Thursday, June 30, 2011

Me and My Allergies, She and Her Manners

Summer is here and with it comes showers of pollen that make me want to claw my eyes out. Even with drugs like Claritin, I look like, according to one coworker, "a long-term cokehead who really needs more product." She even did an impression: vacuous look, vacant eyes being rubbed, sniffing. How she knew what a long-term cokehead looked like I didn't think to ask because I was busy sniffling and rubbing my reddened, puffy eyes. But she was probably right.

But I soldier on at the desk. One patron had been looking for some non-fiction title and could not find it. I went down the mental checklist of things to do when somebody says they can't find something that's supposed to be in. First, I check the catalog. Fairly often, the book is checked in, just not at deskslave central, but at some other, lesser library. Then I make sure that the catalog thinks it's actually in. People can, in their excitement, see that we own the book and not look at the circulation status. Then I find out the check-in time. I can't tell you how often people want something that was checked in 31 minutes ago (usually it's a movie) and would still be on a shelving cart in back. For this one, everything looked good for it actually being on the shelf. I don't want people to feel bad if I want to look on the shelf where it's supposed to be, so I tell them that I want to look near where it's supposed to be in case it was just shelved wrong. But this one wasn't where it was supposed to be. I scanned the nearby shelves after all. The poor pages can make mistakes after shelving nonfiction for a few hours. 973 can look an awful lot like 937 if you're 19 and operating on 3 hours of sleep after partying all night. But I couldn't find it. I was feeling stumped and, with the allergies, stupid to boot. The title was something like Dictionary of Some Damn Thing, so it occurred to me that maybe the page just assumed that it was a reference item. I mentioned this to the patron and took her over to the Reference shelves.

And lo, it was there. I felt all jubilant and leaned down to pull it off the shelf.

"Don't touch that!" the patron--literally--shrieked.

I straightened up.

She moved in and snatched it off the shelf. Walking away with it, she snapped over her shoulder, "I don't want to get what YOU have."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Now Here's a Thought (Whose Time Probably Hasn't Come)

Every day, I get to hear the default ringtones of a variety of mobile phone providers go off loudly at the library. I'm thinking that we should make up words to a song about the library to each of them, then the staff can sing them out with the tones. It could be informative, too (Don't forget to SIGN up for summer READing to-DAY-AY-AY!) The goofy esprit de corps might even help us from getting upset/depressed/annoyed by the constant ringing.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This Story Ends Predictably

The lissome woman, easily 15 years my junior, strode up to the desk, fixed me with a winning smile and said, "can I grab you for a minute?"

She needed help with her Microsoft Word document. Line spacing or some such nonsense.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kids These Days, a Transcript

While waiting at the desk for a colleague to check in back for something, I got to listen to a pair of 10-year-olds chat. My advanced age renders me invisible to them, it turns out, so I got to hear all sorts of stuff. I tuned most of it out but did hear one of them explain the troubles she has communicating effectively with a younger sibling. I heard her say

Every time I jinx my sister, she's like, "Huh? Wha?" and I'nm like "It means you can't talks," and she's like "Isn't that, like, confusing?" and I'm like "Ummm...nooooo."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inadvertent Dork Checking

Some years back, I used to work with a guy who liked to do something he called Dork Checking. He would purposely get something wrong that only a true dork would care about so that the dork would correct him. And then he'd laugh at the dork. He got me once by saying, in the middle of a conversation about some work topic, "It's just like that guy on Star Trek who's half Klingon and half human. I think his name is Wolf or something."

"That's Worf," I corrected, and then got laughed at for not only knowing, but caring enough to say something.

Today, a patron asked my desk colleague if we had the book The Fall of Rome. Being the insufferable know-it-all that I am, I just had to jump in, asking him if he meant the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.
"If that's the one written a long time ago," he said, not unreasonably.
"Yep," I replied, my insufferability growing by the moment. "The first volume was published in 1776." Then, to add wiseassery to insufferability, I just had to add, "Nothing else of note happened that year."

The patron gave me a squinty, pinched, oh-you-moron sort of look and said, "America was BORN that year." He might as well have added "jerk" or "dumbass" to it for the level of contempt his statement held.

But I didn't laugh or call him a dork. I just felt a little bad.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Attention: Holiday Week Change

Because of the holiday, Entitlement Tuesday was held today at deskslave Central. Halitosis Wednesday ran concurrently. The normal schedule will resume next week. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

That is all.