Sunday, February 18, 2018
Our library clientele
I offer, with no explanation or embellishment, the following transcript, as accurately and faithfully as I can recall it, from a very recent phone conversation I had at the library. Is it, you may wonder, representative? On the one hand I have never had this particular thing happen in my decades of working at my library. On the other hand, both to myself, and to the co-workers I shared it with, there was a general sense that it fairly captured some significant demographic of our library users.
ME: Good afternoon, this is the library. How may I help you?
PATRON: Hello. I would like to renew my books.
ME: Sure. I need the barcode number off of your library card.
PATRON: I, uh, my library card, uh, I don't have that.
ME: Well, I can try and renew your books from your name and some other identification, but I won't be able give you any information about titles if we can't renew them.
PATRON: That's okay. Taylor Lewis.
ME: "Lewis" is the last name? L-E-W-I-S?
PATRON: No, Taylor Lewis. The last name is "Lewis", L-E-W-I-S.
ME: Okay, thanks. And what is your birthdate?
PATRON: Um (long pause, with lots of thinking). I. Hmm. I don't know.
ME: You don't know your birthday?
PATRON: Um. I'm sorry. I'm not so good at communicating. Sorry.
ME: How about: What was the day you were born?
PATRON: April 17, 1985.
ME: Okay, you have three books that will be due now on March ten.
PATRON: Due March ten?
ME: Yes, March ten.
PATRON: Okay. Uh.
ME: Can I help you with anything else?
PATRON: Um, no. I guess not.
ME: Okay. Goodbye.
PATRON: (Long pause, then, just as I'm hanging up they start to say something I don't catch, but it's too late, the phone hits the cradle, and the call ends).