Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday Attack!

So there I was, enjoying my Monday off, when round about 2:20 my phone rang. It was Mr. Piano, a recently added member of our "liberry" board of directors.

"Hey, JUICE, is the library open today?"

"Yeah, it should be--" I began. Then a horrible thought passed through my skull. I dashed to my fridge, where my brand new April work schedule was attached with a magnet. Sure enough, my horrible thought was made real. "Aw crap," I said. "I'm supposed to be there."

Mr. Piano wasn't calling to bless me out, or anything. He'd simply dropped by to pick up something board-related and found the place locked up. I told him I'd be there in 20 minutes and made a break for the car.

As I've detailed here many times, Mondays are evil evil things at the "liberry." We're only open from 1 to 5, but this time limitation does not limit the amount of chaos we experience. Instead, it compresses the amount of chaos we experience on a normal 10 hour day into a four hour block. And while we went through a rather enjoyable year or two of having two employees scheduled to work on Mondays, thus having enough staff on hand to help stave off the Monday Madness, traditionally and currently it's been a solo effort.

For years, Mrs. C used to do them by herself. Then, after I had to fill in for her one too many times nearly being driven insane by the process, I successfully lobbied for double employees and was given the job of being Mrs. C's Monday wingman. After Mrs. C took maternity leave the day fell to me and a revolving cast of corhorts and greenhorns. Upon her return, Mrs. C realized how much more enjoyable life is without Monday shifts in her life, and stopped doing them altogether. Then Mrs. A decided she couldn't justify having two employees on a day with such low circulation numbers and for the past several months it's been a revolving solo shift, with each "liberry" ass. taking one Monday per month. Well, I say "solo shift," but Lennie, our mentally slow volunteer "employee," works them too.

As I was nearing the library, fully expecting to find 20 innanet crowders lined up at the door, feet a-tappin', I spotted Lennie standing on the corner and looking very concerned. I imagined that he had probably been confused to show up for his Monday shift only to find the place locked up. There were no patrons banging on the door to get in, but there were quite a number of boxes of book donations. (We always tell people not to bring book donations on Mondays because we don't have the staff on hand to deal with them. What day of the week do you think we get the most? You guessed it!)

At 2:34, I unlocked the back door and then broke a speed record for opening duties, before actually unlocking the front door. Lennie was the first in. He didn't mention anything about the "liberry" being closed earlier, preferring to default to his usual conversational topic of the latest basketball scores for WVU. He helped me carry in all the dontations.

I tried to phone Mrs A at home, to let her know what had happened, but got no answer. After a few minutes, though, Mr. A phoned and he seemed relieved to hear someone answer. He said Lennie had walked down to his office to let him know that the library wasn't open, but he figured he'd call first before phoning Mrs. A at home.

"Well, we weren't open on time," I admitted. "In fact, I was trying to phone MRS. A to let her know, but didn't get an answer."

I thought telling Mr. A about the situation was remarkably good thinking on Lennie's part. I told him so, giving him a new conversational topic of the day: "I did good, didn't I, JUICE?"

The only patron who said anything about our odd hours was Mr. B-Natural, who'd probably been lined up at the door at 12:45, hoping to get the first computer of the day.

"Somebody sleep late today?" he asked.

"No," I said. "Somebody forgot to look at his schedule."

Around 3:30, Mrs. A finally phoned. She too seemed thankful to hear my voice and wondered how I found out the library was closed. I told her the story of Mr. Piano's call and of Lennie's attempt to save the day.

"It was MS. S's day, right?" she said.

"No, it was my day."

"No, it's MS. S's day," Mrs. A said.

"No, it's mine. I'm looking at the schedule right now and it says me, 1-5." I then paused as a warm thought passed through my skull. "You know, I should have just kept quiet about that and we could finally have been rid of her."

"Dammit, JUICE, why'd you have to say anything?!" Mrs. A said.

1 comment:

Joe B. said...

I'm all for canning Ms. S. But ya'll shouldn't have to do it GWB style and make up a reason when she's so clearly incompetent.

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.