Monday, March 01, 2004

'Cause I get a kick out of you

Remember this dreamboat, the paranoid schizophrenic resembling Nick Nolte who assaulted the MUNI driver a couple of months back? (see January 13th entry) The hapless cable car operator had been minding his own business in the new books section when a book caught his eye on the bottom shelve. When he bent over to take a closer look this deranged lunatic ran up behind him and, making sure to put all the momentum and weight of his 200 pound menacing hulk behind him, kicked the MUNI driver right in the ass. A huge fist fight ensued between the two but the MUNI driver prevailed and chased the perpetrator off into the night. I filed a police report and incident report with our own security, but he hasn’t returned to the branch since and I hoped that that was the last I would see of him.

Yesterday I was picking up some extra hours at another branch when I looked up and saw the kicker quietly perusing the current issue of Ladies Home Journal. It was unmistakably him, and he was sitting at the table not 10 feet away from me thumbing through a women's magazine. He had made a lasting impression on me the first time I encountered him, but he made it nice and easy for me to make a positive identification this time because he was wearing the exact same outfit (although a little worse for wear and a few shades darker from the two month accumulation of grime since I had seen him last) as the night he assaulted the MUNI driver. How thoughtful of him. Even though he was behaving himself perfectly I was overcome with dread and slowly and unobtrusively as possible made my way to the children’s reference desk to call security. Because the children's librarian at that branch hates and despises children, she has rigged the phone so you have to enter in this complicated numerical sequence to get an outside line. God knows it’s worth risking my safety so I am not able to dial 911 to ensure some wicked brat cannot use the phone without permission to, say, call his parents to come pick him up from the library. (Our phones don’t dial long distance anyway, so it's not like children were running up long distance charges). After almost tearing up in frustration I finally managed to get an outside line and reach security at The Main, who helpfully told me that it was too close to quittin’ time to send anyone down there, and if I felt like I was in danger to call the police. At that moment the man gathered his filthy belongings and lumbered out without incident.

Even though nothing happened I am still a little rattled. Since I started working at the public library I’ve been determined to maintain this philosophical, fatalistic attitude about what can befall me on the job. I had always been wary about working as a public librarian until I got a temp job in the corporate offices of a consulting company located in the shining office building at 101 California. Not long after I started working there I found out that the offices on the floor used to belong to a law firm and were the site of the infamous 101 California shootings, the first big office place massacre. So here were these lawyers and office personnel who thought that they were as safe as they could be in a fancy office with security and that didn’t help them one bit. If it’s your time, it’s your time, and that’s the way I have to think about it or I would just be a nervous wreck and never want to show up for work, which is the most wonderful job I could ever ask for 99% of the time. I do carry red pepper spray and I plan to start my Krav Maga classes soon, and although the Texas in me wants to buy a handgun I'll refrain for now.

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