Thursday, March 29, 2007

Miss Information has a failure to communicate

Miss Information is assigned to the children's department today. She is wearing the shoes with the little skull and crossbones motif. Anyway, it is blessedly a break between those “we entertain your children so you don’t have to” story sessions so Miss Information doesn't have to listen to happy morning songs or look at shiny happy faces. In fact, the department is relatively quiet….except for that buzzing.

At first, Miss Information assumed the faint buzzing sound was coming from inside her head and so tried to silence it with more and stronger coffee, but it soon became clear that others could hear it too. Not a good sign. There were a couple of reasons an alarm might be going off, both non-fatal but one of them is kind of icky. In order to investigate, Miss Information headed for the little alcove next to the program room where the ESL class was meeting. Unfortunately she had waited too long and the ESL class, believing that there was a fire, had decided to evacuate. Miss Information couldn’t get to the little alcove because dozens of ESL students were now in her way. She tried to get them to go back to their room. She said reassuring things like “it’s not a problem, go back to class” and “everything’s fine, go back to your room” and “it’s probably just the sump pump alarm” and “get the hell out of the way!” See because Miss Information is pretty stupid in the morning she’d forgotten a very important factor—these people are ESL students because they don’t already speak English. So basically, Miss Information’s reassurances were lost on them. They wanted to know what was going on and Miss Information’s 4 years of high school Latin aren’t much help in these situations.

She finally located the person who she thought was their teacher, urging her to get the students back in the room so Miss Information could find out what was causing the alarm. The woman stared at her blankly. Um…ok, either she isn’t the teacher or her grasp of English isn’t much good either or more likely, the instruction to return to a small enclosed space while an alarm goes off didn’t sound like good advice to her.

Eventually Miss Information managed to shoulder her way through the mob. As she expected it was the sump pump malfunctioning.

If there really was a fire, though, all those ESL students would have been briquettes because they only managed to evacuate about 4 feet. They might need a special class on fire safety.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Miss Information is annoyed by an entrepreneur

A regular known as French Video Guy is looking for today's newspaper. It isn't in the right place. Miss Information already knew this. Another customer, one without a nickname, already reported that to her. She had a look around for the first guy but no luck. The newspaper could be anywhere--the library's bizarre design means that there are 2 main levels and 2 smaller levels and tons of nooks and crannies where people might go to be alone with the crossword.

She reported all this to French Video Guy. He couldn't understand it. Why would someone deliberately take the newspaper and disappear with it?

Miss Information refrained from slapping the man. Almost every day French Video Guy does exactly that. He takes the newspaper into the computer room and sits--alternatively viewing old Journey videos on the net and reading the paper, thus monopolizing not one, but two library services. He does this for hours.

One of Miss Information's colleagues tried to explain the concept of sharing to the man a couple a while back. French Video Man became hostile. He isn't being selfish. He's multitasking. It turns out, unbeknownst to the library staff, that French Video Man currently owns and runs several successful businesses. He offered Miss Information's colleague a job. She declined.

Miss Information wonders if these businesses run themselves since the guy spends about 10 hours a day in the library. She didn't read that 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book so she doesn't know where "watch old REO Speedwagon videos all day in the library" falls on the list but she's pretty sure that's how Donald Trump spends his time. Wasn't there a very special epidsode of the Apprentice devoted to hanging around listlessly in public libraries?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Miss Information is annoyed by know who you are

Let's talk about toner cartridges, people. Changing them isn't brain surgery. Learn how to do it for god's sake!

Oh, that whole shake up the cartridge and stick it back in the machine manoeuver works a couple of times but when the printer starts spewing out stuff that is half grey and half white, it is time to write an obit for that cartridge.

Also, would it be too much to ask that when you're shaking up that toner cartridge you make a mental note to LOCATE AND BRING A NEW CARTRIDGE TO THE DESK? Obviously, we're going to need one. Why not think ahead?


What Miss Information thought about in Corpse Pose
Miss Information suddenly realized that she actually can tell the difference between a tracking shot and a pan. This almost makes up for her not being able to figure out whether those shots of Kevin Costner in the Union Station sequence of the Untouchables are close ups or medium close ups. Thoughts, anyone?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Miss Information is annoyed by a genealogist

The genealogist, the mean one with the pink hair, calls to Miss Information. She wants to know why the computer isn’t letting her log on. Miss Information can think of a thousand reasons, but computers aren’t as petty and spiteful as she is. It is a quiet morning, but there are a few other Internet users happily tapping away, so it isn’t a network problem. It isn’t a problem with her card, the woman says because the other computer let her log on. The other computer? The woman points to the vacant computer next to the malicious one she is attempting to use. Yes, the woman explains that in order to test her library card she logged on to another computer, then she logged out, because she didn’t want to use the working computer, she wanted to use the non-working computer. Why? It’s got a better personality? The computers are identical in every way. Same software, same view of the wall, same proximity to the smelly guy…Miss Information is constantly baffled by this type of behaviour. One day she may be brave enough to ask. In the meantime, she logs the computer on for the woman, who probably just made a typo or something.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Miss Information is annoyed by a snow day

Miss Information survived yesterday's first aid class and subsequent snow/ice storm, although her 30 minute trip home took 2 hours.

This morning the weather was clear, but the storm had wiped out power in parts of the city. Miss Information was delighted to learn that the library was affected. Management called to say that the branch was closing for the day and they presented her with several options--by far the most attractive being to stay home and blow away a vacation day. This made management happy also, because they're concerned about the amount of vacation Miss Information has put aside for a rainy day. Perfect.

Miss Information made plans. Good plans. She has an essay to work on, a dull novel to read for class and there's evening yoga but her first priority was shopping. A thirteen year old boy in her life needed a birthday present and this meant Miss Information could go to a big electronics store and touch stuff. Ooooooh. Shiny.

Then of course, coffee and a book. Not a school book, a fun book. That took care of most of the afternoon but it was probably time to head home and work on that essay. Or play computer games. You can't just dive headfirst into those essays, you know.

So imagine her disappointment when she checked her messages and discovered that the library was now open and they wanted her to come in as soon as possible.

Miss Information needs some kind of English/Management translation dictionary because obviously closing for the day means something else in their language.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Miss Information is annoyed by a refresher course

Every couple of years, Miss Information's first aid certification expires and the library sends her for upgrading. It's all pretty useless because Miss Information is just no good in a crisis. For one thing, she's a hypochondriac, so no matter how bad your injury/situation is she's just gonna be distracted by her own paper cut. Which is probably infected and turning into that flesh eating disease thing. She has real problems.

But she does like to be away from the branch. Besides the weather guys were predicting a storm and the class was easily reachable by public transit.

About an hour into the seminar, after watching videos of people blithely walking into plate glass windows, impaling themselves on pointy things and behaving stupidly around other people's blood, Miss Information had pretty much decided to never leave home again.

During the discussion portion of the class, she noticed something about one of her classmates. This woman had examples of everything. People around her had mostly died horribly. She had also witnessed someone choking at a fast food restaurant, a heart attack at a hockey rink, a serious tobogganing accident, a bus crash, a bee sting allergy event, a near drowning, and several workplace injuries. Miss Information was terrified to be in the same room with her. Who was she, anyway? Some kind of Typhoid Mary of libraries?

At one point the woman mentioned that she had recently moved to a different library. Was this because all her co-workers had met with mysterious "accidents"? Miss Information decides to keep tabs on the people at this new library, although she personally is staying very far away from this woman. Perhaps she just has terrible luck. Or just maybe there's something more sinister happening.

When the class is dismissed Miss Information runs to the train station. There's no way she's getting on the same subway as that woman.