Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Weekend Dangers of the Fool’s Errand

Within minutes of the end of various cooking shows on public TV, a certain patron will call and shanghai us into finding her the recipes. It's not always exotic stuff, either. This past weekend it was, among other things, garlic mashed potatoes (Tip for all you would-be chefs: it includes garlic and potatoes). It's a pain in the butt because she doesn't always remember what show it was and what the name of the thing she wants to cook was. Some of these things are also only in pay sites. If I were smarter, I would just look at the listings and then not answer the phone when they are done. I hope she doesn't ever get cable that includes the Cooking Channel. Although if she does and a recipe she wants is from a Paula Dean program, I could probably make it all up. Just lots of melted butter, cheese and fried pork products.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Great Moments in Bad Parenting

Probably because it's still the nondenominational winter holiday break and all the kids are out of school, many families are here today. This is great, don't get me wrong: a buzzing, full library is a happy library. HOWEVER, there are, along with the parents and school-age kids, lots of parents with real little ones, ones who really need an adult with them, and many of those adults have to have their InterWeb. As always, my heart is broken to see bored little ones, forced to pretty much stand there while mom does whatever. Some of them are real champs at it. One 18-month-old probably went a good 20 minutes before she started to lose it. Then Mom went through the 7 stages of crappy parenting while using the InterWeb:
1) Ignore. If I pretend the little one is not there, s/he will miraculously calm down and stand there like a little statue.
2) Little shush. I will say something like, "Shhhhh." The little one will realize that this means "I love you, my little darling, now stand there motionless while Mommy looks at Facebook."
3) Minimally placatory physical contact. My touch is love incarnate. A curt little squeeze is all that is required to turn the little one back into the perfect statue state.
4) Harsh shushing. This is the sort of shushing that would impress the librarian of your nightmares. By hissing out a load of saliva-laden air, I shall convince my rapidly de-angelifying child that I am serious: turn back into a statue or else.
5. Unkind words. Also known as "The Callate" or "Shaddap." May be accompanied by a lapsit.
6. Physical/Verbal Pre-freakout. The grab, the look-me-in-the-eye-when-I-talk-to-you, the mommy-is-all-business. On some level, she knows the game is pretty much over.
Seven? Seven is hard. It can go one of two ways: Back to Ignore (I know my kid is standing there loudly crying, but until the heartsick middle-aged guy comes over, I'm going to maximize my InterWeb time) or a super-rapid cycle through stages 1 through 6 culminating in the kid getting grabbed and dragged off amid anger and threats.

Pretty harsh on Mom, I know. What about the Dads, you ask? They weren't there, so I don't have the kind of data required to lash out with vicious and irresponsible generalization.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Circ staff is VERY BAD

These pamphlets have been showing up in the book drops. I'm sure it has to do with the moral shortcomings of the of the circ staff.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It still makes me smile

Today I was shelving some videos and saw that a lot of Halloween favorites were all coming back at the same time. It made me smile

As we get to within a month of a holiday (any holiday) every single item even remotely pertaining to that holiday disappears. It's just the way of the world. A savvy library user will clean us out of Thanksgiving books for kids in October and everyone else will be left wondering why there is that giant gap between the Halloween and Christmas books.

A few days before Halloween, a man and woman who were not regulars and didn't know how to use the catalog came in asking for a fairly typical list of scary-ish movies. Before getting started, I warned them that we'd likely be cleaned out of Halloween favorites, what with Halloween coming right up. But I went through the paces.
"How about Psycho." Not a question, by the way.
Clicky clacky typey type "Psycho? We own two copies, but they're both checked out. In fact, all 11 copies in the entire library system are out. I could put a hold..."
"You don't have Psycho?" he asked, all astonished. It was as if I had just told him that we didn't have books, newspapers, electricity, indoor plumbing or oxygen. He turned to the missus.
"They don't have Psycho," he informed her as though she had just arrived and hadn't been standing next to him four seconds before. His look of incredulity was quite good, as was the eye roll.
"We have it, alright" I corrected cheerily, "It's just checked out. It's due back next week. Would you like me to put a hold..."
"How about Halloween."
Please, I wanted to say, you have a better chance of finding a leprechaun over there than that movie.
"Kinda doubt that one's in, but let's see...nope. Checked out. Would you li..."
"You don't have Halloween?"
"Again, we own two copies of it, but somebody beat you to the punch. I could put a hold on it and we could call you when a copy is returned, though. If there's no other holds..."
"How long's that going to take?" It was like I had just described constructing the Seven Gorges Dam.
"Hard to say. If there are no holds in front of you, maybe a week?"
"That's not going to help us, is it?" Ooh! Sarcasm! It's not like you need a liver transplant, dude.
And so it went, through the entire list of date movie spookies: declaratio of title, clicky clacky of keys, expression of negativity, offer of hold interrupted by an expression of disbelief. (Lather, rinse...)
As I did my fruitless searches, descriptive words for the guy kept occuring to me. Subject headings I would file him under (or for you young people: tags). Supercilious. Patronizing. Unctuous. Entitled. Condescending. Clueless.
Eventually, he got bored.
"We're going to Blockbuster," he said with a decided sneer. "This is ridiculous."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cuz bein' rich is such a...

The young man hit me up for twenty cents for printing. The reason? He only had twenties. In fact, he showed me this, opening his wallet before my very eyes so that I could gape at them. There were probably 4 or 5 crisp portraits of the bigamist and murderer himself in there. I bet he could have traded them in for an entire benjamin. Our flush friend, this latter-day Lochinvar, outright refused to believe that not only would I not spot him money for his prints* but that he had to walk ALL THE WAY OVER TO THE CIRC DESK (at least 14 paces) and get change for his lofty legal tender in order to make them. Even my usual shrug followed by the threadbare quip that they don't trust me with money did nothing to sweeten his mood. He left, comparing your humble deskslave to a member of a certain mid-twentieth century political party known for a variety of unsavory practices including, but not limited to entering the Soviet Union unbidden with large and bloodthirsty armies. The Least Happy Guy in Deskslave Land trudged over to the circ desk (did I mention that it's easily 14 steps? Maybe more, like 16.) returned and got his prints. Walking by on his way out, he waved his print outs before me, remarking sourly that he had gotten his prints in spite of my efforts to do him wrong.
"Awesome!" I replied, cheerily.

* Ironclad rule, even if he'd asked politely instead of informing me that he needed the twenty cents. I used to give small amounts of money out to students at a community college where I worked many years ago. A dime here, a quarter there. It hardly amounted to anything, but that was the problem. It was only a dime, and the loan, so important in the moment, was forgotten instantly. I never got anything back, not even once.It felt too cheap and petty to remind people that they owed me, unless they were hitting me up again. So I stopped contributing my deskslave's mite. Except a few times when patrons have been deeply aggrieved at the printer or copier "stealing" their money. Before they print, they are told how many pages they will be paying for, but it does no good. They print first, cry over spilled milk later. So when somebody goes to the wall over their dime in that case, I do enjoy theatrically emptying my pockets and hopefully finding some pennies and counting them out for wronged party.