Sunday, July 31, 2011

Miss Information will get you and your little dog, too

Another beautiful summer night. It would be perfect, if only Miss Information were not at work. Even worse, because it's a beautiful summer night, all the senior staff has abandoned ship leaving Miss Information in charge of the department. Still it isn't a bad night. Obviously the racist guy from a few weeks ago comes back. This time he's not so much racist as he is paranoid. A staff member at another branch lied to him about the due date of his magazine and now he had to pay a fine. Well, yeah. If only the library didn't recruit staff at reform schools... Still though, the man has other ways to find out his due dates. Like the ever helpful date due slip. They're awesome. You can keep them and look at them and not have to depend on library staff to know what day it is.

Miss Information made him pay the fine. She probably would have waived it except for those anti-Muslim remarks a few weeks ago. She's unreasonable like that.

Sigh. This is probably what would be known as the "dog days" of summer. Miss Information wouldn't have realized except there's a dog in the library. Good thing she's in charge. She stops the woman and her dog.

Miss Information: You can't bring your dog into the library.
Woman: But I need to pick up a book.
Miss Information, is stunned by this logic and repeats herself: But, but, you can't bring your dog into the library.
Woman: I'm only picking up a book.

Miss Information explains that it doesn't matter what she's here for. She is not permitted to bring a dog into the library. She then makes up something about health code regulations. See the library really should reconsider hiring juvenile delinquents. They lie and lie. Also, it didn't work. The woman (and the dog) would not be moved.

Miss Information decides to be nice. See racist guy, this woman hasn't said anything offensive about another culture, therefore Miss Information is willing to make accommodations. Miss Information tells the woman (and her dog) to go outside. Miss Information will get the book off the pickup shelf, sign it out and bring it to the woman. She repeats that the woman mustn't bring her dog into the library.

When she returns from the shelf she finds the woman (and the dog) still inside the library--now arguing with the security guard. The security guard is saying stuff like "You can't bring your dog into the library"; the woman replies that Miss Information told her to wait here. Nice. Miss Information wonders whether the woman attended the same reform school as her. Recognizing a hopeless case, Miss Information handed the woman her books and waved good-bye.

The next day she mentioned the incident to her supervisor who reported that the lady with the dog come in all the time no matter how many times the staff explain the rules.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Miss Information tells people where to go.

Miss Information cannot give coherent directions. At work, when she is asked how to get to the building next door, she points, stammers and hopes they find it themselves.

This week lots of people seem to need directions. On Wednesday there was a man who was looking for a specific address for a gem show. He'd come to the library because it was in the same district as the address. Unfortunately, the library is in the northern quadrant and the place he needed to go is in the south--about as far as you can get while still in the same district. Miss Information stammered and pointed at the location on Google Maps.

"Hm," said the man. "How do I get there by public transit?"

Miss Information asked him where he wanted to start from.

"It doesn't matter," said the man.

Seems like that's the attitude that got him lost in the first place, but whatever. Miss Information asked if he would like directions from here. The man said that would be fine.

Miss Information found the Google maps transit directions and printed him out a copy and talked it through with him.

"Oh," said the man. "I don't live near here. Can't I get directions from my house?"

Sigh. Miss Information asked him where he lived. He did not want to say. Miss Information finally got it narrowed down to an intersection, an intersection where there happens to be a very nice library that could have helped the man. She printed out new directions starting at the library.

Eventually he went away...somewhere.

On Thursday a woman wanted to know how to get to a specific address north of the city. She had a piece of paper with the information written out. The name of the street had no vowels in it. The woman had the postal code, which was wrong, but it was close enough for Google maps to find the area and then they could take a stab at the correct street name.

"I need to get there on public transit," said the woman.

Miss Information loves Google maps. She asked the woman where she lived. The woman did not want to say. C'mon, people! Miss Information is not going to break into your house! Just a little hint is enough.

The woman chose a nearby subway station. Great. Miss Information found the directions. She offered to print them out. No, the woman, who was wearing winter gloves on possibly the hottest day in history, declined. She would write out the instructions.

They were:
Take Outer Region bus 23 to...

"Wait," the woman said. "You mean the Suburban Transit right?"

"No. The Outer Region transit."

"You mean Big City transit? I can't get there on Big City Transit."

Miss Information explained that she's no transit expert but that Google recommended this route. Outer Region Transit is a different bus company but it would get her where she was going.

The woman thanked Miss Information and began to leave.

"But wait!" said Miss Information. "There's more."

At this point the woman started getting hostile. She was probably hot. She had the bus number. She did not need any more information. Thank you.

Miss Information got a bit huffy herself and insisted the woman needed to know where to get off the bus, other wise she'd just be riding around in the boonies all night.

The woman didn't really want that pesky little detail but rolled her eyes and wrote down the bus stop, clearly just to appease Miss Information.

Getting bad directions and arguing with Miss Information are just two of the millions of reasons people in this town need their libraries.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Did someone say decrepit?

Miss Information was noticing this week that her hair is more blonde than usual. Practically a white-blonde, in fact. Miss Information was putting this down to chlorine in the water, too much time in the sun, etc.

Last night she went to renew her gym membership. She had a nice chat with the lady on the counter and with the gym manager. It all went well until the counter woman went to tally up the charges. She peered at Miss Information intently. "Hmmmm," she said. "Are you eligible for the seniors rate?"

For the record, no, Miss Information is not eligible for the seniors rate and will not be for oh, a decade.

The woman on the counter wasn't a young 'un either. She probably was eligible for the seniors rate. Maybe her eyes are bad--like Miss Information's.

Sigh. The next time someone offers her a seniors' discount she's going to take it.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Miss Information is annoyed by the collective agreement

So, Miss Information's morning started off badly. By the time she got to work she was tasering people with her mind and shooting lightning bolts with her eyes. It was not going to be a good day for the public.

When she arrived at work she complained bitterly to her colleague that there was no clause in the contract covering crankiness. He suggested she take a sick day but she decided to tough it out. Next thing she knew, he had taken sick time himself. Good self-preservation instincts, he has.

Anyway, instead of a nice peaceful day, Miss Information was greeted with all screaming children in the world and a staff meeting. Oh, and complainers. "Are people allowed to talk?" said the complaining woman. "People shouldn't be allowed to talk." Miss Information agreed. No talking=no complaining. "I'm having a very unpleasant visit to the library," said the complaining man. He went on to explain that he'd had to pay overdue fines and the DVD he'd requested hadn't arrived yet. Miss Information was also having an unpleasant visit to the library so she could relate.

Later on the shift when the screaming child express had reached the station again, another complaining man approached Miss Information. "Do you see what's going on in society?" he asked. "It's terrible what's happening." The screaming children were accompanied by women in hijabs. Oh, Miss Information is way too cranky for this. The complaining man spoke with an accent and looked like he could have come from a Muslim country himself, so Miss Information had no idea what she was supposed to be horrified about. She made a non-committal noise and headed back to the safety of the desk.

No dice, the man followed. Seems he was upset about the Muslims trying to take over. He'd left his country to get away from it and now he was surrounded again. When he'd lived in his previous country he'd worked for them and they'd wanted him to become Muslim. Imagine.

Miss Information was briefly jealous. Even the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Scientologists steer clear of her now.

Miss Information never knows what to do when confronted with racism. She hates that people look at her and assume that she's on their side. She isn't. She doesn't have a side. She just wants to find people the books they want.

All the complaining people seem the same to her anyway.