Sunday, February 12, 2017
A petty revenge
Once upon a time we library workers all just waited for everyone to leave the library when we closed. Now there are a few of us who are scheduled to stay late and get everything locked up, shut down, turned off, and, most of all, to make sure every last patron has cleared out of the library.
Unfortunately after everything is shut off and we've gotten the all clear from the librarians upstairs, after the bathrooms have been checked out and it's all over but the concluding chatting in the employee exit vestibule, there are one or two or three last patrons lingering in the lobby like barnacles. Almost invariable one of them has a cane and moves like Tim Conway did in those lovely old Carol Burnett Show sketches, where he was an old man moving in staccato, but agonizingly slow, tiny steps.
At closing time I head to the coffee shop exit and lock that door. Then I cross the library and go through our main lobby and lock our series of four entry doors. On the left is a special switch that turns off the handicapped door. When I flick that off it is a couple of minutes past closing. If some wheelchairer is heading towards me I'll wait to turn it off, but if there's no incoming then off it goes.
I take a possibly inordinate amount of joy when, at ten minutes after we've closed, some hobbled oldster, finally informed, usually by me, that he really does have to vacate the library, takes one last insulting 30 second poke at our lobby's free materials, and finally heads, in slow, crippled steps to the handicapped exit, hits the handicapped button, and comes up blank. Bewildered, betrayed even, he looks helplessly around. Then he has to claw and fight his way out of our heavy, now unpowered, doors.
It's a real highlight to any day.
That's sick, sure. But never forget, it's justified too.