Some days will pass at the library without incident, and those are the days we start to feel like we have “normal” jobs. But then other times we can’t go five minutes without someone walking into our building and saying something creepy / weird / hilarious / strange to us. I try to jot these things down on scraps of paper to incorporate into future blog posts, and I’ve amassed several of them over the last few months. I was trying to figure out a good example to conclude the post, and then today as we were getting ready to close, a couple of policemen walked into the branch, and —
Well, I’ll get to that story in just a moment. Let’s try these in chronological order, shall we?
On Halloween, one of my colleagues dressed as a Green Bay Packers fan, complete with Packers sweatshirt and Cheese Head. She encountered several kids in costumes during the day, including one who was dressed AS A MOUSE … who then stared at the cheese on her head and said, Hey, *I* like cheese! All I can think is that I missed an adorable photo op.
A man brought his books over to the desk for me to check them out. After I finished and handed him his receipt, he said, “I have a story to tell you.” I froze up a little, especially since I was expecting our conversation to be over, but it wasn’t over, and he’s acting like he knows me, except he doesn’t know me. And then he starts with, “You see, I’m a retired policeman …” and I’m, like, okay, where is THIS going? He gets about two more sentences in, and then he turns to look at the line that’s forming behind him. He says, “Oh, I’ll let you deal with these people and then I’ll finish telling you the story.” Except then he leaves and doesn’t return, so I have no idea what the story was about or why he wanted to share it with me!
Several policemen approached us at the service desk (No, this isn’t today’s incident. This is ANOTHER incident). They asked if we called them, we said no, and then one of our patrons stepped up and said HE called them. He complained that a teenager stole his phone in our library … but then admitted that the kid asked to “borrow” his phone, he handed it over, and THEN the kid ran off. *SIGH*
Betsy had several uncomfortable encounters with the Creepy Old Flirt. Since she knows I document the nuttiness of wacky patrons like him, she’s been jotting down notes, too. After all, if a man who’s MUCH MUCH older than your father comes up to the desk and approaches you yelling, “I wanna see my girlfriend over here!” you’d want to document, that, right? Oh, and if he then came and stood directly in front of you, opened his arms, and said, “You need old-fashioned heat?” you’d want to document that, too. And then you’d probably want to go home and take a long hot shower. *SHUDDER*
A man approached me at the desk on New Year’s Eve and said, “Happy Birthday! Wait … what am I saying???”
Another man came to check out books and DVDs on New Year’s Eve. I wouldn’t have paid any attention to him at all except that he made a strange comment about whether or not the staff was going to be partying with champagne later. And strange comments always set off alarm bells in the back of my mind. Moments after he left, D. told me that he was the guy we’ve been having problems with for a while. The guy who’s already run up thousands of dollars in library fines? Who keeps applying for new library cards, and getting them by slightly altering his information each time? Who, rather than trying to fly under the radar and not attract attention to himself, manages to say things that set off those alarm bells every time he comes in? Yeah, he’s THAT guy.
And now on to today’s incident. About 20 minutes before our closing time, a couple of policemen walked into the branch. They approached our service desk and asked if we’d called them (as you see, this kind of thing happens more often than you might imagine). We were all equally stumped, and a little nervous what with the police radios going off and all the flashing lights outside from the police car and … the ambulance??? The policemen walked around the building for a few minutes and then circled back to us. They asked again if we knew who called them, and I said we didn’t, and I asked what the caller had said was going on, and the policeman said, “Someone behaving erratically.” And which point I replied, “Well, that’s EVERY day here.” And then he laughed, and then they left, and things went back to (almost) normal.