Saturday, June 30, 2007

Miss Information is annoyed by surrogate parenting

This Monday Miss Information was recruited for surrogate soccer mom duty. She was less than enthusiastic. For one thing there was a midterm the next day and studying was necessary. Also, she really wanted to go to her step class. She’s starting a new course next week that will significantly reduce the amount of time she can spend in the gym. While she’s happy about the upcoming expansion of her mind, the potential accompanying expansion of her hips is less welcome.

Miss Information set out to the soccer field. Her sister had given her vague instructions and bags of snacks for the team. She was to look for the children wearing the same burgundy shirt as her niece. Easy. She looked. Red shirts, yellow shirts, orange shirts, no burgundy shirts. Miss Information didn’t realize there were that many children or that many colours on the planet. They wandered aimlessly through the field searching in vain for the burgundy team.

Finally, they spotted a kid. One kid. Niece confirmed that he looked sort of familiar. They settled in and waited for the rest of the team to show up. Their opponents seemed to have a lot of players—more than two anyway. The good news is that there were enough rice krispie squares for everyone.

Eventually one more burgundy kid showed up. One of the burgundy parents investigated and discovered that the burgundy coach had a hissy fit and quit a couple of weeks ago. Apparently the three kids who showed up were the only ones who didn’t get the e-mail.

Too bad, so sad. Miss Information thought this would be a great time to introduce the 5 and 6 year olds to a new word—forfeit. But no. The do-gooder burgundy parents would rather their children be crushed by life at a later date. Damn positive role models. Children were drafted from other teams and a game was played in spite of the futility of it all.

Miss Information’s usually enthusiastic and athletic niece opted to stand perfectly still in one spot for the entirety of the game, not even attempting to make contact with the ball. Miss Information’s other niece amused herself by throwing grass at everyone. Miss Information spent the night picking grass out of her hair and sulking quietly.

She just isn’t cut out for parenting.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Miss Information is annoyed by summer

Ok. First day of summer vacation. Couldn't any of you have found something better to do than come to the library and torment Miss Information?

Vile children.

Miss Information's favourite moment came during a conversation with the head of the library's summertime Force Your Children to Read programme. He told her about a child rejected from the programme.

"She already reads good," he explained.

Run fast, little girl.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Miss Information can not answer your question. Please die.

Tuesdays are usually stressful. Miss Information works a split shift and spends the afternoon at school. On top of that she is exhausted from last night's 7-hour turf war with her cat over who gets to stick whose foot in whose face tonight. She is still pulling fur from her teeth.

School involved a review for next week’s midterm. The professor had helpfully generated a list of key concepts as a study aid. Not only did Miss Information not recognize any of them from the course, she wasn’t even sure they were English words. And she’s been to all the classes and kept up with the reading. She might need to go over some things.

At work it was one baffling conversation after another. This is the one that crushed her spirit.

Woman: Is there a computer where I can use my USB stick?
Miss Information: The word processing computers can do that.
Woman: Oh. I don’t like using my USB stick except at home but the file’s on my e-mail. Where can I open an attachment?
Miss Information: The word processing computers can do that.
Woman: Oh. Can’t I just use a regular Internet computer?
Miss Information: Sometimes they can’t open attachments.
Woman: I opened my attachment on one yesterday. I’ll just use that one again.

Why is Miss Information even involved in this conversation? Her presence didn’t seem necessary.

The rest of the shift was a struggle not to answer every question with “who the hell knows?”

For the record, Miss Information does not know the answer to the following questions:
Where can I buy used books about printed circuit boards?
What does my son need to know to pass the college math entrance exam?
Should I read this book or that book?
Can I get into university if I don’t have proper documentation from my home country?
Have I read this book before?
When will that overdue book be returned?

Miss Information hopes tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Guy walks into a library...

wants to use a computer. Does he have a library card? No, the guy sneers. He never comes to the library. Miss Information looks at him, looks around at the library he is presently standing in and wonders if she should alert the media. Realizing they’re probably still busy with Paris Hilton, she decides against it. Does he want to get a library card? Of course not.

Undaunted, Miss Information recites the many reasons why it’s so great to have a library card. It’s free. It’s fast. You can sign out books, magazines, DVDs. You will win the lottery. Your hair will be shinier. And, most importantly, you will be able to use the computer for even longer. Yes! Instead of a visitor pass that gives you 30 minutes, you will be able to log on for an hour or more every day!

Guy is not convinced. He never comes to the library. (Why do people always say that like it’s something to be proud of?) He only needs the computer for a couple of minutes anyway.

Miss Information directs him to the 15 minute express terminals. You don’t need a card for those.

When she returns from her coffee break, the guy is back at the desk. Somebody gave him a visitor pass but it’s running out. He needs longer on the computer. Miss Information gently suggests, once again that his life would be so very much better with a library card.

Nah. He never comes to the library.

Miss Information realizing that this is a lost cause, gives him another visitor slip. At this rate, he'll end up with more computer time than a legitimately registered customer. Something about that just seems wrong to Miss Information.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Miss Information offers some friendly advice

It’s a long walk from the front door to the reference desk. Miss Information suggests you use that time to think about what you’re going to ask the librarian. Try to phrase your question in a way that won’t make the reference desk staff spew coffee out their noses. Earlier this week a woman declared “I want osteoporosis.” Miss Information knew she meant “I want osteoporosis information” but it doesn’t matter. The little voice in Miss Information’s head was screaming at her to tell the woman to stop drinking milk.

Secondly, Miss Information would like to remind you that not everything you see on television is reality programming. Maybe you should take a few minutes to figure out the difference between scripted drama and documentary programmes--any time before you come into the library would be good. The woman, who did not appear delusional, wanted to look up local private investigators on the Internet yellow pages. She was interested in one firm in particular—McMillan and Wife. Luckily Miss Information was only a bystander for this conversation. The little voice was screaming again. At the very least the voice wanted to mention that McMillan and his wife, although they solved murders, were not private investigators. He was the police commissioner of San Francisco and she was just some busybody housewife. Oh, and they were FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. From the 1970s. So, they may no longer be listed in the phone book.

Miss Information is usually able to ignore the little voice, but it's getting kind of hard. One day the little voice is bound to win.