Some fights aren't worth having.

Posted by September Blue Thursday, 15 November 2007

At a university library, somewhere near you...

"I need to renew three books -"

"Okay -"

"- because my essay's due in next week, and I can't come in on Monday because I'm in London then, so it's those three that are due back tomorrow, I think it's tomorrow, it was after the lecture last week that I picked them up, and I returned the other ones already so I don't need those."

Interrupting patrons is frowned upon, even when there's a large queue growing behind them and all of them would thank you for cutting in with "You had me at 'renew'!", so it's best to smile. Scan card, load record, renew books, all in one smooth movement. (I'm good at this now.) "They're yours until next Thursday."

"What about the one I took out today?"

That one's a week loan too, which means it's also due back next Thursday. So I say "That one's a week loan too, which means it's also due back next Thursday." One of these late shifts, my mind-meld with the computer will become complete.

"Can I renew that?"

"Yes, if you still need it by next week."

"Can I renew it now?"

"But... it's already due back next week, and it's only a week loan -"

"Can't you just renew it like you did with the other ones?"

"I can't give it to you for longer than a week at a time."

"No, renew it." (With a silent "you moron.")

"They're all due back next Thursday, I really can't -"

"What if I'm not here then?"

"I'm sorry, I'm confused. I thought you wanted the other books until next Thursday?" (With a silent "If you're not here, our tears will flood the sorting shelves, but your books will still be late.")

"I did! I don't understand why you can't just renew this one too."

"But it's due back - Wait, see." I hit a couple of keys and turn the monitor screen towards her. All I was doing was bringing her record back up on the screen, but she must have heard the clack of the keyboard as the sound of surrender, because as I point out that all the week loans are due back next Thursday, this one included:

"Ah! So you did renew it." And she looks at me with the kind of exasperation that would like to let me know what a long, long day it's been, and that if she wasn't such a kind spirit she'd have Words To Say about this kind of behaviour.

I've been here for eleven hours. I only had fifteen minutes for lunch. My indignation can't even be bothered to get to its feet. So I look chastised, and say "Yes. Yes, I did."

She leaves satisfied.


  1. Autumn Song Says:
  2. Words fail me. :)

    I'm about to go and do battle with the shelving arrangements here. I don't understand the system (although I had a minor breakthrough this morning) and there doesn't seem to be a logic to the numbering. I'm sure there is, and I'm just not initiated...

  3. Laz Says:
  4. I see no good reason for not smiting her with said book.