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.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Great Computer Exodus (a.k.a. "Resolutions Bent")

The computers were lousy with patrons upon my arrival today. Not packed completely full, but with only a couple stations to spare. Soon, I knew, these two would fill and then I'd have to figure out who was first in line to be kicked off. I consulted our sign in sheet in advance to see. We'd already filled one sheet and moved to a new one, but there were a few as yet unhighlighted lines at the bottom of the first indicating patrons still in-house. I noted the top most one, then saw that waaaay at the top of the sheet was the signature of Mr. W. Perfect, who had been on since shortly after we opened this morning. Dadgummit.

Soon after this, I decided to do my usual mid-afternoon inspection of the men's room. Everything seemed okay on first glance, but while inspecting the stall for toilet paper, I happened to spy something within the toilet that brought my blood pressure up and alerted me to yet another visit by the Copycat Shitter. So as not to entirely break my New Year's resolution, I will not describe what I saw. However, the conversation I had with Mrs. B as I went to retrieve our cleaning kit (which is complete with Clorox Cleanup, rubber gloves and a stout bristled toilet brush) went as follows:

ME-- Y'know, we have a regular male patron here who really needs to look into eating more cheese, cause his current diet of fiber and cement is pissing me off.

MRS. B-- Eww.

ME-- It's been every day this week with this guy!

And now that I think about it, most of the recent Copycat Shitter incidents have occurred on days when Mr. Perfect has spent a great deal of time with us. Hmmmmmm.

Of course, after that crisis had been scoured away and I was about to exit the restroom, I spotted another potentially disturbing sight within the restroom which caused me to return to the staff workroom for a point of inquiry.

ME-- Please tell me that one of us has already been in the men's bathroom and poured a bunch of water in front of the urinal in preparation for cleaning the floor.

MRS. B-- Uh... not that I'm aware of.

Yes, indeedy, it was a standing urine situation, no doubt caused by one of the many clients from the local Unobstructed Doors group who had been in during the morning. And let me add that this is not the first time I've had to have that particular conversation over that exact subject.

Naturally, before I could return to the restroom, armed with a mop bucket and some Comet, some other guy had come in to have a wee and was standing in the very substance I was hoping to clean up. I had to return to the circ desk to consult with Mrs. B and Ms. D.

ME-- Do we still have our "Restroom Closed" sign?

MS. D-- I think so.

ME-- What about our "Stop pissing on the goddam floor" sign?

MS. D-- Uh, I could make you one.

When I next exited the restroom, I was astounded by an even more astounding sight than those I had just witnessed within. We had only two patrons on computers, all on one side of the computer station. Glory be, at nigh onto 2 o'clock on a weekday during Spring Break, even! Such an event is unheard of.

Mrs. C asked me to stick around the circ desk while she and Mrs. B and Ms. D went to set up our multi-purpose room. They'd barely been gone for five minutes when both computer users gave up the ghost and departed, leaving nary a single computer patron in house, but for the wifi crowd. This I saw as my golden opportunity to clean the hell out of the computer stations on a real indepth basis and not just a cursory wipe down. The phone then began to ring and some book-reading patrons arrived shortly thereafter, so nearly five minutes passed before I could even seek out the Pledge multi-surface and the Clorox Wipes. Just as I was about to head that way, a college-aged female walked in, glanced at the computer sign in sheet then glanced at the desolate row of computers, then up at me.

CAF-- Is there something wrong with the computers?

ME-- Nope.

CAF-- (Pause) But... but they're never empty.

ME-- I know. Astounding, isn't it?

A minute or so passed and my fellow employees returned.

ME-- You guys missed out. A minute ago, the computers were completely empty.

(We all stare at the College Aged Female, who looks back at us guiltily)

CAF-- I'm sorry.

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