Thursday, April 29, 2010


Tuesday, Marina had a problem patron.

First he insisted he did not have time to obtain a library card, but then insisted that he needed more time than the 20 minutes allotted to folks without cards at the Express computers. Already she had a rash from him, and then he sat at a computer asking her inane questions and talking loudly into his cell phone. He was driving her nuts and I suggested she tell him to take his call outside, but she said the person was helping him with his computer issue, and better that person than her because she was sick of him. Two hours passed and he was still sitting there, still talking loudly into his cell phone, and still struggling with whatever he was working on. I asked Marina why she didn’t just kick him off the computer and she said he was filling out an application online and she just wanted him to finish and go. Turns out, he was filling out an application to the University of Phoenix, purveyor of online degrees.

It made us feel SOOOOOO much better knowing that this obnoxious jerk couldn’t even fill out an application online, so he was surely not going to get a degree that way. It’s little moments of other people’s fails that sometimes give us a moment of win.

* * *

Yesterday, I had a splitting headache from a week of sleep deprivation, and when I opened the first aid kit to grab some ibuprofen, a cold pack clobbered me on the head as it fell out. Irony tastes so much better when it happens to other people.

* * *

Also, I received an email Monday night from the director inviting me to join a three-person Green Team (I would be the third person), knowing how leery I am of committees but that going green is a personal passion of mine. We emailed back and forth about my concerns about committees, he assured me it would not be like that, and I said I’d speak with my supervisor about the time that would be required for it, and if he would grant me permission. Before I got into work yesterday to discuss it with him, the director had sent out an Outlook invite for a meeting with me and my supervisor to discuss whether I’d have time for future meetings. A meeting to talk about whether we have time for more meetings. A meeting to discuss meetings. A meeting meeting. Lovely. Fortunately, logic (my supervisor) prevailed and the meeting meeting was canceled when he walked into the director’s office and said, yeah, it’s okay, and then it was over. No need for a meeting meeting. Seriously, you’d think we worked in a gigantic corporation and never communicated with one another or passed each other 10 times a day. It’s laughable. A meeting meeting?

* * *

Today, when I arrived, I walked casually over to the computer where we punch in, sunglasses still on, hands full of stuff, and as I leaned down to input my name, I saw a 2-inch cockroach on the keyboard. I gasped and felt my heart stop momentarily, then restart at a pace that was too fast for speed metal. Someone chuckled. It was a plastic cockroach. I looked around and asked who’d done it. No one was talking. I punched in and walked off, eyes rolling, knowing that other staff members (namely Briana) would likely die if it happened to them, and I stomped angrily to my office. Once inside the confines and safety of the office, I asked who among them knew about the cockroach and its master, but there were no takers. Two of my officemates were also “gotten” by the fake bug trick and equally irritated.

I left mid-afternoon to go to the gym and run an errand, and when I returned the bug was gone. Good. Good riddance.

I overheard someone telling the director she removed said fake cockroach from the sign-in computer because Briana had a strong reaction.

You must understand that the grossest cockroach event at our library happened to Bri when she opened up a DVD case and three came crawling out of the case. She screamed like a banshee and ran, but by the time anyone brave enough to take care of the cockroaches arrived, they were long gone. At the Circ desk. Where we worked. For hours. In constant danger of them crawling up our legs. We were uneasy for weeks after, and Briana never opened a DVD case the same way again.

And today Briana spotted a spider in her car on her drive in, was unable to smoosh the spider and it scurried off somewhere not to be found. A good case of the heebie-jeebies in your own car while driving is bad enough, but when she got out and felt safer, particularly in her workplace that should be mostly heebie-jeebie-free (save for a few creepy patrons... and coworkers), she found the plastic cockroach on the keyboard and screamed.

Evidently, she screamed bloody murder! People came running! RUNNING! It was blood-curdling!

And as instincts go, when she stopped screaming, she then dropped the F-bomb.

Oh, if I could’ve been there, I might have died laughing! GOOD FOR HER!

Bri doesn’t use the F-word very often, but when she does, it’s more obscene than when normal people use it. This must have been, historically speaking, the best Bri reaction to have been privvy to, and I missed it. Not that I condone idiotic fake bug placement, but the thrill of hearing her get so angry that she used the F-word would’ve been awesome.

Someone on staff grabbed the bug and threw it away, deciding wisely that enough was enough and we didn’t need to put our coworkers through this for some ridiculous laugh. Briana nearly died AND she dropped the F-bomb! Clearly the prank had gone way too far.

I heard of the event from others, and then from Briana herself, and still giggling a bit I returned to the office and shared with my supervisor that the bug was gone, thanks to Bri’s strong reaction and the beautiful little F-bomb she dropped.

Perhaps the only truly intelligent person in the entire library, he said, “Why didn’t someone get rid of it sooner? Why didn’t the first person get startled, take the fake bug, and throw it out? Why leave it there to scare everyone else? That’s what I don’t understand Why didn’t anyone do anything?”

I nodded. He was right. The voice of reason, the one who saved me from a meeting meeting just yesterday, pointed out something I hadn’t considered and that was WHY did we all leave the stupid bug there after it scared the crap out of each of us?

So, while it was cruel and poor Briana didn’t deserve to lose 10 years off her life, the F-bomb was deserved and I hope everyone was horrified to have heard it, particularly since it was uttered by Bri, but we also learn a little about our human nature, to leave irritating things alone because we don’t want to be the one to party-poop, even though the party is shitty to begin with.

Just odd.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Makes Mouths Happy

Via IM today

Leelu: Water is better when you drink it through a Twizzler.

Me: But Twizzlers are not better when they've been submerged in water.
Me: They get slimy on the outsides.

Leelu: That's why you drink a little, eat a little, and repeat until the straw is pointless.

Me: I see.
Me: Very cold drinks tend to melt the licorice slower.
Me: Ice, for example, seems to prolong the life of the Twizzler.

Leelu: And I'm drinking heavily iced water.
Leelu: It actually made the Twizzler tougher to eat.

Me: Then you are maximizing your Twizzler/water experience.

Leelu: I am.

Me: Yes, that's true too, but then you can refill the water and enjoy longer.
Me: You know what's good?! Jell-O through a straw. And now that you mention this, I'm wondering if Jell-O through a Twizzler would be awesome.

Leelu: Twizzler openings are so small, though. I don't know if you'd be able to do it.

Me: Don't they make big ones?
Me: Size queen, you know.

Leelu: Do they?
Leelu: I'm not a Twizzler fan, so I'm uncertain.
Leelu: (I do know. And I love you for it.)

Me: I dunno.
Me: You do, and you do?
Me: Oh, size queeniness.

Leelu: Yus.

Me: Well, it seems we need to do some Twizzler experimentation.
Me: I could pose the question on FB.
Me: See if we have experienced friends.
Me: Or the blog.

Leelu: (lol)

Me: (more readers)
Me: :)
Me: We need to know the extents and limitations of using Twizzlers as straws for food items.

Leelu: Ask away, my love! I eagerly await the collective voice of your experienced readership.

Me: I shall. I'm sending myself an email reminder to post it tonight.

Leelu: Hehe.

Me: And...
Me: no one will respond.
Me: :(

Leelu: :(
Leelu: *hugs*

Me: Heh, thanks.
Me: The only time I ever got lots of good feedback was when I posed a question and asked people how they met and came to love someone.
Me: Those were good.

Leelu: Those were good.

Me: Otherwise... much silence from the peanut gallery.

Leelu: I think you have to ask questions people are willing to answer.

Me: Sigh
Me: Twizzlers should be one of those questions!
Me: *slams fist*
Me: It's important!

Leelu: But others don't realize that; they're so absorbed in the trivialities of life that they miss the genuinely meaningful things.

Me: So true.
Me: Sigh.
Me: What's with people talking about politics, religion, natural disasters, hunger, etc.?!
Me: C'mon!
Me: Priorities, people!

Leelu: Well, Twizzlers and hunger are related...

Me: Oooh
Me: Good tie-in.
Me: It can be a religion for some

Leelu: And they should be a religion...
Leelu: (lol)
Leelu: Clone!

Me: :D
Me: Politics of proper licorice usage is up.
Me: For discussion, that is.
Me: And it could be a natural disaster if you used it for, say, coffee!
Me: OMG.
Me: I hit them all!
Me: People HAVE to respond.

Leelu: I don't know. Coffee needs sugar. I can only see Twizzlers helping coffee.

Me: Coffee would eat it quicker.
Me: And warm Twizzler in coffee would be kinda gross, I'd think.

Leelu: Twizzler milk!

Me: Oh, man, you have just created a delightful goal for me.
Me: And you know, licorice comes in many flavors now.
Me: Imagine a nice orange Twizzler with milk would almost be like a creamsicle.
Me: (You know I'm going to have to c&p this verbatim to the blog, because we rock like that)

Leelu: Iced coffee.
Leelu: Don't you love it when we write your blog posts together?

Me: It's always better with a partner.
Me: Sometimes my fingers get tired alone.

Leelu: Sometimes more than one.

Me: I need to try that.

Leelu: I highly recommend it at least once.

Me: How many times would you recommend it if you weren't limiting yourself?

Leelu: As many as you wished.

Me: Heh. So, collaborating on blog posts is something you would like to do more often?

Leelu: (lol)
Leelu: Only when/if I have something to say.

Me: Do you have people you PREFER to collaborate with?

Leelu: (I completely forgot what we were talking about, too.)

Me: I know. We derail into our metaphors and then it becomes about the other thing.
Me: I was trying to drag them both into it parallelly.
Me: Is parallelly a word?
Me: I like it.
Me: Anything that says lelly sounds happy.
Me: genocidelelly.
Me: See?!

Leelu: Happy happy genocide!


Leelu: Should we start a kickline?
Leelu: "It's springtime for Hitler and Germany!"

My skirt is too short.

Leelu: Isn't that how they're supposed to be?

Me: But I have on my plain-jane panties. I only kickline in short skirts when I wear the frilly stuff.
Me: Frilillelly.

Leelu: Oodelolly oodelolly golly what a day!

Me: Beck?
Me: A Beck kickline? With frilly panties and genocide?
Me: OMG, can you tell I've had caffeine for the first time in months?

Leelu: I was going for Disney Robin Hood.

Me: Beck's album was Odeley.
Me: Odelay
Me: Oops.
Me: Oopsililly.

Leelu: I'm sure it's a word in the Becktionary.

Me: Disney Robin Hood, huh? You're such a mom.

Leelu: Haven't seen it in years.
Leelu: Lummox likes it, though.

Me: I'm looking forward to the new Robin Hood.

Leelu: Any reason in particular?

Me: *slurp*
Me: I'd suck him through a Twizzler.
Me: Hmm, that doesn't sound flattering to him.
Me: Maybe I should take that back.

Leelu: (lol)

Me: I do so love that man in period piece movies looking tough.
Me: Although he was super-dee-duper hot in the other one, where he played the gay son.

Leelu: Which one was that?

Me: The Sum of Us.

Leelu: Wow. That totally looks like not my kind of movie.

Me: But, but, but.
Me: Gay love story!

Leelu: Mushy family flick.

Me: Sigh...
Me: Hot guys kissing!

Leelu: Romance, not porn.

Me: Okay, if you're not going to see it, I'll ruin it for you.

Leelu: Okay.

Here I blather about the movie, which I won't ruin for you, so watch it!

Me: It's really sad. You get the thoughts of both characters.
Me: And Russell Crowe plays this bumbling, love-sick, awkward guy.
Me: It's totally out of his usual roles.

Leelu: That's always nice.
Leelu: It's good to see actors stretch themselves.

Me: He did it after he played a ruthless skinhead, because he felt so awful about that horrible character.
Me: He felt it was redeeming.
Me: *swoon*

Leelu: Heh.

Me: So, I'm hoping they put him in leather miniskirts again for Robin Hood, like Gladiator.

Leelu: (lol)
Leelu: You delightful perv!
Leelu: We're totally clones.


Leelu: Why won't they leave me alone?
Leelu: Patrons won't let me have fiend time!

Me: Beat them with a frozen Twizzler!
Me: Whip!
Me: Send them home with Twizzled lashes on their foreheads!
Me: Dear FSM, that makes me laugh.

Leelu: Foreheads?
Leelu: I'll get them on their legs.

Me: Okay then. I just thought it would be more humiliating.
Me: Like a mushroom stamp.

Leelu: Leave marks where they don't show. It's the only way to abuse.

Me: You can abuse better with words then.
Me: The point of Twizzling someone is to leave a Twizzled mark.

Leelu: What a waste of Twizzle.

Me: How so?
Me: By exposing it to the germy flesh of your enemies?
Me: Making it inedible?

Leelu: Yes.

Me: Hmmm.
Me: Buy in bulk.

Leelu: I hate to waste food, regardless.

Me: Okay. So can we design Twizzler whips that aren't food?

Leelu: Then they aren't Twizzlers, are they?

Me: Should we just be using regular whips? Do Twizzlers add to anything?
Me: So, Twizzlers are food, not weapons. Weapons are weapons, not food.

Leelu: Except in food fights.
Leelu: Hot mashed potatoes are organic napalm.

Me: A vegetable defoliant. Interesting.
Me: Full Metal Jacket: I love the smell of hot mashed potatoes in the morning.
Me: Yes, perfect substitute.
Me: Wait, that was Platoon.
Me: Sorry.

Leelu: Apocalypse Now, wasn't it?

Me: Thanks.

Leelu: I'm awesome at quoting movies I've never seen.

Me: That takes talent.

Leelu: I do try.

So, the question remains and we pose it to you. Twizzlers as straws for what? What can we suck through a Twizzler? I'm serious. I need info.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Watch It Wiggle

Patron: Can you tell me where your Jell-O section is?

Now, despite having worked here just short of 18 years, and knowing my patrons as well as I do, I also know myself better, and I know that I do not know everything. In fact, I feel quite often that I know so little, it makes me feel shamefully inadequate, so I go read another book about something that has no relevance in my life, wherein I collect more useless information that could help one random person if they happen to cross my path before I forget what I read, and thus the attempt is futile. So, you see, my brain gnaws on my indigestible pulp of ignorance all day long, and when a patron comes up to me and asks a question that hurts my brain, I assume they are knowledgeable and I am not.

For instance, the Jell-O query made me question my very existence. Have I been living a lie, concocting an environment of books and library-ish items that surround me, while all along I have actually been working in a grocery store? Have people been asking me grocery questions all this time and I've been telling them Dewey locations of items in aisles at Jewel?! I looked around. I pinched myself. I tried to grasp this total mental FUBAR situation I was in, mind racing with thoughts of electro-shock therapy and a cupful of pills a day just to keep me in this world, dingy and gray, in paper slippers and a hospital gown that doesn't close all the way in the back. Have I been working in a grocery store all these years?

NO! The answer is no! I have not. SOMEONE would've told me. Somehow I would've figured it out. I'm not THAT clueless.

So, back on Earth, I comprehend that the question asked of me, which sent me on that spiraling quest for reality, was weird and I needed clarity.

Me: The Jell-O section? As in...Jell-O recipes? Science projects? What are you looking for specifically?

Patron: Jell-O art. Jell-O sculptures. Things like that.

And here is where my 18 years of experience working in this library, not a grocery store, came in handy.

Me: We do not have a Jell-O art section. There MIGHT be a reference to some kind of food art in a modern art book, but that's something you're going to have to sift through. I can show you where the art books are. Or, if you want to do some online researching and you have an artist or a known book I can look up, but we don't have a Jell-O art section.

Patron: No?

Me: No.

Patron: Never mind then.

Indeed. Never mind.

Friday, April 16, 2010


When I bought my bicycle, I was very enthusiastic about this new addition to my greener/healthier lifestyle, that is, until I rode it and realized how ill-prepared my legs and rear end were for such an abrupt change. I had no idea going greener was going to be such a literal pain in the ass.

It started off a grandiose rude awakening as I struggled to make the 2.5-mile distance around my favorite forest preserve. The pain in my tush from an uncomfortable seat sent me straight to the bike shop for a decent gel seat, which helped, but did not empower my legs, nor did it stop the burning and trembling after a short jaunt around my subdivision.

Also I learned you have to tighten that seat really well before going on a ride away from your car and toolbox.

My brother sent me this email right after I put the new seat on and he found the old one in the garage.

Hey, I was in the garage tossin' some trash and saw you have a new seat for your bike. Did you want me to throw it on for you? It's been a while but I've changed about 2 thousand bike seats so it would only take me 5 minutes. Seeing it made me nostalgic for the old bike riding days and it is oddly mind blowing that as a kid I could ride a bike for 4-5 hours straight and now I don't even like going downstairs. Time is just rude.

This was my response.

Thanks for the offer, but that's the old seat I put on the thingy for the new one. I have a 90-day warranty on the new one and didn't want to throw away the packaging, so I threw the old seat back on it so no one would throw it away. See, I was thinking all smart and stuff! Thanks for the offer, but I already did it. And, of course, having never done it before, I put it on too loose and half-way through the trail at the forest preserve it started slipping, and I had to ride 1½ miles back to my car to get the socket wrench with the seat standing straight up between my legs, like some naughty toy. Very humiliating. BUTT, I tightened it and it's been okay since. Still, I need the packaging because I think I'm going to take it back and get the wider seat. My butt still hurts.

You're right about time. I do 2 laps around the subdivision and fall off the bike trying to get up the driveway at the end because my legs can't hold me up. Sucks to get old.

Later on we were discussing it and he asked me where I liked to ride.

Me: Well, I had been doing the forest preserve, but that's too hard because it's a 3-6 mile loop, depending on the route, and so much can happen, as I learned with my seat, and bad things only happen when you're at the farthest distance from your car.

Bro: OHMYGOD, I hadn't even thought about that. What if you have to pee? What if you get hungry? GASP!

Me: Well, I wasn't thinking that. I was thinking more serious. Like, what if I take a dive over the handlebars and break my face? Or what if a coyote jumps out and bites my leg? Or what if I have to...poop?

Bro: Wow, I hadn't thought about the serious stuff. I was focused on peeing and being hungry, but you're right.

Me: Yeah, now I just ride around the subdivision because at any point I can cut across the field in the middle and get home a lot quicker, or if I feel up to it, do another lap. Or if I get marauded by a low-flying flock of geese, I can get home to get the dog and sic him on them right away. The subdivision is a lot safer to me. And I'm all about safety. I even carry ID with me when I bike and I take my cell phone. I don't trust myself not to get killed.

Bro: I just never thought about it! You COULD get killed! Riding a bike when you're grown up is so different from riding when you're a kid. Wow.

Me: Tell me about it! It's not only worse because I have no strength or endurance, but I'm all wigged out about dying on my bike from a freak accident and being far from home or unidentifiable. It really sucks being a grown-up biker. God, I should get a helmet. And pads. And prescription pain-killers.

At some point, I posted on my Facebook page that my thighs and ass were aflame, or something less offensive. Best Friend Extraordinaire saw the post and commented that we should go biking together, which sounded novel, but then I realized just how stupid that idea was for me. It's one thing to be out in the middle of a forest preserve alone, or riding around my subdivision, huffing and puffing, sweating like a pig, eyes watering from the wind, nose running from looking down, still trying to figure out the complicated gear shifting (which is why I drive an automatic!), and I certainly don't need an experienced rider alongside making fun of me the entire time.

We went out to eat together over the weekend and had the following conversation:

Me: So, I read your comment on my FB page about biking together, and while that's a nice Not going to happen.

Her: WHY?!

Me: Because I can barely ride.

She laughed.

Me: No, seriously, I'm not as wobbly as I was the first week, thankfully, but I can't shift gears. At all. Or I'll shift, and it makes this terrible noise like grinding the engine and then two blocks later, when the landscape has changed again, it shifts to what I wanted two blocks ago. I'm a mess. I'm dangerous. I can't ride straight or even shift gears.

Her: Shift gears? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, noooooooooo, I don't do that. I just ride in whatever gear it's in. I don't do the gear-shifting.

Me: No? Whew. Okay. But then I have this strength problem. You'd think that a year of working out multiple times a week would prepare my legs and ass for the ability to bike, but nuh-uh! I ride around my subdivision twice and by the time I get off the bike to put it in the garage, my legs are so weak they can't hold me up and my knees buckle.

Her: What?! You ride around your subdivision TWICE? I don't do that! I ride with my son and we only go 3 blocks at a time. I don't do subdivisions!

Me: Okay, that's good to know. But I also can't do uphill. Maybe it's the whole gear-changing problem, but I can't propel myself up the slightest incline yet. It's strictly flat surfaces for me.

Her: Ohhhhhh yeah, I don't do uphill either.

Me: You don't?

Her: Nope. Why would I do something stupid like that? That takes more effort.

Me: I like your style. We can go biking anytime you want!

And so I have faith again that BFE and I can renew our friendship, despite how our lives have gone in such different directions this last decade. And it was a bike that brought us together.

The funny thing is, we'll make plans to bike together and never do it, which is also fine by me. It's the thought that counts, and the knowledge that we are equals when it comes to biking, and that alone is enough to bond us together once more: sisters in infirmity.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Evil One

Despite the addition of two new building maintenance employees and two new security guards, either through personal problems or other jobs, we have seen many absences from these crucial new members of staff, plus my favorite of favorites, Sarge, quit. Almost daily, Marina and/or I will go to the washroom in the early part of the afternoon and find it completely toilet paper free and a total mess. Is that mud on the sink again or something else similarly colored? I don't want to know. Last week Marina found blood all up behind the toilet and on the back of the toilet seat. After a lengthy discussion about how this couldn't have happened, we decided that we hoped someone injured herself in the washroom and neglected to clean up, rather than figure out how menstrual blood got up in back of the toilet. Then I found blood in a more reasonable location: the front of the toilet seat and all over the floor in front of the toilet. Sad that these findings are so common that we are merely grateful we don't have a blood mystery to solve. Also plaguing us are the garbage bags that never ever get changed. Food and junk are dumped from the bags, but the torn, stained, stinky bags are still in the bin when we return each day, for weeks and weeks and weeks, and we have come to identify them by the remnants that will no longer fall into the large bin when they're dumped. My garbage can has some sticky goo and pencil shavings permanently adhered to the bag, while another has what looks like a dime-sized purple booger on the rim. That has to be a health issue, but we haven't made a big deal about it yet. Add to that how overburdened Arms is with his full-time job, his new girlfriend, moving to Chicago, and having to work all the security hours himself (without Sarge or a replacement) and we I deemed our library a dirty, insecure mess.

On Monday, our director hired a new maintenance guy to cover the shift where Marina and I frequently end up finding bathroom disasters, and I nearly fell to my knees and kissed the new guy's feet. No one will appreciate him more than Marina and me, that's for sure.

A few minutes after the introduction, I felt the need to pee, so off I went to the washroom. The upstairs washroom was full of giggling teens, both in stalls and outside waiting, so I scurried to the downstairs washroom where I thought it would be safe and available. What did I find? No toilet paper. It wasn't even on my FLOOR and here I was having to replace toilet paper downstairs too. As I was bringing armfuls of rolls of toilet paper to the washroom, I walked past the director and the new maintenance guy, and I eyed the boss-man with a squint, then indicated my arms full of toilet paper with my eyes, as if to silently let him know that I'm not happy about my role as toilet paper girl.

He said to the new guy, "This is Nikki, who you already met. She's The Evil One. Watch out for her."

The temptation to begin hurtling the toilet paper at my boss was intense. I vividly imagined hitting him with a roll of TP and watching it bounce off his head, sending both his head and the TP vibrating in different directions.

And no, that does not support his assertion that I'm The Evil One. That was simply the appropriate response.

AND I take slight offense to this misnomer, for I am certainly not the guiltiest, evilest one around. There is a sign on his door that reads, "Shhhh, director at work," and Marina, using red marker, wrote below that, "Sure..." When I asked how she gets away with that without a title exposing her devious nature while I get dubbed The Evil One, she simply said, "No one ever suspects the butterfly..."


Tuesday, our new maintenance guy quietly entered our office and emptied the trash, which I thought little of, exchanged a friendly greeting with him, and went about my work. When he left I realized he'd changed our garbage bags for the first time in months. I let out a scream of joy! Instantly, I IM'd Marina to share the good news and she was almost as ecstatic as I was. The new conundrum is, how will we know whose garbage we're using? If not for the big purple glob of unidentifiable food that's been sitting atop the rim of the garbage bag to my right since February, how will I know that can belongs by my boss's desk? And if not for the sticky goo at the bottom, covered in pencil shavings, how will I know that is the garbage bin Marina and I share? Will we even know it's our own office anymore without the stale smell of rotten banana peels due to two banana-eaters sitting in close proximity, constantly heaving peels into bags that collect banana gunk for years? Suddenly, there's a whole new scent of pride around here!

As I was leaving the building last night, I approached Arms and the director standing together, and Arms immediately said, "Uh-oh, here comes trouble."

Now, between the two of them dubbing me The Evil One and Trouble, I'm starting to wonder about my reputation around here. But not much. If I let myself care, then I'd have to consider changing, and that's out of the question. Besides which, perhaps my reputation overshadows Marina and allows the butterfly to get away with more. It's a partnership in accomplishing more trickery, and I'm all for that.

Slightly caught off guard by the meandering thoughts Arms caused by calling me Trouble, I found my way back to the matter at hand and announced to Arms and the director that I think I am in love with Jose, who gave us new garbage bags. They laughed. They have no idea how serious I am. Any man who will clean up after me to my satisfaction is a man I could love. And I think he has green eyes to go with the dark, Hispanic features -- swoon!

No wonder the other guys make me put in the toilet paper and don't change the garbage bags. They want no part of my infatuation. I mean, really, who wants The Evil One to be smitten with them?

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Last year for Ann's birthday, we took her to Build-A-Bear where Marina, Ann and I built bears. Christi opted out because of jealousy issues with her existing stuffed animals, which we all completely understood.

My first Build-A-Bear was Teddy Pringles, a black bear dressed in a Mountie uniform, who is supposed to represent the adorable black bear we met in the wild in Canada. I love Teddy Pringles so much!

In November, for Marina's birthday, we returned to Build-A-Bear with a healthy addiction well under way, and this time it was just Marina and me making bears. Ann had her precious sheep and no need or room for a sibling, and Christi cited the stuffed animal jealousy again, to which we nodded again in total understanding. Given that I'd just gone on my South Dakota trip, I REALLY wanted to make a buffalo, but alas, they had no buffalo. Instead, I made Nanuq, my polar bear (because I was a polar bear in my last life), and I dressed him as an Eskimo. Nanuq is the shit, yo! It doesn't get much cuter. Or softer.

So, in the meantime, I've been pining for my Build-A-Bear buffalo. I had already decided she was going to be named Dakota and I'd put her in traditional Indian dress. Finally, I just bit the bullet and ordered her, and folks, this is the cutest little buffalo in the history of cute little buffalo.

She's soft like Nanuq, has the biggest brown eyes, and a cute pink mouth like she's grazing.

I never meant to fall in love with Build-A-Bears. They're so commercial and silly, and so what if you can help put them together? They're just stuffed animals, right?

Au contraire! They are fuzzy little love beasts and I want more.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Redemptive Weekend

It always starts off badly, with smelly, self-centered people who want you to coddle them and be their best buddy, doing things for them that their own friends and family don’t have the patience for, and they don’t ask for any of it; they expect it.

Patron: So, I have a file that’s waiting to be burned on a CD, but what if the computer crashes? Will I lose it?

Me: That, um, depends on the crash. It’s always good to have a backup of anything important that you’re working on. Save it on the computer in a different place, save it on a flash drive, email it to yourself, even if you have to do it a few times over the course of your paper. But, yeah, I’d say save it somewhere else as well.

Patron: But will I lose it?

Me: I can’t say for certain. What I’m saying is to keep a backup.

Patron: You’re not answering my question! If the computer crashes and I don’t have a backup, will I lose that file waiting to be burned?

Me: I’ve explained that I don’t know, that it depends on why the computer crashed, but to avoid that being a catastrophe, save it somewhere else.

Patron: How hard is it to answer a question around here?! WILL? I? LOSE? THE? FILE?

Me: Sir, I’ve answered your question three times. I. Don’t. Know. So! YOUR job is to cover yourself. Save it. Don’t risk it. Do you understand what I’m saying?

Patron (defeated): *sigh* Yes.

I immediately sent Marina an IM, though she was sitting 4 feet away, stating emphatically that I hate that guy and don’t like having to be even professionally polite to him. She agreed.

Soon after, one of our least favorite female patrons approached the desk.

Lady: I have a phone number and I was wondering if you could get me an email address for it.

Me: Uh, you want me to try to find someone’s email address? Based on the phone number?

Lady: Yeah.

Me: Is it a business? Or a person?

Lady: It’s a person. They’re not in this country, either. That’s why I want an email address. I don’t want to call.

Me: That I’m aware of, there isn’t a database that links people from their phone number to an email address, unless that phone number is on a website and offers up an alternate way of getting a hold of them. Do you know if this person has a website?

Lady: No, it’s just somebody who wants me to call them.

Me: And it’s an international number?

Lady: Yes.

Me: Do you have a name? I wonder if there are international yellow pages…

Lady: No, I don’t have a name. Just a phone number.

Me: I…I …I only know how to do a reverse phone number lookup for phone numbers in the US and Canada, and that MIGHT give me a name and number if that phone number is listed, but it’ll be for the person who pays the bill.

Lady: No email address?

Me: No. So far there isn’t a database of listed email addresses. Thankfully.

Lady: So, I have no way of finding out this person’s email address from their phone number.

Me: You’re welcome to search online, but I can’t imagine that there would be. And if there were, I’d be very bothered by that. Plus, when people get email accounts, they don’t necessarily use their real information. There pretty much isn’t a way of finding that out.

Lady: You sure?

I wasn’t, but for this purpose I said I was. If she had the idea to go on a wild goose chase, she could do it herself. This is the lady who got very upset with me recently when she forgot her password and I couldn’t track her history on the computer to see what she used. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to use computers.

Another man came in and ranted about losing his job of 10 years, the injustice of it, the anger this spawned, how he now had to go look for a new job and start over at a company when he didn’t deserve to be treated this way. He was livid and told anyone nearby how furious he was to be unemployed, like he was above this. It was embarrassing to me to be standing amongst a group of adults using computers, many of whom were unemployed, none of them raving about how they didn’t deserve it, and I just wanted to slap this guy. What an ass! I did what he needed, but I didn’t even acknowledge his tirade about the job loss with my usual, “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “Good luck with your job search,” or anything remotely sympathetic. I nodded when he looked at me and redirected him toward the technological question he asked me. I’m not your goddamn shrink, you putz! Cut the crap and quit bitching about how bad you have it because not many people around you are better off.

As the day went on, it became clear that the dregs of humanity were out and about, wandering in and out of the library throughout the day, asking me questions that even as I was hearing them, I was thinking to myself that this was going to go in the blog.

Then, as we were cleaning up at the end of the day, a middle-aged man who had been using a computer for most of the afternoon, approached me and told me something that changed everything.

He had that look in his eye like he was a broken man, beyond wanting to retain some dignity. It was a sad, end-of-the-line look, almost child-like in absolute trust, pleading and fragile, and he told me he recently lost his house and was homeless. He needed help because he didn’t want to live in his van anymore.

I bit my lip. It was all I could do to keep from crying.

Given that we were closing, I gave him a list of places to go for help, organizations (governmental and non-profits), shelters, etc., but I couldn’t devote much time to finding more information about programs and such. I did explain that my knowledge might be a mile wide, but is only an inch deep, and calling these places would put him in touch with people whose knowledge runs much deeper and includes personal experience. He thanked me, said he still had a cell phone that hadn’t been turned off yet, and he’d call them first thing Monday when business hours commenced. He walked out of the building and I was struggling trying to remain on my feet. It simply broke my heart.

This man was smart enough and desperate enough to ask for help, which was good, and hopefully I gave him some tools to help him. But he was so meek, so unassuming, so kind, so grateful, so human. He placed no blame, he wasn’t angry, he didn’t demand anything – he simply wanted someone to give him some avenues he could travel down to get out of this. It was beautifully heartbreaking, and for the first time in a long time, I felt some hope. Hope for him. Hope for me. Hope for all of us. Still it saddens me. It’s a heavy weight I feel when people lay upon me these stories of woe and I let myself care. Part of me wishes he’d been an asshole like my previous patrons and barked at me orders to do various tasks for him, and that way I wouldn’t feel much of anything about his loss. But most of me is appreciative for the trust, the humanity, and the mutual respect, because if I can help him carry his burden, if just for a moment, and he walks away feeling like there’s someone on earth who cares, then maybe the job I do isn’t so frivolous, and maybe the person I’ve grown to be isn’t so selfish, so untouchable, so jaded.

I wore this new-found humble sensation all weekend. Well, until Easter Sunday, when I skipped around and wished everyone a Happy Zombie Jesus Day, and cooked a holiday dinner against my mother’s and mine won. Then I returned to work today to find myself just as quick to be irritated with the patrons who bully me without respect.

Yet, there is this memory of the homeless man who, if just for a moment, carried me, too. It makes me wonder who needs to be saved from what.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Defcon 1

The other day, my mom had a panic attack about not having enough food in the house. She mentioned to my brother that she wouldn’t be able to grocery shop for another week and that we’d have to get by until then, make the food that we had last for a while.

(I should explain that I buy most of the groceries for our house, but I refuse to buy junk food. I buy produce – fresh and frozen – of all kinds, meat, jarred and dried foods, and all the household products. My mother gets a small lump sum in food stamps, and with that she buys the crap I won’t buy, like cookies, cakes, pop, chips, shitty pre-packaged foods full of sodium and preservatives, and the white bread products I can’t and won’t consume. Her money doesn’t go far and she usually runs out somewhere around the middle of the month, so she must spend the remainder of the month eating the fresh foods I buy, which drives her crazy because that means it requires her to cook.)

My brother, of sound mind and body (relatively, compared with her), told her there was plenty of food in the house and he didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. When he told me about this later, we laughed heartily because Mom can take a perfectly safe, normal, calm situation where no panic is necessary and take it straight to panic mode, Defcon 1. We dubbed it Foodcon 1. The fridge isn’t packed to the walls with food and you can actually see the shelves in the pantry, so she was worried we were going to starve to death. We happened to run out of milk 2 days before I was to grocery shop, so she was frantic about having no milk and my unwillingness to run to the store to buy more milk.

Let me show you something.

THIS is what the refrigerator looks like.

THIS is what the pantry looks like.

THIS is the collection of fruit I have sitting on the island at any given time. (I’m a banana and grapefruit addict, by the way.) What you cannot see are the shelves on the bottom that are piled high with potatoes (3 5-pound bags), onions and other fresh produce that can be left out of the fridge.

This doesn’t even include the fact that I have a 5.2 cubic foot chest freezer in the garage (too dark to take a picture) that is so crowded, I’ve had to take things out of their original packaging and put them in baggies with notes on when they were opened and what they are. Meat stacks better when thawed and repackaged in Ziploc bags, the air is pushed out, and you can pile almost twice as much in a given space. Frozen pizzas in boxes take up too much room, so I leave them in their plastic wrap and cut out the cooking instructions, which I tape to the pizza. That freezer is packed so tight that I have to pile heavy things on top to keep the lid down.

PEOPLE, WE HAVE PLENTY OF FOOD! We could go a month without shopping and barely show concern. Part of that is because I learned from my dad to overbuy things that will keep for a long time and I tend to stock up if I can afford to do so, largely because I never know what tomorrow will bring, and maybe the food money will be cut severely, but I’ll have a heap of food to get us by for a while.

Yet, we were at Foodcon 1 to my mother.

That’s her way. Everything is tragic; everything is scary; everything is bad. It’s not even a case of seeing the glass as half-empty. She sees a full glass and panics because the glass isn’t big enough, or worse, it could be knocked over before you get to drink it and then there won’t be anything in the glass! She’s that way about everything: Defcon 1.

She should get a job with Homeland Security. Or airport security.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's Not So Bad Being Me

I knew it wasn't going to be a good day when I was getting ready for work. First, I pulled a muscle in my back somehow. All my working out at the gym and riding my bike did not strengthen my back muscles such that they could withstand simple movement getting out of bed, and one would freak out and cry like a baby. Stupid muscles.

Then, as I was brushing my teeth -- which is more like brushing my mouth, including my tongue, the roof, and down my throat -- I hit a sensitive spot and gagged. Hard. Unlike I've ever gagged before. I didn't just catch myself starting to heave, but my throat made a horrific sound that took my evolution back eons, and something resembling the alarmed call of a pterodactyl escaped my esophagus. First I was startled, wondering if that noise really came from me, and when I realized it had, I started to laugh. Not a giggle. Not a snicker. But a full-on case of hilarity that caused me to spit toothpaste foam all over my mirror. This, of course, made me crack up more, and not wanting to spit more on my mirror, I tried to stifle it, which failed. Not only did I laugh harder, but the harder I tried not to laugh, the harder I laughed. Soon there were tears running down my face, toothpaste dripping down my throat, and the gagging started again until I threw up in my sink. And I was still laughing. Harder. Leelu was kind enough to point out that there are worse scenarios for throwing up than in a fit of laughter, and while I do agree, minty vomit is still pretty gross.

By the time I arrived at work, I was really feeling like a lame-o, and then I had the following conversation with Marina, via IM.

Me: You working tomorrow?

Marina: No way, Jose

Me: LOL, okay then.
Me: Do you need help clipping coupons?

She has a coupon program on Saturday and everyone has been bringing in their unused coupon inserts for her.

Marina: I shouldn't
Marina: I keep the inserts intact whenever possible

Me: Ah.
Me: Okay. Was looking for something different to do. So tired of ordering books.

Marina: I know what you mean
Marina: You could do my cataloging homework

Me: Sure. If you want to fail.

Marina: Hmmm good point.
Marina: If I can't understand it after three lectures on the topic, I doubt someone who hasn't sat through the B.S. could do it with no instruction
Marina: I'll get [the head of Tech Services] to do it
Marina: He'll think its fun

Me: Oh, good idea.

Marina: I don't know why it is so hard for me to grasp

Me: Because it's boring.
Me: How well would you do on a project about the chemical properties of paint and how they contribute to the length of time it takes for them to dry?

Marina: Well...
Marina: Probably worse than cataloging

Me: Uh-huh
Me: Detect a pattern here?

Marina: Yeah you're right
Marina: Even with three lectures, cuz I'd likely sleep through all 3
Marina: I'm just baffled, because 80% of my class seems to love it
Marina: They all want to take more cataloging classes
Marina: I think the conclusion that this leads to is that librarians are cracked

Me: Were you in doubt before the class?
Me: Need I remind you of our consortium meetings?

Marina: I guess I never really put it all together before
Marina: What did I get myself into?

Me: You just got yourself into a field where you are guaranteed to be the coolest, hippest, brightest, and most with-it person around.

Marina: Oh yay!
Marina: A patron just asked me for his horoscope
Marina: I've never been asked that before

Me: A weird lady came in yesterday wanting copies [a coworker] made for her of her PAST horoscopes!
Me: OMG, what good is that?
Me: In hindsight!

Marina: lol
Marina: Maybe she is doing research on the accuracy of horoscopes

Me: Um...
Me: Maybe
Me: But I doubt it.

Marina: Yeah probably not

Me: Have you looked around lately?
Me: Do it. Right now. Take a look at your patrons.

Marina: I'm scared....

Me: You should be.

Which reminds me of a conversation I had not too long ago with one of my favorite people.

Patron: Hey, beautiful.

I looked around to see who the hell he was talking to and there was no one there but me. I was thinking he shouldn't be this drunk this early in the morning, but as he approached the desk he didn't smell like alcohol. Must be the politician in him that makes him so good at lying like that.

Me: Good morning.

Patron: Are you still dating Boyfriend *eyeroll* Extraordinaire? What are you thinking dating someone who lives in California? You need to look for someone else, someone local.

Me: WHAT?! Are you on crack? Have you SEEN the men who live around here? You'd like me to DATE one of THEM?

Patron (laughing): Okay, you have a point, but you should look in areas like Evanston. They're the types of guys for you.

He said this like it's a question of lifting up rocks and peering behind bushes, trying to find men in certain areas worthy of dating. Wait, that might not be a bad idea…

Patron: You're right, though. I'm looking at the patrons behind you, sitting at the computers. There's one guy, I swear he's on the sex offender list. Don't look, but he's on computer #5.

Me: Oh, yeah, I know who you're talking about. He's harmless, just creepy. And no, I wouldn't date him.

Patron: Slim pickings around here.

Me: Tell me about it! Why do you think I moved on to another state?!

So, while my day started off weird, I realize I'm probably not the weirdest person around, and that's nice.