Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Verbal communication between two or more humans/monkeys

The phone rings, I picke up to what appears to be a conversation already in progress.

Me: Hello?
Completely Stoned Woman: Uh, hi.
Me: How can I help you?
CSW:...I want to order a book on CD.
Me: Ok, what is the title? (she gives me the title and I locate it in the catalog) It's at a different branch, but I can have it sent here. Could I get your library card number?
Me: Um, hello? Ma'am?
CSW: Huh?
Me: Could I please get your library card number?
CSW: Oh, that...I don't know where that is right now.
Me: Well, I'm kinda going to need it to put it on hold for you.
CSW: Oh no, I don't know...(there is a sound of rustling, things being scattered and knocked over)'s here somewhere, I'll find it later...before I come to the library. Can't you just look me up by my name?
*It is our library's policy not to look up borrowers account information without a card number, however there are exceptions and since I already had another person on hold I wanted to be done with this transaction. I let her give me her name and then quizzed her on her address and birthday.*
Me: Alright, I put a request in and you should get a call in a day or so when it comes in.
CSW: How?
Me:...By phone? The library will call you when it's ready to pick up.
CSW: How do you know my phone number?
Me: We have it in the computer, it's part of your account information.'s probably my old number, I have a new cell phone let me give you another number...(I start typing in the phone number she's rattling off when I realize it's way too long to be a phone number).
Me: Um, ma'am? That phone number, is it local or long distance?
CSW:...That's not my phone number!
Me: What is it then?
CSW: It's the library card number, you said you wanted it.
Me: (She had a point, but a little too late) That number doesn't sound like one of our library card numbers. All of them start off with the same six digits. What library is that a card for?
CSW:...It's a library card.
Me: What does it look like?'s blue (She reads off the library card and it is for a different county).
Me: Ok, that's not part of this library system for 'X County.' If you can't find your library card by the time we call you, just bring in your ID and we can get you a new one.
CSW:...A new what?
Me: A new library card? To replace the one you can't find.
CSW:...And the library is going to call me?
Me: Yes.
CSW: But why?
Me:???To inform you that the audiobook you put on hold has come in...?!
CSW: Oh, ok then. Goodbye!

And she hangs up

It makes me feel a little better when I'm at McDonald's and I realize that I'm not the only person that has to deal with the bizarre public. On the mornings I swing by to grab coffee, there's always this crazy lady with messy hair talking to herself. She never orders anything, but sits at a booth with a Stouffer's frozen turkey and mashed potatoes dinner -- it's always the same thing, and obviously not frozen anymore. She used to come by the library, but hasn't been in for a long while. When she shouts something nonsensical in my direction as I'm scooping up creamers and Splenda, I feel relieved that I'm returning to the general sanity of the library.


  1. Thank you for posting this. It has made my day.

  2. I worked at McDonalds as a teen, and I think I had your patron as a customer. (Back before I got ambition and education, I was a mere grillslave.) I worked on Friday nights and it amused us all to no end to see the stoners stand at the counter for eons, slack-jawed, looking at the menu board.

    "Can I take your order?"

    " you got know fries?"

  3. and i thought the engineers' reference questions i deal with are weird