Saturday, February 22, 2014

Miss Information is annoyed by overparenting

So, Saturday Miss Information is working at the hellscape she likes to call the Teen Area. She answers the phone to a panicky mother. 

"My son is missing!" she says. "He was at the library for some training and now he's missing! He's only fourteen!"

When Miss Information was 14, she had a job. She got herself there and back without help. She also used to go all around town using public transit--sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. She also used to walk home from school and stay by herself in an empty house. She never set fire to anything. She was never kidnapped or murdered. 

Miss Information doesn't think the training ended that long ago and suspects that the kid is still here or even more likely has gone to one of several nearby fast food restaurants to indulge in substandard food. He's fourteen for goodness sake. He'll turn up. Still, it's a new era--there are criminals and psychopaths behind every snowbank so one must be vigilant. Miss Information tries to be sympathetic. She asks the mother if the kid was supposed to be taking the subway or walking or what. The mother doesn't have a chance to answer her call waiting goes off. She puts Miss Information on hold. 

When she comes back on the line she reports happily that the child's father has found him. Miss Information pretends to be very relieved instead of merely being grateful that her parents let her do things without supervision when she was that age.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Miss Information finds that some people's anger is misplaced

Today's snowy weather has put Miss Information in a festive mood. Specifically it has reminded her that Christmas was really annoying. The weekend before Christmas a massive ice storm wiped out power to a ridiculous number of people. Leaving one's house is a bad idea--kind of like most days, except fallen trees and downed wires have made it all kinds of treacherous.

The day before Christmas, Miss Information optimistically assumes that the library is fine despite all evidence to the contrary, and heads  to work. The library has a hotline set up for times like this and Miss Information could have phoned to check but well, she's not good in the morning and she sets off without bothering to find out if she has a place to go.  

Trying to get through the city is like navigating London during the Blitz. There are fallen branches everywhere, public transit is sketchy and hundreds of intersections are without working signals but she gets to the library. She gets a truly awesome parking spot, too--possibly because the city is paralyzed and the sensible people have stayed home. Still, it's a great spot. At the parking lot elevator, there's a sign about the ice storm. It's in Korean, except for the words "ice storm". Miss Information knows there's a Korean bank in the complex so she figures it's got something to do with them and continues on her way to the library through the eerily empty mall. Hm. Well it is Christmas Eve, people are probably home wrapping presents.

Her travels take her past a subway station. It has a sign--Subway Only!!! All Stores are Closed! This would be ominous if Miss Information didn't take everything literally; she's not going to a store, she's going to a library--who cares about stores? She gets to the part of the mall housing the library and finds her path blocked by barricades. So annoying. This means she actually has to go outside in the bitter cold and walk around the building. She passes the library window and sees a few staff members--not a lot, though, but is relieved that she will soon be inside at work. Except the mall doors are locked and she can't get in. She returns to the library window and waves until someone recognizes her. In the meantime, she's picked up a stray--a patron, apparently, who is plenty annoyed that the mall door is locked. Please note that it is about 30 minutes from the library's scheduled opening time.
"What are you doing making people wait out in the cold?" he exclaims as a staff member opens the door for Miss Information. The staff member explains that the mall has only had electricity since 8 am and are still trying to get things operating.

"Well," says the angry man. "When is the library opening? It's soon, right? Are you just going to make me stand outside until 9?"

Miss Information stops paying attention as the man reports the temperature and windchill factor.

Miss Information's colleague tells him that management doesn't know if or when the library is opening. It seems that most of the library staff actually phoned that hotline number and were told to redeploy to other branches. It's a big library and the minimum number of employees is 2 per department--18 or so people. Miss Information's arrival means that there are now 4 staff members on site. There's a long way to go until the branch can open. Still, the angry man is welcome to stand in the mall outside the library. He'll be able to keep warm at least.

The man changes tactics. "I need the washroom. What am I supposed to do? Is there a washroom in the mall?" Miss Information tells him that there's a washroom in the food court but mentions that it's in the part of the mall that's behind barricades. She isn't certain he can get there. Miss Information is starting to lose patience. In any event, the library wouldn't be open for 30 minutes and it's hardly her fault the mall washroom is out of commission.

The man seems to think Miss Information can do something about all this nonsense (which is largely the fault of the storm and not actually a library policy or something) and keeps insisting that they tell him exactly when the library is opening and when he can get in. Miss Information decides her best course of action is to ignore him and go hang up her coat.

Eventually the branch opens and it's busy until the 1 pm closing time. Miss Information feels good that her colleagues risked their lives to open the branch so people could stock up on DVDs for the Christmas break.