War Stories Page 08


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  • A student working on a project, and she wanted to access some information online of the "famous astronomer Michelangelo" and preferred a site where she could see a "photo" of him. I gently explained to her that she might be thinking of Galileo, and that whether she was looking for Galileo or Michelangelo, cameras hadn't been invented then, and she would instead have to settle for a portrait. Then I sent her some links.

  • A man wanted to ask me a question. His question was: Could I help him find his false teeth. Well, the giggles did not help me keep my composure. We never found them. They evidently fell out of his mouth. Watch where you put your hands. I don't think they can bite you because I think he just lost the top. Nonetheless be careful.

  • At a public library, where the restrooms were in the foyer (beyond the detectors) A patron said he had to go to the bathroom and wanted to know if he had to check out the book he wanted to take in there….

    so he checked out the book for 20 minutes

  • We just had a patron return the book "365 Days of Sensational Sex." The flyleaf now includes names and phone numbers. New version of the bathroom wall, I guess.

  • Okay, the patron wasn't creepy (just a kid, 12 maybe) but when he asked me for help finding a book and I looked down and there was a 1 1/2 foot SNAKE in his hand… well, I was pretty creeped out! (Snakes really freak me out) He was like "it's only a garter!" and "you should have heard the lady at the bank scream!" Whatever happened to bringing a Gameboy along when mom does errands?! I was much happier when the little girl who I had been helping research dog breads brought her new puppy in to show me.
    Puppies good.
    Snakes bad.

  • As a dude–and rather a large an intimidating one at that–I have felt immune to the risks of creepy patrons. Until

    CREEPY PHONE GUY CALLED

    Creepy phone guy, also know as creepy porn dude, is a (I'm guessing) slightly mentally challenged fellow who enjoys looking at naked ladies on our computers. Intellectual freedom aside this was a Bad Thing, since all of the computers at that branch were out in the open and just about anyone could see what was on the screen.

    We banned him for inappropriate behavior, after catching him doing it again after repeated warnings. After the month was up, we had to welcome him back, and this time he decided to be clever, and put his coat over the monitor and stick his head under the coat. So one day I glance back to see an over heating, coat-covered monitor with porn-boys neck and shoulders sticking out. I am again forced to take corrective measures–this time no banning, but we are all supposed to keep an eye on him.

    Well he starts to behave and this time only looking at pics of women in bikinis, and Britney Spears–progress I guess–but we still tend to hover when he's around. By this time, we were moving to our new quarters when I got,

    THE CALL

    I was working the desk when I get a call from porn-boy, a rather lengthy one about some of the changes are they related to our move. I'm polite of course, the rather short, clipped, forced politeness, but polite none the same. Well as we are talked I suddenly realize that he keeps pausing, and there is an awful lot of deep breathing for a simple phone call; and the pausing/breathing seems to be quickening in pace. Then a cold realization hits, like a knife in the bowels.

    HE'S MASTURBATING WHILE WE'RE TALKING!!!!!!!!!

    Now my only option is to end the call as quickly as possible. So I start to rush, b/c I while I know he's "shuffling the cards" as it were, I don't have any proof, and if I hang up I'll get in trouble for being rude to a patron. So the race is on for me to get off the phone, before he gets off on the phone. I shorten my answers and respond in "yes, no, I'm not certain" as much as possible. And his breathing is getting faster. And I'm speeding things too, and finally, just as thing are about to reach a crescendo, a pack of soccer moms arrive and I can make my break for freedom. I sing out:

    "UnfortunatelyIdon'thaveanswerstoallofyourquestionsperhapsyoushould
    trycallingourmainbuildingI'msuretheywillbehappytohelpyou."

    And the phone is down, and I am FREEEE

    Then the wave of horror hits like an earwig burrowing home, and I feel the urge to dump a bottle of disinfectant alcohol rub in my ear and scrape it raw with a thousand q-tips. I shudder again and again.

    He still comes to the library, and as far as I can tell he hasn't done it to anyone else. But I still don't trust him. If he asks to borrow a pencil, I tell him to keep it. I try to segregate the headphones he uses from other patrons.

    The whole experience is odd for me, not so much for the motivation, but the why.
    Why that call?
    Why me?
    Of all the voices to try get off to, why mine?

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