Friday, August 20, 2010

A Day In the Life

A teenage girl walked up to the desk and we had the following conversation:

Girl: Do you have scary movies?

Me: Are you looking for the series of movies called Scary Movie, or are you looking just for scary movies in general?

Girl: Scary movies.

Me: Um… the series, Scary Movie 1, 2, 3 and 4?

Girl: Uh… scary movies.

Me: Soooooo, just movies that are scary.

Girl: You know? Scary movies?


Later, a handsome black guy walked up, and he was walking with a limp and a cane, but all I could see were those gorgeous braids in his hair – I get severe braid envy – and I tossed him a really big smile.

Guy: Hey there. I’m looking for books on magic.

Me: Oh, well, okay, so do you mean books on how to do magic tricks, or books on the card game Magic: the Gathering, or just novels with magic as a theme, like wizards and stuff like that?

Guy: Well, like, magic. Just books on magic.

Me *blink, blink*: Yes [deep breath], but what kind of magic?

Guy: Um, the regular kind of magic.

Not irregular magic. Thanks for that clarification.

Me: Okay, let’s narrow this down. You’re not looking for stuff on the card game Magic, right?

Guy: I don’t think so.

Me: Are these books for you or someone else?

Guy: For me.

Me: Okay, so you don’t play the game Magic, right? We can get rid of those from the equation, correct?

Guy: I guess so.

Me: Well, that leaves us with books that teach you how to do magic tricks. Is that what you want? Or do you want fantasy books about magic and dragons and things like that?

Guy: Just, whatever you have on magic.

Me: Okay. I can show you samples of both. But what are you hoping to get out of these books? Do you want to learn magic?

Guy: I don’t know.


I walked him over to the learning magic tricks section and said that if this was not what he was looking for, then to come back and see me and we’d hit the novels. He browsed for about 5 minutes and then left empty-handed, didn’t come back for more help or even make eye contact on his way straight out the door. Now really, I can only take the blame for so much. Clearly if you don’t know how to communicate what you’re looking for, my ability to mind-read a blank canvas is almost nonexistent.

As if it were a full moon, more irritations continued.

We have the usual creepy crowd of pathetic, older men who peruse singles ads online, as well as porn sites, looking to hook up. Some are guys who won’t ever get their foot in the door, and others might hide some of their creepiness in the first couple of exchanges before it becomes a full-on, heebie-jeebies fest for the receiver. One of these guys I’ve caught on those barely-legal porn sites, advertising teenage girls for your sick pleasure, so I keep my eye on him. The second I see something illegal, he’s going down.

My first encounter with him was when he ran up to my desk, completely frantic, on the verge of tears, voice cracking and wild panting, wanting me to help him find someone he’d had three email exchanges with on Craigslist, and now his emails weren’t going through to her inbox. He wanted me to figure out a way to find her, a phone number, an address, an alternate email address, something he could use to continue communicating with her because suddenly he can’t get any email through to her account. Things had been going so well, too. He needed to know if she was okay and he had to find a way to talk to her still. All the while, he was sniffling and fighting back complete loss of emotional control.

My absolute favorite commercial out right now is this one.

And I had, at that moment, a fantasy about calling him a jackwagon and chucking a box of Kleenex at him. Seriously. Get your ass back from mamby-pamby-land and get a clue, crybaby.

Ugh. Teen porn and online stalking: he’s a winner.

Anyway, I was working in the office while Marina was at the reference desk and she sent me an IM.

Marina: Creepy Guy just asked me for a camera.

I laughed really, really hard and turned to my boss and shared this gem.

Boss: Did he want a web camera? Ewwww.

Me (typing to Marina): Web cam or digital camera?

Marina: Digital camera I think, but I didn’t ask. I don’t want to know.

Me (to Marina): Did he say why? Did he want to use it here or take it home?

Marina: He started to tell me why he wanted it and then stopped himself in the middle and quit explaining.

I roared with laughter and shared this bit with my boss as well.

Me (to boss): So, when are those volunteers coming back? The ones who clean the keyboards and stuff?

Boss: Not soon enough!

Me (to Marina): Whose turn is it to clean the computer stations?

Marina: The good news is he’s been here ALL DAY but I just keep giving him extensions on the computer he’s at, so he’s only touched one computer the whole time he’s been here.

Me (to Marina): Uh… good? Hey, [Coworker] comes back from vacation tonight. We could suggest she wipe down the computers when she’s looking for busywork.

Marina: That’s exactly what I was thinking!

Me (to Marina): Great minds think alike.

I later did not suggest to our beloved coworker that she wipe-down computers. I like her too much.

And to prove her worth, she came up with the most brilliant idea I’ve yet heard.

There’s been a world of controversy swirling around our library and our cherished security guard, Arms, has received some bad PR by a group of idiots who dubbed him a thug. It’s hysterical to me, but then again I don’t have to deal with the fallout, so I can afford to laugh.

Anyway, I was telling our recently-returned-from-vacation coworker about the mess, and she too was experiencing gut-busting laughter about it all, but she got me thinking that we needed to show our appreciation to Arms for all that he does, to stand by him. All week I’ve been saying we love our thug, and our thug can take your thug any day of the week. My boss even added, “Bring it on. It’ll make his day.”

Coworker: Someone said we were going to get him a t-shirt?

Me: Yeah, it should say something like “Have you hugged your thug today?” and have handprints on the back. Can you imagine how much Arms would freak out if we hugged him? Particularly you and me?!

We both laughed hard about that one because we pick on him a lot.

Coworker: “Thugs need hugs too!”

Me: “Thug love!”

Coworker: OH GOD, we should do a DISPLAY!

My tiny little brain began turning and a smile slowly spread across my face until I erupted with a scream of enthusiasm.

Me: YEAH!!!! I have so many thug-titled books in the street lit collection! We could subtly throw them all on a display and call it Thug Lovin’ or something like that, our homage to Arms!

Coworker: Do you think the director would get mad?

Me: Oh c’mon! I put his big, life-sized head in the middle of a display and he looked at it for a while and didn’t even realize it was his picture! He’ll never notice!

Coworker: Do you think we’ll get some heat? Will we get in trouble?

Me: Why would we?! It’s a mini street lit display, right? It’s not like we’ll put his picture on it. OR SHOULD WE? Would that be going too far?

Coworker: Oh, we should! We should put his big head right in the middle of the Thug Lovin’ part!

Me: Most people would have no idea what it was about. It would be pretty much an inside joke. Do you think we could get away with that?

Coworker: I don’t know.

Me: Maybe I’ll just do a subtle Thug display and if that floats, I’ll stick Arms’ head in it later. That is the single best display idea you’ve ever come up with. You are my absolute favorite person right now! I may love you more than my thug!

We laughed for a long time, and other staff members started finding their way to our desk wanting to know why we were having such a good time. We did not share. They will find out soon enough.

And that’s a typical day at my library.


Done deal.


libwitch said...

I used to get the magic questions all the time, and eventually it would evolve into the person saying something like "uh, you know, casting spells and uh, wands and stuff"

To which I would always reply: So, you want Harry Potter?

I am not going to show those people the Witchcraft/Wicca books. There are are already too many buffy and charmed fans reading them already.

Kate P said...

The display is great! Dying to know if you get any reactions.

Happy Villain said...

The books on the Thug display have been popular, but otherwise, only the staff have said anything about it. It seems the threats against our beloved thug are waning. They musta got a look at his arms.