Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thats My Gig, But Do I Really Want This Gig

Somehow, for some reason, the Powers That Be at my library decided to spend a bloody fortune on bringing in a national author to our hick little town (good PR, dontcha know?), and the lucky author, as voted on by the patrons, was announced last week.

Marina, who is organizing the event, has been inundated with the details of this duty, as well as fielding all patron questions about the event.

Allow me to digress momentarily.

We have a patron, a professional photographer, or at least someone who fancies himself a pro, who has long been using our library. I'll call him Jack. Jack is a classic narcissist who thinks his shit doesn't stink. The only time this guy wants to talk with me is when he wants to brag about some piece of camera equipment he bought, or a job he got shooting for someone quasi-famous. (Meaning, an unknown member of a band that was popular in the 80s, who is now touring with a new band of has-beens and playing local dives with the rest of the local nobodies around the country.) He likes to stand in front of me for 15 minutes and talk about how awesome he is, and then ask me if I'm doing anything important or getting paid for my work yet. It bugs me. Lately he's been suggesting he might be a good mentor for me, that he could teach me a lot (which he says with a creepy grin), and introduce me to important people he knows. I politely decline. I'm on library time, after all. If I were not, I'd tell him to go fuck a duck. Not only do I not appreciate someone telling me they'd like to teach me some things (with a wink and a nudge), but it better not be some jerk who thinks he has talent running out of his ears and I'd be lucky to just witness his genius. 'Twould be good of him to not wear expensive shoes when he suggests such nonsense or he'll be cleaning my undigested lunch out of the seams. But since he thinks a lot of himself, I'm quite tempted to tell him that this opinion doesn't have many followers. The few occasions when I've shown him my work he's been speechless and gushed about how surprisingly good I am (always with an addendum that he could teach me more if I let him), but I am not a good photographer, and it only goes to show he has no concept of what it takes to be a good photographer. Added to this misconception of grandeur is his lack of business skills and the sheer number of people who gave him a chance and now won't return his calls. This is not a guy you want to work with.

Jack was in last week when he noticed the sign about our super national author visit and he began grilling me for information immediately. He's a big fan, so much so that he's stalked the poor guy at places he was scheduled to make appearances, but for comical reasons I can only attribute to this author's divine luck, they have not met yet. Jack is determined, though. With little to tell him, I advised him to ask Marina when he was in the library next.

Yesterday, as I was coming back from my trip to the gym with my arms loaded up with my lunchbag, purse, coat and other miscellaneous junk I carry around with me, I heard my name being shouted from about 25 feet away.

My office, and I think I've said this before, is about 3½ miles from the staff entrance, which requires me to walk through the administrative offices, past the circ desk, past the reference desk, and through the teen area, and we are threatened with unforseen numbers of patron landmines just to get to the locked door of safety where we can finally take off our coat and set down our luggage. (Luggage being that which we lug around.) (We need a tunnel into our office. I think I'll start digging with my spoon on my lunch break tomorrow.) The stress of trying to get to the office before being accosted is intense, and I cannot tell you how many times I've made it as far as unlocking the door and getting one foot inside before someone nabs me and forces me to do my job.

Such was the case with Jack yesterday.

With one foot in the office as I was pulling the key from the lock, I turned at the sound of my name being shouted and found Jack hurrying toward me.

Jack: Were you trying to avoid me?

Already I was irritated. He saw me with all that stuff in my arms, saw me hurrying in to get to the office. It's ALWAYS about him, though.

Me: No, I'm trying to get into my office so I can set all my stuff down.

Jack: Oh, okay. I just talked with Marina about--

Me: The author visit, yeah, good.

Jack: She gave me all the information. I'm so excited!

Me: That's good. A lot of people have been asking so it'll probably be popular.

Jack: Yeah, but my wife and I just LOVE him!

Me: Okay, so you're the happiest about this. Great.

Jack: Oh, and I asked Marina something else. I said I'd be happy to cover the event and take pictures for the library if they'd let me.

I cocked an eyebrow at him. He knows that's my gig.

Jack (looking at me sideways): But I don't want to step on any toes or anything.

I smiled my fakest work smile of all.

Me: She'll probably have to clear that with the director first.

Jack: Yeah, that's what she said.

Me: Well, good luck with that.

Jack: Okay, thanks. It was really good seeing you again. You look great!

Me (less than sincerely): Thaaaaaaaanks.

When I got into the office and closed the door, I whispered as loud as I could, "WHAT AN ASS!" and as I was slamming my stuff down near my desk I continued, "I HATE having to be nice to people here who I'd rather tell off!" I grumbled more, slammed myself into my chair and didn't care who heard me.

After discussing it with Marina, and after she perused Jack's MySpace page, where he showcases his work--

Wait, I have to comment on that.

MYSPACE!? Seriously, you consider yourself a professional caliber photographer and your only online exhibition is on MY-FUCKING-SPACE? Could you be a bigger loser? Could you be a bigger douche? Seriously, unless you're looking to impress underprivileged middle school and high school students and lure them into some septic, decrepit dungeon to perform unspeakable acts upon them, your photo gallery on MySpace will get you precisely ZERO respect, you booger-eating moron!


So, Marina, thoroughly unimpressed with his work, felt the need to tell me that he wasn't so hot and I shouldn't feel intimidated by him, which was good because I was expressing a little bit of trepidation about being so amateurish and covering such a huge event myself. Perhaps bringing in a pro would be good. Just not him. Anyone but him.

Grrrr, that guy makes me angry.

And here it is, a day later, and I'm still angry, even though Marina officially told me today that if I wanted the shoot, it's mine. Plus I helped her craft the denial email she sent Jack, in which I would have liked to find and insert a big fuck-you smiley, but alas, that would make her look unprofessional.

Anger still beads on my skin, though. That weasel!

So, when this gigantic, ornery woman came bounding over to my desk this afternoon, followed closely by Arms, and she was demanding to know why she was only getting in one of her inter-library loans per week since moving to our library from the neighboring library, and why we purchase so few new releases, and why our library sucks, I let her get away with it and tried to reason with her rationally for a bit, but it became quite clear I hadn't the patience or the tools with which to not only give her what she wanted, but to continue with the act without bludgeoning her, and then I snapped.

At some point during her rant about Northbrook's Library, the holiest of all libraries in her eyes, where they purchase every movie released every single week whether their patrons want them or not, but they have strict rules about lending out AV on ILL, I said something maybe I shouldn't have.

Me: Well, there's a big difference between our library and Northbrook's. That's MONEY. They have loads of it and we don't. They can afford to buy every new release there is but we can't. Look around. This town is nothing like Northbrook.

She started to say that we should be more like Northbrook, as if nothing I'd just said made a damn bit of sense to her and I cut her off.

Me: Northbrook is great, right? Maybe you should move there.

I felt myself going down a bad path. A path to Unemployment. So I added to that.

Me: But who can afford that, right? Not many of us could, or else we would. You have to keep in mind that they are LOADED. Their tax money is huge compared with ours. You're not going to get that collection here. Period. End of story.

I could tell she understood, but she wasn't happy and wanted to continue to argue. She altered her rant to be about the stingy ILL policy they had and how that's the only place to get some of the movies she's interested in.

Me: Look, I understand you think that you should have access to everything, and I really wish we could give that to our patrons, but they have the right to do with their money as they please. It's THEIR money. ALL of it. They don't owe us a thing. And you DO have an alternative. You can drive all the way to Northbrook and check it out there. You just can't get it delivered to us so you can pick it up here. You want those movies, go right ahead and get them. From Northbrook.

She said something like that wasn't going to happen and resigned that there was nothing she could do to change the system as she walked out the door.

Yes, blame the bloody system that fails you and your need to see every fucking movie released every week FOR FREE, delivered to your local library, which you can keep for a fucking week! Yes, that sucks, doesn't it? Even Netflix can't beat that deal and still she raves. MAYBE she should get off her cranky ass and do something other than watch fucking movies all day and night, and maybe she should learn that there's more to life than her precious addiction to what fake people are pretending to be doing on film. And MAYBE she should try getting out more so she can develop some interpersonal skills, which she is in dire need of. And maybe then she'll succeed in life beyond her no-name uniformed package delivery job and excel at something so she can move her miserable ass to NORTHBROOK! THEY CAN HAVE HER!

And thus, the fury continues. Good thing I leave town in two days on a much-needed long weekend trip.

Dweebs -- they vex me so.

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