Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Paperboy Wants his Two Dollars 

Occasionally I get to work the front information desk and when patrons unfamiliar with this vast library wander in, I direct them to the appropriate floor and section of the library. Often patrons will ask questions like, "Do you have a paging system? I thought I told my friend to meet me here but now I can’t remember if we’re supposed to meet somewhere else.” Apparently, they have confused the library with an airport terminal, and don’t think that other patrons trying to study or read or spend time in quiet contemplation would mind constant interruption by a squawking loudspeaker. These are the kissing cousins of people who don’t understand why the following statement should never, ever be uttered into cell phone, “Hey! What are you doing? I’m just sitting here at the library!”

If a member of the public wishes to speak to a specific employee in the library, he or she comes to the information desk. Oftentimes the person looks rather dubious, or throws off some strange stalker energy, but that is not for me to judge. After taking the person’s name, I’ll call the person at their desk and try to track them down to inform/warn him that a patron is trying to reach him. One day this teenage boy swaggered up and asked for one of our computer technicians. My colleague called him at his desk and there was no answer. She asked the young man if he would like to leave a message and he replied, “Well, where is he?” She said that she had no idea and that leaving a message was the best she could do. After he gave off a lot of attitude she suggested that he try back in a little while, which he did every fifteen minutes for the next two hours. Each time, the exchange went:

“Well, when is he coming back?”

“All I can do is keep calling.”

Finally, he gave this disdainful harrumph, leaned in over the desk and asked her in this really nasty, insolent way, “Is this a problem, me asking for him?” Like his tough, menacing attitude was going to command him respect. He then told her breasts, “I’m outta here.” In an ominous tone he added, "Tell him the paperboy was here to see him."

I had to wonder if the computer technician had stiffed his paperboy, because this patron reminded of the relentless paperboy in Better Off Dead, who chases hapless John Cusack the entire film like a Fury for the two dollars he owes him. I felt like leaving the computer technician a message, “Two dollars! I want my two dollars!”

*snort* hahaha! Better Off Dead is exactly what I thought when I read the menacing tone he employed. Woman, that was funny.
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