Thursday, July 4, 2013

Notes from the front lines

Keeping up with a blog like this can be a very intense process. I make sure never to be without a pen that I like, and my pants pockets are usually stuffed with notes, ideas, pieces of written posts, and full posts waiting to be typed up. Sometimes I'll empty out my pockets to find nearly completed pieces I barely remember working on. Often these appear to have veered into disastrous territory and were abandoned abruptly. The following is a recent find of this kind.

Feeling a tad on the blue side of things I arrived at work to find I would be spending two hours almost right away on the front desk with the clerk who is The Worst of Us (known hereafter as Twou). Sure I could have given up right then and there, but what did JRR Tolkien do when he had to make an unpleasant jewelry delivery on an awful hot day in Oxford? He turned it into a fantasy epic! What did Martha Graham do when she was trapped by buffeting winds in a phone booth? She created modern dance! So I decided to take my own personal challenge and live blog about it. Sure, it may not change the face of modern blogging, but this is raw clerking, lived right at the desk, with real people, breathing, shelving, and checking out books. So still, you gotta figure it's gonna be pretty darn thrilling.

1:00:  Twou lingers in the staff area doorway reading the schedule for several minutes until I've handled the full transition of clerks at the front desk. She emerges at 1:04 when her spot has been vacated and there is no one for her to help.

1:11:  Twou tries to steal my favorite little old man patron from me even though there is a more obvious patron for her to help and the little old man is geared up to come to me. He sings Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen to me in a rich baritone. He may be kind of psychic!

1:16: Twou sends someone across the library to the reference desk instead of answering a question that would take seven seconds.

1:19: While I am helping two women at my computer Twou calls the one with a crewcut "Sir" while pointlessly asking her if she needs help while they're leaving.

1:24: Twou disappears into the deepest corner of the request shelving to apparently spend the rest of the afternoon elaborately shelving eleven books. This leaves me alone on the desk to deal with a medium busy afternoon. This would be preferable, normally, but I fear may decrease my live blogging material.

1:45: Twou comes back to check on the the desk only when there is no one to help. Actually, I think she is coming back for sips of water from her thermos.

2:02: Twou has switched her shelving method to the mysterious "hopscotch" technique used by some of the peculiar staff in our non-fiction shelving team. This is a method that appears to be 90 percent traveling, 10 percent shelving.

2:11: Patron comes up to Twou with a softball of a question. I watched with baited breath, but Twou answered it correctly. Wishing my co-worker will misinform a patron forces me to have to begin facing the darkness of my endeavor.

2:32: A busier time, or her tiring of shelving, places Twou and I both at the desk together for awhile. My statistics from this time period show me as helping 14 people to her 3. The darkness of my watching her begins to pollute my soul and make me paranoid. I think she might be looking at me disapprovingly. I feel she is judging me. I start to wonder if she is blogging about me.

My notes end here.


  1. I love this post! It sounds so familiar and I laughed out loud.

  2. Hmm, it is 3 years later, but I am fulfilling my commitment to responding to all comments. Yours is from a period wherein I did not have that commitment.

    So, um, I'm glad you thought this was funny when you were younger. Did they have fireworks way back in '13?

    Re-reading this it is still pretty fresh to me and due to a coincidence of timing and unchanged staff I may actually experience something very similar tomorrow! Maybe I should blog about it.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

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