Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mrs. A vs. The Coot

Our patron known as The Coot has, over the past few months, rapidly become one of our our most frequent patrons. In fact, without ever touching a keyboard himself, he is encroaching on the visitation frequency and duration of such innanet crowd luminaries as Gene Gene the Geneal0gy Machine, Crusty the Patron, Mr. B-Natural and even he who must really really not be named, because he hasn't been seen for nearly a year and we'd like to keep it that way, and who favors puffy white winter wear. And. as I've said before, the Coot is a library patron who actually uses the library for reasons other than internet access. Sure, he might spend several hours a day, several days a week in our presence, but he spends that time reading, often from classics and works of philosophy. And other than the fact that he often leaves his reading material stacked around whatever chair he spends his time in, so that we the staff have to clean up after him later, he's mostly inoffensive. Well, except to Mrs. A.

Mrs. A does not like the Coot very much because it's outside her office that he likes to plant himself for his hours-long reading sessions. This too would be okay, except that the Coot tends to make a lot of noise, usually in the form of painful moans and groans, coughs, snorts, loud yawns, and occasional bursts of song. Over the few months he's been doing this, we've determined that he's usually at his most vocal when Mrs. A is on the phone or otherwise making noise herself. In other words, he's doing it in protest of having his reading disturbed by phone conversations near his chair of choice. The thing is, Mrs. A is the library director and as such has to take and make numerous phone calls throughout the day, not to mention frequent in-person meetings in her office. The other thing is, there are seats and more comfy areas to sit elsewhere in the library that are not in proximity to Mrs. A's office. The Coot just happens to like sitting outside her office. And as long as he's there, the two of them wind up creating a duet mixture of speech and painful groans resulting in annoyance to one and all.

One day, Mr. A came to visit Mrs. A at work and the two of them were speaking in her office. In protest to the normal conversational volume of their voices, the Coot let loose with a horrible-sounding groan. Mrs. A later told me that Mr. A looked at her and asked what was up with the mortally-wounded-sounding man seated outside her office.

"Oh, he just does that whenever I'm talking," she said, not even trying to keep her voice down. And to give an example, Mrs. A let fly with her own horrible-sounding groan at full volume. With that, the Coot stood up and went into the nonfiction room to find a quieter chair.


bella said...

That is truly an awesome story. I love it.

What is the Coot supposed to do with his reading material? I assume you don't want patrons reshelving things themselves?

Juice S. Aaron said...

No, we don't want patrons reshelving and have many signs to that effect. (Not that this stops them.) Instead, our signage requests that patrons put their books on our shelving cart, which is, I might add, conveniently located within five feet of the Coot's usual chair of choice.

bella said...

I suspected as much, but just wondered! Thanks. I enjoy your stories a great deal.

Anonymous said...

Can't you move the comfy chair away from Mrs. A's office. Move it to the staff room! I'm sure you could all use a comfy chair at break time.


Tara said...

Oh please remove the chair of choice from that area entirely. Because my library is trying to make things as quiet as possible around the quiet study area, the branch manager moved chairs and tables as far away from QS as possible. It just wasn't worth the hassle of running over near there and shushing people all the time.

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.