Friday, November 20, 2009

Weaned on a pickle

Some weeks ago, I got to attend an actual cultural event, a rare occurence in the life of a deskslave. Classical music performances are an expensive habit, so I don't get to go very often. It was a great performance, marred only by one of my least favorite patrons who just happened to be sitting behind me. I was polite enough, but tried to make it clear through subtle body language that I wasn't up for small talk. It didn't work of course, and she leaned forward to deliver her critique of each piece. Then, next time she was in the library when I was there, she wanted to talk about the performance again. Only not quite. She started with that, and then went into her own classical training in voice and piano. This might have been an actual conversation, only it was clear that I could have been anybody and she had absolutely no interest in me. She cared not for my opinion of the performer (much rosier than her own) or any training I might have had to get me to that opinion (not much, really). This alone might have given me reason to dislike her.
I think I already had good reasons, though. She constantly needs help on the computers. She is clueless, which is fine, but belligerent, which is not. She is a nasty summoner of help who expects you to fix things for her, not show her how to do things.
But the thing that put her in firmly in the despised column was something else. Like most libraries these days, we offer computer classes. Pretty basic stuff. Nastly lady has taken them all, many times. In classes she is nasty, barking out angrily when she doesn't understand something. We started offering classes in Spanish, too. We're all very proud of this, and the classes are well-attended and greatly appreciated. One day, nasty lady walked up to the desk with a bookmark in Spanish for the classes. She had her nastiest expression, her "weaned on a pickle" expression. Waving the bookmark, she said, "I see you're offering classes to the Mexicans. What about us?" Like we have no classes in English! Like she hadn't taken each one several times!


Cherie Rainwater said...

Wow. That is ridiculous and so offensive.

shushie said...

Ugh, gross. Last year I was horrified when several notes were put in our suggestion box that we should stop buying ESL material (including "Mexican books") because our library is located in America.

Zenspinner said...

Oh my. Did she tell you that the moon shot was faked too, and those awful kids at Kent State got what they deserved, and we should all kiss Richard Nixon's feet and beg his forgiveness? If so, you've got my mom there. I'd say send her home, but maybe she'll like it there? One can hope.

(Seriously, much you can imagine, I can totally relate.)