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Thursday, April 01, 2004



Mrs. Jon Benet

So, we have a 15 minute express internet computer that, after issuing several pop-up warnings, reboots, signaling to the user that his or her turn is over and it's time to relinquish the computer to the next person in line. Unfortunately, we often have to rely on the honesty policy because the people in line are waiting in folding chairs off to the side and cannot see when it's time to assert their right to their turn. I can see the computer monitors from the reference desk, though, and I catch people restarting the computer all the time. When I call them on it they act indignant or play dumb (Oh, is that what the computer shutting off meant? Why, I had no idea...), or try to play me with some sob story how it's a life or death situation that they send off this one Yahoo e-mail.

I hate babysitting the monitors but I do try to remain vigilant. If I don't, patrons often will try to sort out the issue themselves, often resorting to such uncivilized tactics as verbal harassment (One young woman was told, "Suck my c*ck, you big bootied white woman!" when she tried to take her turn), shoving matches and even fists. It can be a very volatile situation, and we are not blessed with security.

A while back I watched a woman staying put while the computer rebooted. She then initiated a new session and got back down to work. When I walked over and told her that her time was up and that there were others waiting, she pulled a face and started whining about how when she got on the computer there were six minutes left from the previous user's session and then the computer cut off and her and so she was 'cheated' out of the rest of her 15 minutes. She told me she needed more time because she was doing something very important, like that entitled her to a special dispensation from the rules.

I told her that she would have to make sure that each time she used the express terminal she would have to restart it at the beginning of her session, because if I ever saw her reboot the computer after her turn was over I would revoke her computer privileges for the day.

As I watched her carefully to make sure she didn't reboot the computer yet again, I couldn't help but see what she was doing. She was filling out an on-line registration for the Mrs. California International Pageant. You can see the urgency and need to resort to deceit. All I can say is that she needs to work on her attitude if she wants a shot at Mrs. Congeniality.

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