Sunday, March 06, 2005

Temp. Hell

Usually there are two vampires to work the overnight shift at my library. We need two vampires here so when one goes to the bathroom, needs a drop of blood, or has to leave the desk for any reason, there’s someone there to leave in charge. My boss has been struggling to dig up people to sit with me so I won’t be alone.

A call for a temp. was sent out.

Maury answered.

There was trouble the first night. After being there for an hour, he asked to go out and lock his car. Huh? Why wouldn’t you lock your car when you came in? I said okay. He left. I waited. And waited. I wondered if going to lock the car was code for, “Bye, I’m not coming back,” but he did eventually come back after twenty-five minutes. I thought okay, I’ll let it pass. I trained him some more, but he made it pretty clear that he was not comfortable with computers and had not used them much at all. I wondered why the temp. agency recommended this guy if he had no computer training. I didn’t make an issue of it. It was still fairly quiet. Not much going on yet. All I really needed was someone to be at the desk when I needed to go elsewhere.

Of course, this was too much to ask.

For an hour, I goofed off on the computer and kept an eye on the gates to watch people come and go. Eventually, I needed to use the bathroom. I turned to tell Maury, and didn’t find him. He’d disappeared. I looked around and stepped into the back to find him. He wasn’t in the break room. I looked through the cubicles and finally stumbled upon him in the office of student employment. He was sitting in her chair using her phone. I motioned to him that I needed him. He got off the phone and came to the front. I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, I said he shouldn’t use that phone. There was an empty desk with a phone he could use, which he’d been told about at the beginning of the shift. He said okay I was the boss. I settled back into my spot and started surfing the 'net again.

Over the next few nights, a pattern began. Every time I looked up, Maury was gone. I would have to go find him. He’d taken what I said about the one phone to heart but decided that all the other phones were still fair game. I found him on my boss’ phone, I found him on one of the librarian’s phones, and I found him on the public phone that’s tucked away behind the bathrooms.

This puzzled me. I’d indicated a perfectly good phone he could use. I guess the problem with it was that it was within eyesight. I repeatedly told him he should use that phone at the empty desk. He’d just smile and nod his head and say I was the boss. Did I mention he had a cell phone?

Once he’d been warned off every phone except one, he began hiding and using his cell. He went to the bathroom and talked in there. He went to the stacks and talked there. He went outside and talked out there. I was beginning to reach my wits’ end. I couldn’t turn my back on him or else he disappeared. I asked him to tell me when he needed to leave the desk. He smiled and nodded and said I was the boss. I turned my back, and he was gone.

I did reach my wits end when one night I really needed to use the bathroom, and he was gone again. I had to hold it until he reappeared. I spent the time by writing an email to my boss telling him in no uncertain terms that Maury was done. It would be easier on me if he weren’t there. I mean if I’d been on my own, I would’ve dashed to the bathroom and been quick about it, but since I supposedly had backup, I had to wait till said backup reappeared. I’d sent the email and had been waiting ten minutes by the time Maury reappeared.

Maury wasn’t back the next night. He’d lasted four nights. He’d been offered to finish off the week but had refused. My boss worked the night with me. The mystery of who Maury was calling was never answered.

After a week, I got another temp. Bobby’s okay. He’s young, fresh out of college, and works part-time at a public library. He’s struggling with the schedule, but he stays at the desk, or tells me if he needs to leave to do something. He isn’t perfect, but he’s a HUGE improvement. He hasn’t used a phone once to call anyone.

It will be at least two more weeks till someone permanent is hired.


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