Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don't "shh" me!

So I got into a fight at the library yesterday.
Here's what happened...
I went to my local branch of the Hillsborough County Library System, just like I have on a fairly regular basis since my two computers crashed (I still have trouble believing that actually happened. I mean, of all the...never mind), sat down to log in at one of the computer terminals they so graciously make available for public use and got an error message. It said my card was invalid and to seek help from one of the staff. I went over to the counter and a lady scanned my card and said it was invalid. She then looked up my name in some computer system and said I didn't have a card.
"Great. Can you make me a new one. please?"
"You don't have a library card, sir."
"I just gave it to you. You scanned it. That's it right there on the counter by your hand. That's my card."
"That card isn't valid, sir. There's no record of that card, or of you having a card, in our system."
"Well, obviously that's wrong. You saw me walk up here with it in my hand. And then I handed it to you. "
"Just because you had a library card in your possession doesn't mean you had a valid library card. People steal library cards all the time."
ERRRRRKKKKKK!!!!! Wait a minute...
"Are...you accusing me of stealing a library card?"
"Not at all, sir. But people do steal them. And I have no idea where you got that one."
"That sounds like you're accusing me of stealing it."
"No, sir. I never said you stole it."
"Okay, now what it sounds like is you're accusing me of trafficking in stolen library cards, a black market that can't be very profitable since they're free anyway."
There was some back-and-forth like this for a while. Eventually I got tired of trying to be rational and make sense...
"So basically, you're denying me access to a public library."
"No I'm not."
"Can I use one of those computers?"
"Not without a library card."
"Which I no longer have."
"I don't believe you ever did."
"So you are saying I stole that card!"
"I never said that."
Being a white, 21st century American male over the age of 40, I decided to go insane...
"You know what? This...this right here...this is exactly the kind of thing that makes people go join the teabagger party."
"I believe you're referring to the Tea Party."
"Well, I guess I'll have to take your word for that, since I'm not allowed to use any of the information resources here in this public library (I dramatically raised my voice there) to verify if that's true or not."
"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to be quiet."
"Oh yeah. I'll bet you'd looooove that, wouldn't you? Take away a man's voice, deny his right to be heard."
"It's a library, sir."
"Is it? Is it?? Because to me, it's more like a jail. That's right. A jail where I'm imprisoned with all kinds of books and computers that I'm not allowed to read and so I might as well leave because I'm a prisoner who's not even welcome within the very jail in which he, I, is, am imprisoned...in...with. Well, I won't stand for it!" *SLAM!* goes the door...except doors don't slam anymore; they're all equipped with those anti-slam gizmos. So it was more like this:
"....Well, I won't stand for it!" *Hissssssssssssssssss...click!* goes the door.

2 comments:

Jessie said...

Your last line made me laugh outloud in the Bunker, which I can do, because it's not a library. I'll have to see if I have any friends with spare computers, because this dudes voice is not to be hushed!!!

Dawn Elliott said...

I laugh way too loud and I work at the library! I'm sorry they treated you that way. I credit my excellent customer service skills to my time in fast food & retail. Good to know it was good for something.