I was already expecting this to be a semi-lousy Saturday. We didn’t have a lot of staff scheduled (certainly not enough to cover the children’s room), we were going to have to rearrange our program room multiple times for multiple programs, and it’s harder to predict the busier and slower hours on a Saturday because ANY hour has the potential to be a busy hour. And today, most of them were. Plus, I had a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff like email and schedules to catch up on, and not a lot of time to work on them because I was busy covering the service desk and dealing with programs.
And THEN the Evil Weatherman showed up and asked for my help with the computer. At which point my morale started to plummet and I realized that up until that very moment my hectic day had actually been wonderful, after all. Because dealing with the Evil Weatherman is a very specific kind of hell.
To refresh your memory (since I haven’t seen the Evil Weatherman for months and I was beginning to hope I’d never see him again), the person I call the Evil Weatherman is one of the most obnoxious, rude, and sarcastic patrons I’ve ever had to deal with in over 20 years of public library service. I can tell you that I’ve dealt with hundreds of annoying patrons over the years, and that this guy is in my personal top 5. THAT’S how bad he is.
So I’m at the service desk when he comes over and asks for help with his email. I use all of my strength and inner professionalism to suppress my kneejerk “fight or flight” reaction (specifically, running as far as I can in the opposite direction) and instead I follow him to the computer. We have a surreal conversation over the next few minutes about the trouble he’s having with his email. Highlights of this conversation include:
He wants to edit an email, but he also wants to edit the attachment to the email.
He believes the only way he can edit an email is to forward it (?)
He wants to “edit the HTML” first, which he tries to do by forwarding his original message, but then he’s upset that he can’t open the attachment because he’s in the process of forwarding the email. I tell him that he would need to open the attachment first before doing anything else if he wants to edit it, and he gets upset with me and sighs loudly.
I notice that he’s using Firefox, and I recommend that if he’s having trouble opening something he might want to try opening the same thing in a different browser since our Firefox browser isn’t always updated. He gets mad at me AGAIN, and starts sighing loudly AGAIN. When the patron sitting on his other side tries to help by pointing out where he can find the Explorer and Chrome icons on the desktop, the Evil Weatherman turns to him, and says, “HEY, I DON’T NEED IT IN STEREO!”
Oh my God. Have you ever wanted to laugh and die at the same time? Well, it was kind of like that.
He uses the phrase “edit the HTML” several more times, and the word “gobbletygook” once, specifically referring to a plugin that says it won’t load correctly. He asks if the plugin refers to the USB he currently has plugged into the computer. I say no, and he sighs again in a very theatrical manner.
He keeps asking how to do things, then after I explain how to do the thing he demands to know WHY I said that, then after I explain why he demands to know what I MEAN by that, all with periodic eye-rolling and sighing interruptions. (On his part, not on mine. I try to keep my eye-rolling and sighing to a minimum, at least while I’m out on the public floor.)
As the minutes tick away, the line at the service desk keeps getting longer. I keep going back to try to help out with the line, but he keeps calling me back to help him. But then each time I get there he’s clicking around in the body of his email and erasing one line at a time with the backspace button. Or “editing the HTML,” as we call it in the library business.
After a lot of back-and-forth on this, he finally managed to get the attachment edited and saved under a new name. He also finished with the backspace-erasing project and got the new email with the new attachment sent out.
When he was leaving the building about half an hour later he stopped by to ask me some follow-up questions on the way out. He was civil, which was actually not surprising. He has a tendency to alternate between acting like a complete dick and then acting like he wasn’t a dick five minutes earlier.
The problem is that we never know which version of the Evil Weatherman we’re going to get at any given moment … which is one of the many reasons I’m not looking forward to our next encounter.