Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Lives of Great Athletes

A guy asked for the phone book. He took it away. Bringing it back, he expressed his disappointment in the quality of the phone book. Nobody he wanted to call was in it. I offered to look people up on ReferenceUSA or some of my favorite E-stalking(TM) sites. Initially, he resisted this idea, preferring to complain about the phone book.

Finally her relented. As I looked up the first person in RefUSA, I started to get the life story, which, you can probably imagine, I really wanted to hear. He was here to meet somebody. (Whew! Thank God! For a minute there I thought he wanted to check out a book!) His friend was not here at the appointed time. The man had ran here from the nearby town of Nowheresville which is about 9 miles away. He paused for admiration. This was not forthcoming. I don’t mean to brag, but your friend the deskslave has been known to walk as far as three blocks if that’s what it takes to get more beer.

He did not want to lug his cell phone during this Pheidippidean journey and thus could not call the tardy friend. I even offered to let him use the library phone, which was met with a patronizing explanation that the phone number was on his phone, the implication being that nobody could possibly memorize a few digits. While I searched, he continued to flip through the phone book, muttering things like, “My my my not good at all,” and the ever-popular “this is ridiculous.”

The friend was not listed. Other friends who might have known the number were likewise not listed. Precious moments of this, my only life, passed doing this. I’ll never see those moments again.

At last he tired of the game and told me that he would use the phone. He snatched the cordless phone that we let patrons use and began punching numbers while I told him to punch nine first. After a few digits, he got the fail tone, so I got to tell him to punch nine first, which he found absurd (who doesn’t know to do this?). He must have gotten an actual answering machine, because after a fashion he said, “It’s me. Pick up.”

“It’s me,” kills me because literally everyone on earth can say it and it will be true, so in absolute terms, it’s pretty meaningless. The monologue continued with, “Pick up. Pick up. Pick up! I know you’re there!” Eventually, somebody (perhaps a long-suffering spouse who was out in back digging a shallow grave) picked up. Our friend, whom I’ll now call Waldemar Cierpinski in honor of the controversial winner of the 1976 Olympic marathon, then engaged in the hated “chat wander,” whereby a person on the phone strolls around the library while talking on the phone. I had to go over and actually shush him! I began helping somebody else, which took me away from the desk. When I got back, the phone was back in its place.
“Your friend asked me to thank you for all your help,” my colleague at the desk told me.
“No, just kidding. He didn’t say anything to me.”

1 comment:

HM said...

"Precious moments of this, my only life, passed doing this. I’ll never see those moments again."

So, so true. Freakin' patrons and their crazy. But thanks for making me laugh! I appreciate it! :)