his haste to exit.
one to talk about rude," the patron said after Mr. Crab had
left. "He nearly ran over me and didn't even say `excuse me.'"
I started to explain that Mr. Crab didn't mean to be rude; he's just an asshole. But I decided against it, so I just shrugged.