Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Actual Telephone Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #102


ME— Tri-Metro County Library.

MRS. CRAB (WIFE OF MR. CRAB, FORMER $200 ANNUAL DONOR AND THIRD GRUMPIEST OLD MAN IN ALL THE WORLD)— Yes, I'd like to see about renewing a book, please.

ME— Very well. Can I have your library card number?

MRS. CRAB— Oh. (Pause) Oh... (To husband elsewhere in the house) Do you have your library card number?


(Indecipherable grumbling)


MRS. CRAB— He's getting it, now. It's for the book (NAME OF BOOK) by (NAME OF AUTHOR) spelled (SPELLS NAME OF AUTHOR), if that helps.

(It does not. I wait in silence as I can do nothing with that information)

MRS. CRAB— Okay, I have it here. (Pause) Er... which number is it? There's this big long number and there's this other one he's written in.

ME— (Not sure what other number she could be referring to, as the only other number on the back of our library cards is our phone number.) Uh, I'm not sure. The library card number is the long one there below the bar code.

MRS. CRAB— Oh, okay.

(She reads me the number and I pull up Mr. Crab's record. Having no reason to have recognized Mrs. Crab's voice, I am delighted to see that the record belongs to Mr. Crab. I am warmed by this knowledge, as I know that Mr. Crab is now very annoyed at having to fish out and supply his number when he had hoped that having his wife phone in his renewal would relieve him of any hassles. I renew Mr. Crab's book, being careful not to accidentally hit RENEW WITH NO FINE, but instead RENEW WITH FINE, so he'll have a .15 cent charge to bitch about when he turns his book in. I hope I'm there to see it.)

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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.