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.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Everyone Up My Ass Day

Yep. Friday was officially Everyone Is Up Juice's Ass Day. From the time I arrived to the time I shut `er down, darn nigh every single patron was up my ass and turning me into the Grumpiest Young Man in All the World.

Let me just preface this by saying that my day of torment at the hands of the public was completely my fault. I arrived with a bad attitude, that attitude only grew worse shortly after I arrived and I then allowed it to inflate all the little daily grievances I have with our patron population into enormous proportions. Maybe my foul mood was due to my wife being out of town all last week at a conference in Denver where she had to take her medical board exams in preparation for us stepping out into the "real" world come August and that I missed her. Maybe that mood was then compounded by the steady diet of Hot Pockets, Mrs. Pauls Crappy Beer-Battered Fish Chunks and as many French fries as I could stuff down my gob that I've been enjoying since she left and all that garbage has finally settled into my brain (and colon). Whatever the case, the crap the patrons were doing wasn't really any worse than the crap they do on any other day; there just seemed to be more of it.

It also didn't help that shortly after my arrival I was mildly blessed out for not properly cleaning the men's restroom during closing the night before. I learned of this via a Post-it note stuck to my computer that read "JUICE: Failing Grade on Closing, see MRS. A." I wasn't in trouble, per se, but it pissed me off to be called out for something I frankly didn't believe I'd done. I'd cleaned that restroom Thursday night, mopped up the excess water that The Coot had splashed all around the sink, made sure the urinal and toilets were fresh and shiny and had done my job as far as I was concerned. What I apparently didn't take into account was that I'd done my major cleanup job around 7p and we still had two hours left during which our male patrons demonstrated their willingness to soil any clean surface they might find. So as not to further break my New Years resolution, I will not describe the mess Mrs. A found in the general vicinity of the urinal, but it was something pretty obvious that should have been noticed by me and rectified. Mrs. A wasn't even mad at me, but still had to call me out on it because she'd had to call out Ms. M two weeks ago for similar inattention.

So I was pissy about this and remained pissy, particularly when it came to dealing with these same traitorous patrons, any one of whom could have been responsible for leaving the mess (which was also pissy).

I tried to throw myself into less public-service-oriented sections of my job, such as shelving, processing new books, and processing periodicals, but every "liberry" task I attempted to accomplish was constantly being interrupted by the %#&*ing patrons. (There's nothing better for attracting the neediest of patrons than a huge stack of new books that you have to process before you leave.)

For instance, there was Old Man Printer. I've not written about Old Man Printer before because he's not really a Rogue and it's so supremely ridiculous that he annoys me so much. In fact, my annoyance with him shines far more light on my own character flaws than any that might be distantly perceived on his part. Still, he does annoy me and has done so for several months now. Here's why it's so ridiculous... Old Man Printer is a very nice older gentleman who comes to the library to read our periodicals and use our computers. What makes him annoying is his habit of printing out two items each time he comes in: one weather forecast page for the coming week and one page containing a Sudoku puzzle. He prints each of these separately and pays for each separately, doing so only at times inconvenient to me--say when I'm busy doing anything else, or not doing anything at all. Basically, I'm complaining about a kindly older gentleman, perhaps the least grumpiest old man in all the world, who makes only two prints, actually pays for them and never ever gives me any shit. See? I'm completely and indefensibly ridiculous for being annoyed at him.

Tag-teaming with OMP on Friday, though, was Young Man Printer. YMP is a guy in his 20s who usually sticks to using his own WiFi equipped laptop and is therefore inoffensive cause we don't have to do anything for him beyond printing him an access slip. On Friday, however, he had to print some stuff and signed up for one of our machines to do so. Over the course of several hours he continued to print pages of some kind of form, one page at a time, and came up to pay for them one page at a time roughly every ten minutes on the mark. And despite the fact that I kept giving him change in dimes, he insisted on paying for each 10 cent print with a quarter, meaning I not only had to fetch his form from the printer, often lodged between the prints of numerous other patrons, but had make change for him each time as well. Our money tally sheet was pretty much a solid line of ".10" thanks to him. I wanted to scream, "DAMMIT, JUST MAKE ALL OF YOUR PRINTS AND THEN COME PAY FOR THEM AT ONCE AND QUIT INTERRUPTING ME!!!!"

So this was how my afternoon went. My fellow employees, no doubt as fed up with the public as I was, stayed away from the circ desk, busying themselves with projects elsewhere in the building. I wanted a project elsewhere in the building, but every time Mrs. B reappeared at the desk and I tried to tag out and grab an armload of books from the brimming book cart to go shelve, Young Man Printer would come up again to get another $%&*ing page and by the time I got him his change Mrs. B had slipped away, stranding me.

Now, again, please understand that I fully realize that any average day spent in my job is filled with interruptions and interruptions to the interruptions, and that I am completely at fault for my perception of them on Friday. In other words, those among you who were about to leave a comment to the effect that I should really look into getting another job if I don't like mine so much can kindly go eat a bag of duck vaginas. It's my blog and I can rant on it if I want to.

Break time rolled around but because it was raining I couldn't go for a stress-relieving walk. Instead, I announced I was headed downstairs to lurk in our big empty multi-purpose room. It was peaceful down there, away from the patrons and the phone. I listened to podcasts for a bit, raided the fridge in the breakroom a bit and generally enjoyed the quiet. Then I noticed some light bulbs that had blown in our big fancy light-fixture. Bulbs are my job to replace, so I figured I may as well get to doing it, even if I was on break.

I went to the north mechanical room to get the step-ladder, but it was locked. I then retrieved the mechanical-room key from it's hiding place, but that key turned out to be for the south mechanical room so it didn't work on the north door. I growled and went upstairs to fetch a copy of the right key and a key ring to identify it which I would then hide with the south key so this wouldn't happen in the future. Before I could escape the circ desk, though, Young Man Printer came up to pay for another %$&*ing print and I had to make change for him again. Key in hand, I returned downstairs, unlocked the North Mechanical room door and discovered that some genius had removed the ladder. I then found the ladder stored in the south mechanical room, which was unlocked to begin with. This was so infuriating to me that I actually punched right through anger and into hilarity. The situation was instantly defused and I felt a bit better.

The rest of my day, while still annoying to the end, was tolerably annoying after that. The Printer Men Old and Young departed, the phone eventually stopped ringing so much, and the other patrons even gave me a little space for about 15 minutes, allowing me to process all the new paperback books without interruption. I even got to take a little bit of empathetic joy at watching Mr. B-Natural finally find the Wa11 Street Journal crossword puzzle intact within the Friday edition. He had me photocopy it for him, then stood at the desk and did the whole thing in the space of about 10 minutes.

At closing time, I kicked everyone out and was glad to have the place to myself for a few minutes. I was even more glad that the patrons had refrained from soiling the bathrooms.

My wife is back safe and sound now and I'm feeling much better. Which is good, cause it's Monday and Mondays are almost always hellish down at the "liberry."

1 comment:

Kerry said...

Sorry you had a lousy day. I hope today was more bearable.

Good luck to Ashley on her exams!