Wednesday, June 5, 2019
An understanding of ignorance
I was out at the front desk of my library, chatting with my co-worker partner. This co-worker is an okay co-worker. In our discussion a truly terrible co-worker came up. My okay co-worker had no idea that this person under discussion was particularly bad at their job.
I was shocked.
How on earth can someone, granted a co-worker who's merely okay, be in such a fog that they don't even notice the competency level of a person who takes 45 minutes to write a note saying that, well, saying nothing of any relevance to anyone ever, who can turn checking in a single book into a ten minute process?
I mused over this and found no answers.
Until the very next evening.
I was out at the front desk with the exact truly terrible co-worker that we'd been discussing the day before. Traffic was picking up, and because I was engaged with a library patron my truly terrible co-worker was forced to help the next one, although she did give avoidance a good go by delaying them for a bit so she could finish slowly jotting down the time on a slip of paper for future reference.
Then things got really busy. I registered a couple people. I tracked down some vague memory of a book for a patron. I dashed out to help someone on a computer. I made some reading recommendations. I filled paper. I gave a faxing lesson to an uninterested party who really just wanted me to fax for them. And I went back to the machine to retrieve a box of Altoids someone accidentally returned with their books. When I returned to the desk with the Altoids and handed them over, my co-worker was busy with a patron. I did a double take.
She was helping the same exact patron she started with!
What could she possibly be doing with a patron for that long of a time!
And then, just before I started to look to find out, a strange feeling came over me.
Picture this: You are driving down the street and, on the right, there are a series of ambulances and wrecked cars and police. You see blood scattered liberally, and, just as you start to follow with your eye the trail of gore to its horrifying source, you think "Maybe I don't want to see this."
That's how I felt.
And when I felt that I understood, a little, how maybe my okay co-worker could remain cocooned here in such ignorance.
Of course I looked at my truly terrible co-worker anyway. Ignorance isn't really my thing. I have no self-control in that regard. And there she was, registering a library card, a simple library card. She had been doing it now for 25 minutes.
It was horrible beyond belief, brains smeared everywhere.