I am a librarian, and I haven’t discussed that at all, so I figure it’s about time. I don’t really have a lot of funny/weird stories because much of my time has been spent in the back, cataloging. Well, okay, so I don’t have a lot of funny/weird stories about patrons.
But I have had jobs at different libraries, and have spent my share of time on the reference desk (especially now that I practically live at one), so I have had some close encounters with the strange and the smelly.
The worst experience so far that didn’t involve an encounter with an actual human was finding child pornography downloaded onto our computers. Nice way to start the day! This was a whole new level of disgusting and disturbing. And frustrating, as I was told by our computer people that there was “nothing they could do.” I beg your pardon? So now I just look for questionable things on the desktop every so often and delete what I find.
(Why are people so disgusting?!?!)
One day not too long ago I walked up to my desk, which is the reference desk. (Yes, as you may have suspected from an earlier comment, my desk is in fact the reference desk. I could go on and on about this state of affairs but I’ll spare you. For now.) There is a patron talking on my phone! Now, we provide a phone for patrons to use for local calls, completely free of charge. It is not the one on my desk.
So, as he was not actually speaking at the time, I said, “Sir, you’re not supposed to be using this phone.” He nodded and smiled like I’d just said, “Good morning, you handsome devil!”
I came around the desk, put my things away, and logged on to my computer. Thinking, Now he’ll realize this is my desk and he’ll get off the phone. Silly me! Courtesy is for fools, apparently.
He kept talking and talking, about some position or job offer or something. I made eye contact and told him again he needed to get off this phone. He didn’t. Finally, he wrapped up his conversation, just as I was about to disconnect the phone.
I told him again, “Sir, you’re not allowed to use this phone. We provide one in the computer lab for your use.”
He said, very sarcastically, “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought it would be all right, it was an urgency.” (Yes, he said urgency instead of emergency.) (And it wasn’t either one.)
I said, not sarcastic at all, and trying hard to be polite, “I’m sorry, but it didn’t sound like an emergency to me. This is my phone, and patrons aren’t supposed to use it.”
He said, “Oh, I didn’t realize you paid the bill on this phone.” Each word simply dripping sarcasm. Really, I think he cornered the market on it.
I said, clutching my patience and professionalism to me so tightly they could not breathe, “I don’t, sir, but it’s still my work phone. How would you like it if I walked into your office and started using your phone?”
He said, “If it was an urgency, I wouldn’t mind.” The voice of reason and compassion!
I said, “Well, it didn’t sound like an emergency to me.”
And there we left it.
Another wonderful start to another wonderful day!!
(Don't you just hate when you can’t think of anything clever to say when you really need to and then later think of all the great things you should have said?)