It's late and I'm peacefully on the phones at my library waiting for my four day weekend to begin.
But suddenly there is work to be done! The phone rings!
Being of conscientious library spirit I answer.
A man has lost his gloves in the library.
"I lost my gloves." The man says. "Can you see if you can find them?"
I am not filled with joy at this task, but okay, if there's some information to go on I'll give it a shot.
There is. There is information to go on!
The man was at computer 51 or 52 and thinks his gloves are there. Can I just put them aside for him. He'll be back tomorrow.
I tell him to hold the line while I go check. Computers 51 and 52 are about two miles and a large staircase away from where I am, so I swear and lay the handset down roughly, but really, the exercise will only do me good.
There are no gloves at computer 51.
There are no gloves at computer 52.
There are no gloves anywhere at any computer from 30 to 60. There are no gloves on the ground on the way out from there or anywhere in the vicinity. And there are no gloves turned in at any of our desks or in our lost and found.
There are no gloves anywhere.
I go report the bad news.
It is not taken well.
I tell him to check in again tomorrow if they haven't shown up. Often items lost in the library take awhile to surface and aren't where one thinks they might have been.
He doesn't like this theory that much.
"Someone stole my gloves." He says darkly.
Sometimes this leads to an insistent fantasy about reviewing our security footage. It is always better to head this one off if one can. So I say a vastly gentler version of the following:
"Look, no one stole your crappy, worn out, disgusting old gloves! No one will ever steal your gloves. They will steal your soul, your dignity, and your rights. People are surely stealing your labor, every penny out of every dollar they can, and they are stealing hours, days, and years of your life for almost nothing. They have stolen your heart, your birthright, and most of what you deserved from birth! Everyday rich people, bureaucrats, and comfortable cowards steal from you, casually and without even knowing you. You live in a terrible world full of thieves!
But the one thing no one will steal from you is your stinky old, mangy, miserable, and worn out gloves!"
After a little pause he says "I guess they were kind of wearing thin."
I let out a breath. "Check back with us tomorrow."
"Okay." He says heavily.
I still think he's going to find him in his backpack, but there are some suggestions that are better left unsaid.