Thursday, April 22, 2010

Miss Information is annoyed by a new theme day

Poor Miss Information hadn't gotten the press release announcing that Tuesday was Feisty Obnoxious Old Lady Day--FOOL for short. She was minding her own business at the reference desk when the first eruption occurred. The woman at the circulation desk was screaming. She's nearly 90! The library is discriminating against her! Had all the nice old staff members retired? The young people today have no respect for seniors! She'd been coming to the library for 70 years and no, she was not going to show ID! Some nerve asking such an impertinent thing!

As the woman stomped down towards reference, Miss Information beat a hasty retreat into the back room. Her co-worker is nearing retirement age and could communicate with this woman on her own terms. Also, Miss Information is a complete coward.

The problem was that the woman's card had expired. When this happens, the library requires the tiniest glance at some address ID. The woman would not show ID because it was clear the library hates senior citizens. Young whippersnappers have no respect. Miss Information's colleague--who is not what you would call a young whippersnapper--tried to reason with the screaming woman. Of course, you can't really reason with people who are screaming at the library, so she went to get a supervisor. At some point, Miss Information returned to the desk to deal with the non-screaming customers. The yelling woman kept ranting away, complaining now about how long the co-worker was taking. At one point she turned to Miss Information and asked her why she personally hated senior citizens so much. Up until this very second, Miss Information hadn't realized that she disliked them at all, but if she had to pinpoint a reason, it would probably be the way they scream about library policy.

Miss Information went for the safe answer, however, and told the woman that everyone has to show ID, not just seniors. The woman went back to muttering about being nearly 90 and how awful the library was to make her wait. Also, that ID thing was really bugging her. When Miss Information's co-worker returned, Madame Screamy pulled out some perfectly acceptable ID, her card was renewed, everyone waved good-bye to the nasty old bat and got back to work.

Then Miss Information noticed that it was also the day of the Cranky Old Women's Bookclub--COW for short. This bookclub is not sponsored by the library, they rent space and complain bitterly about everything--especially things Miss Information can't help them with. She hoped to avoid them, but suddenly the phone rang. It was one of the COWs. She was upstairs at the meeting room but the door wasn't open. What's worse, it was obvious someone was in the room and they were ignoring her! She was knocking on the door! Miss Information could actually hear what she would describe as "pounding on the door". The COW demanded that Miss Information unlock the door this instant and explain what was happening!

Miss Information doesn't have keys to the door, but found someone who does. The reason the door was locked was because the COWs didn't officially have access to the room for another 10 minutes. The person in the room was the clerk setting up the chairs and didn't want a bunch of COWs getting in his way. He admitted later that he was also a little frightened of the way the women were trying to kick the door down.

Miss Information has never seen the appeal of bookclubs but doubts that the COW ladies ever get around to discussing books. She imagines that the first part of the meeting is devoted to a conversation about how the library is ruining everything and then in the second hour they strategize about getting back at them. Miss Information would ask to join, but suspects she isn't nearly cranky enough for them. She recently met a woman who might be a perfect fit though.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Miss Information is annoyed by a germophobe

Miss Information finally finished her last essay ever and has time to concentrate on leisure reading, hockey playoffs and pollen counts.

She had just started her shift on Wednesday when a regular patron came to the desk and stood in front of Miss Information's clearly busy co-worker. Miss Information beckoned to the woman. "I can help you!" she said in her best friendly public servant voice.

The woman glared at her and said she preferred to wait for the other staff member. Miss Information tried to convince her that this was unwise, when she--almost a librarian--would be happy to help. The woman kept glaring. She told the other staff member she wanted to book the computer.

"But I can do that for you!" Miss Information announced and began getting her computer prepared for the task.

"No, I want her to help me," said the patron. The "her" in question had now left the desk, so Miss Information made an attempt to pick up the woman's library card, only to have the woman snatch it away.

"I don't want you touching my card until you wash your hands!" the woman said venomously. "I can't be exposed to germs!"

Even when she was 5 years old, Miss Information bristled at these sorts of orders. Instead of washing her hands, she got the cleanest looking staff member she could find to help the woman. Eventually she realized the woman had probably seen her blow her nose a few minutes earlier but she still did not appreciate being treated like Patient Zero. In fact it really made her want to run over to the woman's Internet terminal and lick the keyboard. This being a public library computer, somebody else has probably done that already exposing the woman to all sorts of scary diseases. Good.

For the record: it's allergies, not the Black Death.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Miss Information is bringing the crazy back

Miss Information is down to her last two essays. It is killing her. Despite her realization that she could probably hand in a 15 page paper written in rhyming couplets and still manage to get a passing grade, she is agonizing over this. She suspects that because she is a drooling, mumbling mess, she has attracted a new crazy friend.

It was her first customer of the day. The woman's beautiful blue eyes briefly disguised that the she was a marching band full of crazy. She started out by asking Miss Information to help her find the contact information for the local police. She had a complaint. Also, she would like to complain about the national policing agency as well. They weren't taking her seriously. And the phone company. They were monitoring her calls. Oh, and also she needed information about the landlord and tenant act. She doesn't care for her landlord's attitude. He's spying on her.

Miss Information did what she always does in these situations. She pretended the woman was rational and tried to deal with the questions one at a time. As she was getting the requested information the woman kept talking. Who would she complain to about her doctor? The hospital had forced her, under hypnosis, to take all sorts of tests, some of them gynaecological. As if that wasn't bad enough, the bastards were selling this highly personal information to radio and television stations who were broadcasting the woman's tests nationally. The woman wondered who she would complain to about this. Miss Information has no idea but she was pleased to learn why television's been so stupid lately.

Miss Information tries to help her as much as she can. Obviously she's out of her depth here. However, she knows that some libraries offer legal aid services and she suggests the woman talk to an attorney about these problems, possibly get some help, start commitment hearings, etc. The woman looks at Miss Information as though she were the crazy one. She doesn't need a lawyer. Why would she need a lawyer? That's insane.

Oh. Thanks for clearing that up. The woman left with a ream of addresses and a variety of complaint forms from a number of agencies. Before she left, she did mention that Miss Information had been very helpful and she would not be filing any sort of complaint against her.