Sunday, December 20, 2009

Giving & Receiving

Do you ever feel like YOU should be sporting a sign that warns the public that you are not yourself, and perhaps a little generosity should be given to you in your time of weakness? I need one of those signs right now.

Yesterday at work, it was nothing but the bullshit of patron after patron offending me on one or more levels. It would seem to be appropriate that those with the foulest attitudes also had the foulest odors because if you care nothing about rubbing someone the wrong way, why would you care if you stink too? I realize that I’m ultra, super-sensitive right now, with nerves crawling around outside my skin, so my thought is that I’ll just warn people so that they can use their humanity to perhaps cause less offense.

The chemo medicine is kicking my ass this week, beating me down with nausea and diarrhea, the likes of which I have not experienced in many years. I was thinking it was due to having my period, which is also worse this week than it has been in years, and nothing over-the-counter can combat the cramps that are keeping me doubled over most of the day. Add to that the delightful bug Sergeant shared with me, one which sent him to the VA hospital earlier this week begging for relief, and then he came into work and followed me around like a puppy, as well as used my computer. Dude, let me tell you one more time that I’m on a medication that SHUTS OFF my immune system, so while you’re sitting at my computer, sniffling and rubbing your runny nose on your hand, mousing and keying on my equipment, you’re going to kill me with strep, you greedy bastard.

I have had PMS. I have cried everyday for a week straight, for no good reason. I have not had a decent night of sleep. I have snapped at the people I care about more often than I can count, and in order not to continue doing this, I’ve also let them use me as a doormat and punching bag out of fear that if I speak up, I’m going to tell them to go fuck off and die, and that wouldn’t be nice.

So, when I showed up to work yesterday weak, tired, hungry, nauseated, crampy, bloody, angry, sad, feverish and with a raging sore throat, I should’ve made up that sign and hung it around my neck.

A dickhead at a computer was blasting some Lady GaGa music, so I told him he had to turn the volume off or use headphones. He looked at me with a puzzled expression, so I asked if he knew how to turn the volume off, and he said no. We had an interaction that went like this:

Me (pointing to the minimize button): Click to minimize and I'll show you the volume control.

Dickhead (ignoring my instructions): Wait, I'll take care of it.

Meanwhile, he's sending messages to people on Facebook. One message asks if anyone wants to dance.

Me (rolling my eyes): No, if you'll just minimize your screen, I'll show you how to turn off the volume now.

Dickhead: Okaaay, I'll do it.

Again, he clicks somewhere else to engage more "friends" in inane online flirting.

People, if you could see or smell this guy, you'd give up social networking entirely.

Me (pointing again to the minimize button): I need you to click here and turn off the volume.

Dickhead: I'll just close it out!

Me: That's fine, but the next video you pull up is going to blast more music, so I'm trying to show you how to turn off the volume so it doesn't happen.

Dickhead: I don't need to do that! It's done. It's fine. You can go now.

I turned around, walked back to my desk, and promptly put a reservation on his computer so he couldn't extend his time. He left shortly thereafter.

Another lady and her husband walked in reeking of stale smoke and a lack of toothpaste. That's always charming. That always makes me want to spend large amounts of time helping them. Closely. While breathing.

First she didn’t understand the reservation system, and after I explained it she yanked the reservation slip out of my hand and then held it as far away from her as she could, struggling to read it. She threw the slip of paper at her husband and told him to read it because she didn’t bring her glasses. I offered to help her and she stormed off in a huff. I’d been nothing but nice to her up to that point, but she crossed a line I don’t remember drawing and it was all downhill from there.

I returned to my perch and soon the husband was asking me to help her at the computer.

She wants to get on the website for The Newspaper.

Me: Okay, I don’t know the web address offhand, so if you just type it into the search screen, we can find it.

She began typing “thenewspaper” in the address bar.

Me: Oh, wait, you’ll want to type it into the search bar here and not the address bar.

Bitch: WHY?!

Me: Because we don’t know the address and need to search for it.

She sighed heavily and typed into the search bar “thenewspaperillinois”.

Me: You will probably want to put in spaces so it can search more accurately.

Bitch: WHY?!

She was like a fucking two-year-old with the demanding whys, but she didn’t want me to answer – that was just her way of saying she disagreed.

Me: Because you’re not going to find the site as easily if you…

At this point she started clicking on all the hits that Google presented her, none of which were the website she was looking for, and each misdirected hit frustrated her more.

Me: If you just put the spaces in—

Bitch: I can do this!

Me: Okay, great. Good luck with that.

Husband (apologetically): Thank you.

Me: You’re welcome.

Not a full minute later they left, and she seemed even more irritated than I was, which was quite a lot. I guess she wasn’t able to find the website after all.

Then the phone rang.

Caller: I’m looking for an adult movie, but not that kind of adult movie, just a movie for mature viewers.

Me: Okay, what are you looking for?

Caller: Because, you know, I told the lady who answered the phone that I wanted an adult movie and she said, “We don’t have those kinds of movies here,” and I laughed, so I felt like I had to tell you that I’m not looking for that.

Yeah, liar, that conversation didn’t take place because we don’t tell people we don’t have those kinds of movies here. Seriously. Get to the fucking point.

Me: Okay, what are you looking for?

Caller: Regular adult movies. Not porn.

Me: Yes, but WHAT MOVIE are you looking for?

Caller: Oh, yeah, sorry, I just thought that was funny…

Well, you thought wrong. You think you’re the only person ever to make the connection between “adult movies” and porn? Wow, how clever you think you are! That’s so original. I’ve never heard that one before. Perhaps you know some why’d-the-chicken-cross-the-road jokes too. Let’s just get totally silly here. It’s not like I have anything better to do than to listen to you make vague references to porn while pretending to be above it. What a blitzkrieg of laughs will be had with the like-minded librarians when you tell us about the “adult movie” you’re looking for! Hardy-har-har. That was such a knee-slapper.


If you want porn, just ask for it. If you don’t want porn, don’t ask for it. Don’t call me up and joke about porn, pretending like you’re funny. You’re not. Move on.

The only thing good about that phone call was the lack of odor. Although it did stink, it did not stink in my nose.

Is it because it’s the weekend, or because it’s the weekend before the holiday, or because of something else entirely, that people collectively decided to not shower and to show up at the library? And on the ride over, they smoked 8 cigarettes with the windows closed and drank coffee that was rancid, flavored with ass. I told Marina and Leelu that we needed something stronger than Febreeze to hose off most of our patrons as they entered the building. It was suggested that even that wouldn’t help.

Then my salvation walked in the door: Mitch. No matter what kind of hideous mood I’m in, no matter what kind of abuse I’ve been a victim of, no matter what kind of awful day I’m having, Mitch can make me laugh.

He brought two of his three boys, one being about 18 months old and the other about 6 years. The toddler was getting into everything as Mitch and I stood around chatting, and he’d occasionally run off and grab the little one to rescue the library from ultimate destruction. At one point, he handed the child a toy from our desk, which promptly went into the mouth.

Me: Ohhhhh, yeah, that’s probably been in at least 10 mouths just today. Ugh.

Mitch: We’re not afraid of germs. We’re trying to build strong immune systems in our kids. That’s nothing.

A few minutes later, the little guy was in the garbage can in front of my desk and Mitch flipped out.

Mitch: AH, no, some germs are okay, but you’ve gotta draw the line at the garbage! We don’t eat garbage.

Me: You have standards for germs, huh?

Mitch: Yeah, and it’s like, depending on whether you’re giving or receiving, you have different views as well. Like when you’re the one with the germs, you’re very liberal about sharing your germs. But sometimes you get very republican about not wanting germs. No sharing!

I was laughing at the truth he spoke.

As I was laughing, one of the staff made the 30-minute closing announcement, which scared the hell out of Mitch. He ducked and looked up at the ceiling for the loud, booming voice over his shoulder, which made me laugh harder.

Mitch: It’s like that movie…what’s it called?

Me: I don’t know. What IS it called?

Mitch: It has that guy, the tall one…what’s his name?

Me: I don’t know. What IS his name?

Mitch: He looks a little like the guy who played The Tick.

Oh, glory be! Mitch likes The Tick! The Tick! I love The Tick! SPOOOOOOOOOON!

Me: Patrick Warburton?

And then we derailed and had a discussion about the live-action movie versus the cartoon.

Mitch: But what was that movie that your announcement reminded me of?

Me: I don’t know. It’s too bad we don’t know any librarians who can look it up for you. *Sigh*

Mitch: It’s going to drive me crazy!

Me: Seriously? THIS is going to be the thing that drives you crazy? Three boys and another one on the way and THIS is going to drive you crazy?

Mitch: YEAH! I gotta know what that movie is!

Me: Okay, you think about that.

The little one was giving him some trouble so Mitch picked him up and put him on his shoulders. This pleased the baby for about 15 seconds, so Mitch started bouncing him up and down for more entertainment.

Mitch: You know, once I was doing this, I forget which kid it was with, but all of a sudden he just threw up all over my head, and it ran all down my face and neck. I was so disgusted, but everyone else thought it was hilarious.

Me (laughing): Yeah, well, that’s the whole giving and receiving thing again. We’d rather give some things than receive.

Mitch: Ain’t that the truth!

This idea pretty much summed up my entire day.

We talked a little more and then he took the boys downstairs to get a movie. As he was leaving the building he ran up to me and yelled, “ELF!”

Ah, he remembered the movie. Now he wouldn’t go crazy. Good for him.

If only it could be that easy for me.


Cielle said...

That must have looked really funny to any other patrons hanging around. A man walks into the room and just yells "Elf" at the librarian. "Honey, I just saw the strangest thing. Some crazy guy accused the librarian of being an elf. He must have Christmas issues."

Happy Villain said...

LOL, you know, I never realized how that must have looked, but you're right! I was too busy thinking that Patrick Warburton looks nothing like Will Ferrell. The funnier part is that anyone might have been convinced I was being accused of being an elf. Given my mood, an ogre would've been more like it. :)