Saturday, December 27, 2003

Resolutions?



I've been thinking and thinking and thinking of what I could possibly resolve to do in 2004.

I've thought of several things, all of which include giving something up. I want to resolve to do somthing that doesn't require me to give up anything in particular, while still allowing me to become a better person. I've never prescribed to that school of thought that deprevation actually makes a person stronger. Thats nonsense.

One of my thoughts was to be more like my comic hero Andy Rooney. Maybe cranky, opinionated, and could use a good eyebrow shaping, but nevertheless funny as hell. While I was thinking about this, it made me realize that old people can say or do anything, and the rest of the world laughs at them, or deals with it. I seriously mean they can get away with anything.

At the OCJ, I worked with an individual who called black people Africa-Americans, and on occasion used some other less appropriate, dated, and often non PC terms. This person was old. The good people in the office chalked it off to his age. Had anyone else done this, that would have been an appointment in HR to kiss your job goodbye.

At our library, I know I let old people do what ever they want. Sure they've gotten to a point where they deserve respect for having survived for so long, but whatever happened to that argument our parents gave us when we were the older sibling "Oh, I expected more from you being the oldest..." or the classic "You're old enough to know better..."? How old do we get before you can't say that anymore?

Several examples of what I let old people get away with:

1) talking at exceptionally loud levels
2) carry on lenghthy conversations with me on the floor, where I'm supposed to be working

I also don't wake them up when I see them sleeping at the library. What makes them so special? And why do I shut down and let it all happen? Because like the rest of the world, I have a soft spot. One that goes deeper than the puppy/kitten "AWWWW" reflex. But still, I want to get away with all this!

I've been accused mutiple times of acting like an "old lady", or dressing "like an old man" (p.s. its called vintage fashion), and as for my mind set- I've been reminded multiple times that it is no longer 1945...so really, this New Years resolution is very practical on my part. Perhaps I could have chosen a better idol, but then again, who else would have said " My grandmother has a bumper sticker on her car that says, 'Sexy Senior Citizen.' You don't want to think of your grandmother that way, do you? Out entering wet shawl contests. Makes you wonder where she got that dollar she gave you for your birthday. " Now thats priceless.

Having a role model who is a successful TV peronsality, writer, and geriatric seems fitting for me. To resolve to be more like this role model, even more fitting.

The moral of this post: Resolutions don't have to be about giving something up. Go ahead and eat that chocolate bar. If you aren't happy in the new year, you're going to do a lot worse than eat the chocolate bar. Resolutions can be about adding something to your life. I resolve to laugh more next year, whatever that entails.

Happy New Year to all of you fabulous readers.



Friday, December 19, 2003

Happy Holidays



Ahh, the season of light & miracles. While not library related, I wanted to say happy holidays to everyone.

At my branch, we do embrace all faiths and even those that seem faithless.

Additionally, I'd like to commend the manager of my branch, who was named one of the New York Times Librarians of the Year! Good going Kentucky librarian! We are all so proud of you! This is something to celebrate!

Its for public librarians, so I will never have the honor, G-d knows what a tough job it is to manage a branch in our neighborhood. The fun part is, you have to be nominated by a patron- I guess my neighborhood does respect what its been given!

Matthew

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Uh, Not quite



I was shelving over in the YA section the other night, and a group of students ages 9-12 were sitting at the table. About 6 of them. They had coats thrown all over the floor, and were making a lot of noise. A LOT of noise.

I told them to quiet it down, they were in a library. Then the not so nice, ethnic slurs between one another.

Our policy states that when kids use strong language, we tell them the following "You have two choices. Go home and use that language, or stay here and be respectful and quiet." Usually solves the problem.

So they sit there, chatting (not doing homework, as they tried to have me believe) and dropping the occasional "f" bomb, along side the ethnically un-PC "N" bomb.

Then the conversation goes into overload. Here, I will recount it for you.

Kid #1: I think my teachers pregnant.
Kid #2: OOH, she prolly is, fat ol' ho.
Peanut gallery: OOOH! You called Mrs. so and so a HO!!
Kid #1: Yeah, she so fat, theys gonna have to cut that baby out of her
Girl: Ooo, you nasty. They don't cut babies out. They come out of your butt.
Kid #1: NONO! Its true (drawing an imaginary line on his stomach,properly I might add) Right here, they cut you. My momma said when I was borned they cut her, and just waved a piece a turkey, and I jumped out to eat it.
Peanut Gallery: Assorted hoots and hollers
ME: OK guys, settle down, homework time.
Kid #1: SIR!! HEY! MR! Tell em. They can cut the Mom's stomach open to get the baby.
ME: Yes, that is one of the ways a baby can be born.
*the kicker*
Kid #1 (looking around for full effect) They an also come out of the VAGINA (extra loud voice), right? The VAGINA?
Girl: OOOH! You so nasty!
ME: Alright. Get to your work. No more of this loud talking. There is nothing about a C section in your Spanish homework.


First, lots of things wrong with this picture. A child thinking babies come out of your butt, another one that is ready to become a gynecologist, and the rest of them laughing about the word vagina. My branch is obsessed with vaginas. Im starting to get scared. I've also recently begun growing orchids. Perhaps its contagious. I doubt it.

I am getting a true education in this branch. When the little girl showed me her art homework, and I told her it was "tight" she almost fell off her chair. I was tempted to tell all of them to "quit being so salty , or they'd all be treated", but my better judgement kicked in.
They'd love to know I'm swooning over Missy Elliott's new "Pass that Dutch", although not in public. It would wreck my whole "I only listen to Glenn Miller Persona."

I have one more final to take tomorrow, and then Im done with my first semester of library school. Yippee Super. And this means I work more hours at the public library, so I'll have more stuff to share! OK, back to studying.

The moral of this story: Not all Orchid growers are big eavesdroppers, like me.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Its not you, its me...



This is me. This is what a glamourous, well dressed, corporate librarian wanna be looks like after 3 glasses of chianti. This is what a black tuxedo shirt looks like when worn in public. Why don't guys just wear stuff like this? I used to wear it to the office when I had the OCJ. Now, it is a "goin' out" shirt. Sad. I have a lot of "goin" out clothes now.

My new library wardrobe is basically khakis, white button down oxfords, and a v-neck pullover sweater. I am afraid to wear anything else in fear that a patron will a)pee on me b)vomit on me c)touch me with sticky sucker hands. Not that any of this has happened, but I do see them sneeze onto computers, I know they pee ALL over the floor in the men's room, and I pick up gum and half eaten suckers several times a week.

OK, even though I love to talk about myself, I will stray onto another. We'll call her Retro-Hip Librarian. She's the one we all wanted to have for a librarian growing up. She's pretty, raven haired, and super-hip-funky! She rocks, especially when she sports the horn rim glasses. She is a second year, almost ready to graduate. I work with her a few times a week. Last night the conversation between us went something like this, we were shelving CD's. (She helps me even though she is reference in training):

Glam Page: It is SO busy in here tonight
Retro Hip Librarian: No doubt. Oh, the phones ringing, I have to get that, my CD's are on the table behind you.
GP: No problem

I shelve for a minute, and she walks back smiling and says to me:

RHL:That person just called to ask the date. Today's date.
GP: What? They stayed on hold just to find out today's date?
RHL: Yep!


OK, perhaps not as funny as I wanted that to be, but it cracks me up big time. WHY? would you call and ask the date? Are you living in a calandarless void? Anyway.

This I saved til the very end, in hopes that you would all get bored and turn away. I mention it because this is a true documentation of me moving through the public library system. It has been joked about at work that I should hold story hour for the kids. It would go something like this:

GP: OK kids, first things first. WHO wants to hold my ashtray?
Lots of happy kids: ME! ME! pick me! ME!
GP: OK, Sally I pick you because you are the only one with good cheekbones
---time to let the kids settle down---
GP: OK, what do we want to read? Vogue or Cosmo?
LOHK: What the hell are those?
GP: Don't make me hate you.
LOHK: HAHAHAHAHAHA, people don't hate children!
GP: Oh yeah?

Story hour corrupted with a cigarette smoking, cocktail wielding page. Not pretty.
So here tucked in the end, my real story of an interaction with a real child.

Little Girl: Hi. My name is Tamika.
GP: Hi Tamika. Im Matthew.
LG: I'd like that book on the shelf. Can you get it for me?
GP: Sure. Here you go honey.

---minutes pass----
LG: Can I have a sticker?
GP: Yes, you've been so good you can have two.

Then the whole crew called me out. Apparently, that is "sweet" and "Nice". See what public libraries do to Corporate bitches like me? THEY MAKE US ALL GOOEY.

The moral of this post: Be HOT and GLAM, even if you have to be nice. It's possible. I'm officially living proof.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

No, not yet



I have been sooo busy with finals and Thanksgiving, that I have not had time to blog as much as I'd like. Classes are done on the 12th, and as I write this, I should be putting the finishing touches on two major papers. But instead, I have decided to share more stories from the trenches.

And because you are all wondering, my Thanksgiving was wonderful, I hosted 12 people (including my inlaws for the first time) and made a 25lbs bird. My table was set with depression era amber glass, and french lead crystal. I gotta admit, even I was impressed with the end result. It looked even better after we had finshed 13 bottles of wine.

So, the library. Last night, slightly dirty, looks like a uni-bomber man came in looking for the "USA TODAY" paper. He asked the librarian if we had a copy. And so this conversation unfolds....nb: to get the full effect, ring your hands and speak quickly while role playing the creepy patron. For the ultimate experience, add a Kentucky accent to the librarian, and smile the whole time.

Creepy Patron: Do you subscribe to USA TODAY?
Librarian: Yes sir we do. It is in the periodicals.
CP: No, no, its not. I've looked. Are you sure you subscribe?
L: Yes, there is a spot on the shelf for it, it maybe in use right now.
CP: How many subscriptions do you have?
L: One.
CP: Where is it?
L: If its not on the shelf a patron is using it.
CP: Where is the patron?
L: Sir, you'll have to wait your turn, we share in a public library.

4 minutes later

CP: I've just walked around the library. I didn't see USA TODAY. Are you sure you subscribe to it?
L: Sir, we do subscribe to it. It must be in use right now.
CP: No, no, its not. I've just walked around everywhere. Its not here.
L: Sir, I am assuring you we have it. Just wait, the patron should finsish with it before long.

Now, creepy patron walks away. I say to the librarian

Glamorous Page: Couldn't he just go online and read the web version of USA TODAY?
Librarian: Umm, Matthew, he's crazy
GP: Oh

Its little things like this that make me want to run screaming into a 35 floor corporate building begging for a job as a librarian. Sometimes the situations are so surreal, I want to walk over and pinch people...just to make sure its real. Only I wouldn't because people are dirty, and although I've given up on manicures, I still care deeply about my skin. Its just not worth the risk. For all I know, I'll end up with e-coli or monkey pox. I just have to take each situation at face value.

In addition to this, I have also come to another realization. I can not stand the sound of children whining or crying. Yesterday, Mother of the Year was in the library with all 5 of her kids. 3 of them were crying, and one was emitting this low, skin crawling whine that would not stop. I wanted to give the kids stickers to make them stop, but realized they were crying because their Mother was forcing them to play computer games that they didn't want to play.

She was making a 3 year old play a game with french and spanish words. The kid couldn't even read, let alone two foriegn tongues. I don't think from what I gathered that she could either. Finally, our very own Kentucky librarian came to the rescue. She explained to the MOTY that the games were too hard, and got them to play something else.

End of crying & whining. For 6 minutes.

Then the MOTY decided it was time to go,only the kids wanted to play more games. So she screamed at them. Then she couldn't find one of her kids. So, she decided to call for her, like she was in a State Park. Multiple times.

Finally they left, and I had one of the worst headaches I can remember. And I have a good memory.

Anyway, another day in the life of a Corporate librarian turned public page. I don't know how Kentucky librarian does it. She's amazing.

Now, back to reality, and my final papers.