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.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Jumpin' Gene (PART III)

At some point during Gene's detailing of his rock & roll heritage, my ears tuned out again. Probably when my fight or flight skills kicked in and I began plotting clever ways to escape.

If only I'd had the good sense to leave my cell phone in silent mode, I could have reached into my pocket and touch dialed the front desk, allowing me to escape to go answer it. Better yet, I should have had the foresight to program the number into one touch dialing! Then again, Ms. D was still at the desk and would likely have answered the phone before I could move.

While Gene wasn't looking, I glanced back at Ms. D over my shoulder, hoping to catch her eye and, using only my eyebrows, give her the international sign-language for &%$*ING COME SAVE ME!!! She was still engaged talking to a patron, though, and didn't look up.

Meanwhile, Gene was still climbing up through limb after limb of his family tree. Eventually, and I shit you not about this, he was able to show me what he thought was proof that he was not only related to Elv!s, as he'd already shown, but was also related to L0retta Lynn. Ah, so he was related to both rock and country music royalty.

Unfortunately for Gene, ten minutes had now sailed by with all the speed of the Pigot Glacier and my good will with him had run out. Why had I thought being nice would get me anywhere? I was much happier back when I was steely and rude and all Shields Up with him.

Even as he was talking to me, I began to edge away from him, positioning my body in such a way that it was practically facing back toward the circ desk, a less-than-subtle indication that this was the direction in which I was hoping to move. Gene kept on. In fact, even though only a little of what he was saying was actually making it past my boring-ass-lecture filters, I could tell that Gene had actually moved on from the subject of his own geneal0gy and had now started telling me the details of a completely different family he wasn't related to in any way! Not only that, but the details he was conveying were about the family history of another patron. I can only presume he was doing this to somehow show the superior nature of his own family history in comparison. This must be how geneal0gists in the wild establish which of them will be the dominant alpha geneal0gist of the pack.

"Hah hahhhh! My Elv!s trumps your Joey Bishop. The more comfortable computer chair is mine!!"

(Whoa! I was trying to pull the name of one of the lesser members of the Rat Pack for that reference and found that my choice of Joey Bishop just died yesterday. OooooWEEEEOOOO! NOTE FOR BIRTHDAY LADY: February 3, 1918.)

Through a series of hand gestures, pointing back toward the desk, I was eventually able to escape Gene's clutches and return to what I hoped was the safety of the circulation desk. It still didn't feel safe enough, though, so I hid in the staff workroom, leaving the desk to Ms. D. Unfortunately, she left for the day soon after and I was forced out of my darkened hidy hole. I should have started programming my phone right then, for Gene was not done with me. On two occasions over the course of the evening he attempted to engage me in lectures again. The first time he spied me attempting to shelve some books and beckoned me over. At first I thought he was finally asking me to help him attach a file, so I went over only to have him say "You want to see something interesting" as I got within his field of power. I was able to escape fairly quickly, but vowed to not leave the desk again. So on the second attempt, Gene came up to the desk bringing printed pages of "something interesting" to show me there. I went all glassy eyed and stone faced in an attempt to fend him off and he left after only a minute.

I soon took to lurking just inside the door to the staff workroom, where I could see approaching patrons, but Gene could not see me. Eventually, I was able to come out of hiding, not because Gene left, but because an older couple he knew had entered the building. They often come in together to check email and, being in Gene's general age-bracket and having at least a minor interest in geneal0gy, are frequent victims for his lecture traps. I like to call them, Mr. and Mrs. Alternative Target. I boldly came out of hiding to watch the action.

Gene spied them and pouched. Mr. Alternative Target, being a gentleman, stepped into the attack zone, allowing Gene to seize upon him and his wife to escape unharmed. She retreated to the comfy chairs to read the newspaper while her husband was being mauled. The mauling went on for some time, throughout which I moved freely about the floor, safe in the knowledge that I was now immune from attack.

Apparently, the internet was not big enough to contain the lecture and Gene wound up leading Mr. Alternative Target to our local history room to continue. He looked SO happy. At this point, Mrs. Alternative Target bravely attempted to save her husband by stepping near the door to the local history room and interrupting Gene to alert her husband to the fact that they needed to leave soon. Unfortunately, Gene's power increases in the presence of dusty old tomes and Mr. Alternative Target was mired but good no matter how visibly impatient she looked. She stepped over to the circ desk.

"That man is certainly... interested in family history," Mrs. Alternative Target said to me.

"He sure is," I said.

"I suppose it's good to have something you can be passionate about like that."

"I suppose so."

Not long after the Alternative Target family finally made their escape, Gene left too. He seemed tired after such a long day, but very happy all the same.

The next morning, I related the tale of my evening to my coworkers. I also told them of my plan to program my phone to dial the desk in emergency situations. Mrs. A suggested we also needed to set up a series of signals we could give one another in order to facilitate rescue in case any of us were caught in Gene's vortex of boredom. Stomping our feet, Mr. Ed style seemed the most popular of the possible signals we could use. However, the signal we adopted was Mrs. C's suggestion: If any staff member sees any other staff member engaged in conversation with Gene we are to immediately run over and save them by any means necessary.

The simple solutions are always the best.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I worked in an office with a guy like Gene. He loved to talk and he'd stand in my office door and chat away regardless of whether or not I was on the phone or if there was another person in my office talking to me. One day I just got up and walked past him and he started following me down the hallway, still talking. I walked right into the women's washroom and he started to follow me in until he realized what he was doing!! What is it with people like that? Are they starved for human attention? Do they honestly think that other people find their hobbies as interesting as they do? Some people are just totally un-self-aware. I feel bad for you having to put up with this person, especially in such a public place as a library.

dj said...

Ha, we had a co-worker like that too, only her passion was her medical problems and her son. She'd go ON and ON and ON to us AND to patrons. It got to where we would just give up and walk away from her in mid-sentence, and she wouldn't even notice, she'd keep talking. She's on medical disability leave now, and I miss her unintentional hilarity.