Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Violent melting

Summer has decided to melt away violently. I didn't think that melting was a violent action but as I entered the hot wet mouth of outside this afternoon, I felt violated, shaken awake by the burning sensation. And whiny.

We've gotten through the last three months with barely a drop of sweat but now that it's September, we are all being taken into humidity's not so loving arms. Maybe it is because we have been spoiled all summer long, maybe we are always just humongous babies about either extreme heat or extreme cold but everyone's claws are out today at the library, including mine. Also, everyone decided to strip down to their crazy to show off how hard they've been working on it allllll summer long.

An example: There is a new face has begun to "grace" the library. He listens to his iPod loudly and it is usually speed metal and he talks to himself saying things like "It is such a shame they are all going to die soon. We have a jihad." He wears fatigues and carries what looks like a legit army regulation backpack. A colleague of mine helped him set up his apple ID and he put his birth date as: 6/6/66 but he doesn't look older than 30 or so. He is not rude or anything but there is a vibration around him that communicates wordlessly the following phrase: I am going to fly off the handle any second now. Sooo, that's pleasant.

Another example: There is a woman, let's call her the lady in black, who is a regular library user of the computers for god knows what. I know you think I mean she uses this particular library's computers regularly but no. No, I mean she uses most of the 60 or so libraries in this county on a more or less daily basis. She often asks us for the phone numbers and hours of various libraries as she's leaving here, in her daily uniform of black pants (with large, gaping holes in the thighs), cowboy boots, black t-shirt, cowboy boots and baseball cap. Her phone is constantly ringing. She will walk into the library in a frantic tumble of annoying noise, ask for a computer pass and on her way to the computer area her phone will ring. She will talk loudly at god knows who for 40 seconds, hang up and the phone will immediately ring again. We have tried to overhear her conversations, something we don't really have to reach to do since she is so loud and what we've gathered is that she is in the throes of a lawsuit and is in the process of suing someone over a car. Perhaps it doesn't translate well to text but this woman is pretty much the bane of my existence at this library. She is frantic and insane and she has holes in her pants and I've seen her expansive belly protrude from her shirts like a cracked alabaster globe. She demands phone number after phone number of library after library and in 11 years in this profession, I can firmly say that no one has annoyed me more than the lady in black! I am sincerely sighing aloud with relief that, though there is still some time left to go in my shift, she hasn't yet showed up today.

The crazies have now and always will populate the local public library. It is in the DNA of such an accessible institution, as it is with the NYC subway, bus stations and every gym I've ever visited. It just seems like they are on hyperdrive right at this moment. I don't normally feel unsafe behind the reference desk and honestly that probably has more to do with the physical barrier between me and the rest of the public (even if that "barrier" is waist high and easily breached). But on days like today when the crazy feels amplified and the sweaty masses just drip in those front doors, it just feels ominous. And it literally stinks.

Whenever I get nostalgic about my career, that is, the career as I imagined it would be when I was fresh out of library school, I just remember days like this, when the sweaty masses seem inflated to the point of bursting. I recollect easily that time a woman threw a computer monitor clear across the room, that time I was verbally harassed by a patron for not allowing him a fourth hour on the computer, that (those many) time(s) parents left their children at the library long past closing time and I just the strongest urge to violently melt into a puddle under the desk, forever losing contact with the crazy.

Then again, if this kind of crap didn't happen, what on earth would I have to write about on this, day 2 of Blog Every Day September?

Oh good, the lady in black is here.

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