Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Miss Information is baffled by maternal instincts

Lately Miss Information has been wondering about people. Specifically, are they insane, or what?

The library elevator, affectionately known as the death trap is miraculously working after a 3 month hiatus in the summer while the elevator guys tried to locate a part that would—what’s the technical term?—make it go up and down. But it is still a temperamental creature (Miss Information can so relate) and it tends to shut down whenever too many buttons are pushed, or when it gets tired or when it wants to get on Miss Information’s nerves. It’s usually just a matter of time before it pulls itself together and starts working again. One afternoon recently it managed to trap an entire family between floors. (That’ll teach ‘em. Take the stairs next time, you lazy bastards.)

While Miss Information’s colleague was running between floors banging on the elevator door trying to communicate with the trapped people, (which is really all library staff does when faced with an elevator malfunction), Miss Information continued answering reference questions. A woman who was clearly waiting for the elevator was watching the drama. Miss Information expected her to sigh heavily and take the stairs. She did not, continuing to wait for the elevator. After a couple of minutes, Miss Information approached the woman, and pointed out that not only had the elevator stopped working, in fact there were a number of people imprisoned inside it and suggested the woman take the stairs. After all, it isn’t that many stairs, just one flight. Besides, it just seems logical to avoid large non-working mechanical devices. The woman responded that she couldn’t possibly take the stairs because she had a baby. She held up a tiny baby in a handheld basket. So, this woman decided that a sensible thing to do is to risk your baby’s life in a malfunctioning elevator because you don’t feel like carrying her down a flight of stairs? Miss Information knows that there is a remote possibility that you might trip and drop your baby on the stairs, but taking the elevator is a really bad idea--especially considering a couple of recent local elevator crashes that were featured prominently in the news.

At any rate, Miss Information was unable to dissuade the woman. She waited patiently and tried to hop onto the elevator the second the doors opened and the people were released. The librarian in charge had to practically wrestle the woman out of the way in order to test-drive the elevator (also not a good idea, but she is getting the big bucks).

Everyone survived the ride...this time. But still, Miss Information wonders about people.


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