Sunday, December 9, 2018

Debbie Macomber over and over again

A library colleague and I were on our way up to shelve at the exact same time. We also unavoidably had the same subsection of fiction books to shelve. I agreed to work backwards alphabetically to deal with the problems inherent in that. Naturally enough, spoken or unspoken, it was going to be a race.

I'd like to think I was winning by the time I'd worked my way down the author names to the aisle of the M-N-O's. After all, wasn't I there first? But in the middle of that very row was a regular patron. And he wasn't just any regular, he was one who regularly visited at the front desk for a chat. 

Uh oh. 

I said "Hi." and hoped it would suffice. 

"Hey, can you help me?" He asked. 

Uh oh. I like helping people. It's one of my favorite things. But I was in a race! 

"Of course." I said because I am a professional. 

"My wife has an author she likes, really good book. I read it too. Not bad. And she sent me to get some more books, but I don't quite remember the author's name. Something like Macawber." 

I've worked here a long time and when one does that one's intuition and experience gets tuned to a fine pitch. Answers scream out at one in an almost psychic manner. This one seemed pretty clear. "It sounds like maybe it's Debbie Macomber." I said. She's a popular author who fit this scenario like a glove. 

His "No" was emphatic, somewhat impatient. "That's not it." He said. "Something else, started with an "Ma" or an "Mi".

"So, like "Macomber", but, okay. It's not "Macomber". I was hampered by my lack of computer. "Wait here." I instructed. "I'll go check a computer." I checked a computer. Nothing fit his scenario even remotely. Well, except for Macomber. I went back to him as he scanned the shelves. 

"Do you see all these books by Debbie Macomber?" I asked. "None of this looks familiar?" I gestured dramatically at the voluminous shelf of Debbie Macomber books. I displayed one of her tell-tale covers.

He barely looked. Crankily he said "It's definitely not that. That's not the author."

I thought to myself "I guess I better chill out about this 'Macomber' thing. I'm going to feel kind of bad when it's really not Macomber."

"Maybe I should call my wife and find out."

I told him it was a brilliant idea and he pulled out his phone and called.

"Ask her if it's Debbie Macomber." I stage whispered. I just couldn't help myself.

He shook me off like a pitcher getting the sign for his least favorite pitch from his catcher.

"What was that book you told me about?" He asked on the phone.

I heard her response leak out. "Where Angels Go".

"I'm pretty sure that's a Debbie Macomber book!" I exclaimed joyfully, but it wasn't on our shelf. I dashed to a catalog computer. Yes, it was by Debbie Macomber! I raced back to the patron.

I said "It's Debbie Macomber!" Simultaneous to him saying "It's by Debbie Macomber." Only he said it like hers was an unfamiliar name he'd never heard before. Then he added proudly "I looked it up on my phone."

I demonstrated all the Debbie Macomber books for him just as I had earlier.

"Thanks." He said, without warmth. After all, I hadn't really done anything for him. Then, in the closest I would come to acknowledgement from him he added "My wife had spelled her name wrong."

Leaving him behind I raced off to finish my cart shelving. I ran to the elevator with my empty cart just as the doors closed with my opponent, I mean co-worker, safely inside. They had beaten me by 20 seconds!

Then I went downstairs and told everyone my story while my co-worker probably shelved a whole other cart of books.

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