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, July 07, 2008

Final Monday

While at lunch with the wife, today, I mentioned that it was the final Monday I would work at the "liberry." She asked if I was saddened by this fact. I had to admit: not even a little. Cause, as has been well-chronicled here, I hate me some Monday.

What's there to miss?

  • The incessant banging on and repeatedly trying of the handles of the doors to see if we're open yet despite the obvious sign clearly stating otherwise? Gone from my life.
  • The annoyed expressions when we at last do unlock the doors? Gone from my life.
  • The mad rushes by innanet crowders to get to the computers before they all fill up? Gone from my life.
  • The endless procession of extraordinarily needy patrons, many of whom have questions that can only be answered by a person of authority, on a day when the people in authority are NEVER present? Gone from my life.
  • Long time innanet crowders who have used the computers nearly every single day for the past couple of years yet still cannot get it through their head that we close at 5 on Mondays and act all shocked and amazed every week when we tell them they don't actually have another four hours at their disposal, but have to get off in ten minutes; or patrons who walk in the building at ten til 5 with the same expectations and literally smack themselves in the head because once again their poor, swiss-cheesed memory has failed them? Gone. From. My. Life.

As Mondays go, today was actually not terribly problematic. Sure, we had the usual Monday Madness, but not infuriatingly so. I tried to just go with the flow and live in the moment and enjoy it as much as I could. The major incident of the day came around 4p, when one of our computer patrons tripped and fell while trying to walk across a level section of floor. In this man's defense, he did suffer a stroke a while back and walks with a pronounced limp. I had just asked him to relinquish his computer for a new patron and he had been in the process of walking toward the circ desk when he fell. I was looking right at him as he dropped like a sack of dead, wet, marmosets, but I was powerless to do anything about it beyond giving off a sympathetic yelp. He fell hard, right on his arm and I was sure it would probably be broken, or dislocated or otherwise in need of an ambulance.

I rushed around the desk and over to where he'd fallen. Mr. B-Natural, who'd been seated at the computer directly beside the place where he fell also rushed over. The man was writhing on the floor, clutching at his arm. Quite intelligently, I asked, "Are you all right?"

The man looked up at me and then at Mr. B-Natural and, through a very painful-looking expression, said he was indeed all right. Mr. B-Natural began trying to help him sit up, but the man waived him off, saying, "I'm all right. I'm all right."

"Well, here's your glasses," Mr. B-Natural said, gathering them up and handing them over.

"I'll get them. I'm all right!" the man said.

"Well here's your hat," Mr. B-Natural added.

"I'll get them! I'm all right!" the man said, now practically screaming. "Please! I'm all right. I'll get them!"

"Can I help you up?" I asked.

"No! I'm all right!"

The more we tried to help, the angrier he got. But it felt very odd not trying to help him, particularly with everyone across the main floor was staring at us. I think, though, that the attention being directed at him was the problem. The man was embarrassed at having fallen and didn't want any more attention than he'd already caused himself. Slowly, Mr. B-Natural and I backed away, but not too far. This was good, because as soon as the man had clambered to his feet, he tipped over again and Mr. B-Natural was near enough to catch him.

"I'm all right!" the man hissed as Mr. B set up upright again. "I'll be fine, as soon as I can sit down for a minute," he said. Then, as though he needed further explanation for being annoyed with us, he added, "The physical therapists say it helps to do everything for myself."

"Do you need a chair?" I offered, looking for the nearest one.

"No! I'm all right! I'll get it! I'll be fine!"

So I walked away and the man hobbled over to the circ desk and leaned there for a moment. He left his hat and glasses there, then hobbled back over to Mr. B-Natural to apologize for being so gruff. I thought, if only you knew you were apologizing to the grumpiest old man in all the world, dude. Then the man hobbled off to the bathroom, where he stayed, in a seated position (if you get my drift) for quite a while.

"That guy really needs a cane," I told Mrs. B.

She agreed.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I envy you - I work until 8p every Monday at the Reference Desk, by myself, and it's always Insanity Unlimited . . .

Anonymous said...

I'll miss stopping by your blog on those nights when I can catch a mo at the reference desk.

Good Luck!

Long-time Library Lurker.