Friday, September 11, 2009

Naughty Is Nice

Marina was wearing that deer-in-headlights look of panic while holding the phone and staring off into the distance this afternoon.

That look can mean only one thing: she was the victim of a call from the soul-suckingly needy patron, Betty.

However, I faltered a bit because when I peeked at what the caller was having her look up, it turned out she was looking for a rapper named Emile. That didn't seem right.

Here's what I heard Marina say.

There is a rapper named Emile. Wait, how do you spell it, because I don't think--

Did you mean Eminem?

Yeah, it's Eminem. I'm familiar with Eminem.

No. Not...personally.

That's when I lost it. Like, hid-under-the-desk, doubled-over-with-laughter kind of lost it.

When I regained my composure, I jotted on a piece of paper, "That's not Betty, right?"

Marina nodded that it was.

Then she wrote down on the paper that she was being asked for information about the cognitive abilities of alligator snapping turtles [huh?] and what was up with Eminem's mother issues. Always fun things to research.

At least I didn't get the call.

* * *

Our director came up with a hilarious idea for battling the graffiti problem in the washrooms. He wanted to rub down all the walls with baby oil. The hilarious thing was he was serious. He figured if there was an oily substance on the walls, marker would not stick as well to the surface. Unfortunately, all the folks he mentioned this to seemed to not think about it for a half-second and realize what a disaster that would be, and he was patted on the back for presenting an idea whose time had come.

A week ago, he came into our office and mentioned this idea, which I almost completely lost my mind over. I tried to point out that baby oil is oil, and you can't put that on walls or it will get on clothing and stain. He seemed only slightly deterred by this remark. Then I pointed out that people use the walls in the washroom for support. What if someone leaned over to grasp the wall while in there and went sliding down with a big "schlurp"? What then? Everyone in the room had a good laugh when I flung my arms around wildly and claimed I was a Wacky Wall Walker, but again the point was not driven home, for the next day someone went out and bought baby oil for the bathroom walls.


Now, I'm not the most graceful person in the world, and I often have had to touch the walls in the washroom while I'm in there, much to my disgust. Also, I'm sure my clothing has brushed up against the walls as well. Do I really need to have all my clothing marred with grease stains so that we can try to reduce the amount of sticking graffiti on the washroom walls? Am I being selfish here?

So I sent out an email to the director and the building manager begging them not to lube the bathrooms. I tried to be facetious about it and remind them that we have elderly patrons who use the washrooms and likely would count on the wall for support. Did we really want to find granny in the bathroom stall, having crashed to the floor from slipping down the walls, and she didn't have time to pull up her britches?

Fortunately, the director found the logic and humor in my email that I hoped and he said there would be no oiling of the walls in the washrooms. Another solution would have to be devised.

I shared with my relieved coworkers today that we were saved from a lubed bathroom, and that the Wacky Wall Walker comment hadn't struck a chord, but picturing granny in the bathroom, wounded and laying on the floor with her drawers around her ankles did.

Leave it to people in my department to take something warped that I say and run with it, because I was almost in tears as they continually described trying to pick up granny, all slippery, and -- schlurp! -- she slides out of their grip like a wet fish and glides into the lobby. They try again and -- schlurp! -- she goes sliding into the vestibule. Paramedics try to get her on a gurney, and -- schlurp! -- she just slides right off. All the while…pantless.

I love my coworkers.

When I related the story to Sergeant later tonight, I commented, “Now the library has a huge supply of baby oil.”

He snicked. I think we were both thinking the same things.

Me: What do you think the director is going to do with all of that baby oil now?

We both started giggling.

Me: Hmmm, did anyone see the gallons of baby oil anywhere? Where’s the director?

Sergeant: Is he in the washroom?

Me: Ewwwww, so THAT’S how he planned to use it to grease up the walls!

Sergeant: Schlurp!

My coworkers rock. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

* * *

Sometimes, when you work in Circulation long enough, you start to think that every person walking into the library is a raging psychopath.

We have an issue where we have to stay open as long as there is a board meeting ongoing. Not open for people to use the library, but the meeting room must remain accessible to the public if they would like to attend the meetings, even if it means we have to leave the front doors unlocked until 10 pm. We are fortunate that we have a gate we can close that gives access only to the washrooms and meeting room, closing off access to the rest of the library, so it would stand to reason that we could just close the gate when we are done for the night and allow the staff and board members to deal with the wanderers who might stroll in, correct?

Well, that's not doable at my library, and surprisingly it's not the board meeting attendees who have a problem with this concept.

Circ expects the feral patrons to attack the unguarded lobby, shoving precious books through small holes in the gate, trying to get past the gate, and causing other problems on par with caged beasts who are not happy being confined.

Little paranoid, are we?

So, because we expect people to behave like rabid fiends (no, not us, Leelu), the library has to pay someone to stay behind in the lobby and guard the gate for as long as the meeting will last, to keep the lunatics from chewing their way through the steel bars so that they can hump the furniture and gnaw on power cords. Or whatever else Circ is afraid they’ll do.

Isn’t it funny how one lonely little employee’s presence in the lobby is expected to keep this kind of voracious appetite for library destruction at bay? How is it these fearsome beasts are not devouring our staff and wreaking havoc all day long without the gate there to slow them down? Is there some kind of monster-patron alarm clock that goes off when the library closes, and we have to close our doors or man the perimeter lest the monsters wander into our building? What are we afraid they’re going to do? Update our displays and do some restocking of toilet paper in the bathrooms? Oh, no! Maybe they’ll stuff the monthly trivia contest box with right answers to guarantee their own win! Maybe they’ll eat the overpriced snacks we sell and leave orange Cheeto fingerprints on the keyboards! Or use the library’s phones to make crank calls! OR! OHMYGOD, WHAT IF THEY READ A FUCKING BOOK?!?

*passes out*

Please. As if that would ever happen.

* * *

I got the cutest phone call tonight. A man wanted to know if we had the Farmer’s Omni-ack.

* * *

You know what’s really fun? I mean REALLY, really fun? Revealing a little of your naughtier self to people who don’t expect it.

One of our former employees (of the Japanese Batman infamy) was in to visit tonight, complaining about his new job and how they promised him full-time with benefits and then promptly cut his hours. Sergeant and I were suggesting to him that he apply for the open clerk position in Circ, for surely Circ would be really lucky to have someone like him on staff because he isn’t petrified of every patron walking in the door.

I said, “You’re bilingual. You’re polite. You give good customer service. They need some testosterone in that department because Rick doesn’t cut it. They’d be stupid not to hire you.”

Rick is the flaming young man in Circ who is surrounded by women who are manlier than him.

Our ex-employee nodded, said he had front desk experience at a hotel and it probably translated to front desk experience most anywhere.

I added, “Maybe you can whip Rick into shape.”

He shrugged.

I continue, “Or maybe you could just whip Rick.”

He stared at me.

I squinted and said, “He’d probably like that,” and then made an “ooooh” silently with my lips.

There was a look of surprise.

I went on, “A lot!”

He started to laugh, but he was still looking quite shocked.

And then I took it to Nikkiland and quietly asked, “Can I watch?”

Sergeant, who was standing there the entire time, didn’t hear, thankfully, but my favorite ex-employee started laughing harder than I’ve ever heard him laugh.

He said, “You are SO BAD!”

I chuckled and said, “I know.”

He was laughing really hard still and added, “REALLY bad!”

I smiled big and nodded, cocking an eyebrow, and I said, “Shhhh, don’t tell.”

That boy almost choked, and then he laughed harder. He’s only 18 -- what else is he going to do with that?

That’s fun stuff. I have to exercise my naughtiness more. Probably not at work, though.


Gina said...

I loved this! It was like a buffet of my favorite types of library stories. You've got me laughing early in the morning - thanks!

Cielle said...

"Sometimes, when you work in Circulation long enough, you start to think that every person walking into the library is a raging psychopath."

I'm still quoting you the next time I get the "You work in a library? That must be a nice, quiet job." reaction.

Leelu said...

...You mean, every person walking into the library isn't a raging psychopath?

Huh. There goes my worldview. ;)

Rachel said...

You probably have, but just in case, you reminded me of a hilarious youtube video: Read a Book. :)