Monday, May 15, 2006

Crying in the Bathroom, II

Wow, thank you all for the advice to my previous post.

In the previous post, I asked how one should handle the situation of someone crying in the bathroom. Should you say something or leave that person alone? As the comments are now, it's five for saying something and two for not.

I guess I should ask:

"Excuse me, do you need help? Do you want me to get you anything?"

I had to retype what I think I should say several times because I kept having a question asking about her well being in it, and obviously the crier's well being is not that great if she is crying, and just to be clear: I'm going to refer to the crier as female because this is a university woman's bathroom. The person behind the stall is gonna be female (at least she better be or else I'm gonna have a whole nother conversation, and I do consider transexuals as she's so no snarking about that possibility). I don't really think that changes how I should handle the situation or anything, but it makes my writing this post easier if I can just write she or her.

I feel squeamish about approaching her because I know that a lot of times the crying is over a relationship or school stress, and the crier hid to let it out. She probably needs to speak to someone even then, but I know how uncomfortable I'd feel counseling her. This may sound cold, but I wish we had little cards that we could slip under the stall with counseling numbers on it.

Does that sound awful or like a good idea?

I also just thought that it'd be even better if we had cell phones we could slip under the stall with the card. Or the numbers could be on the cell phone so the person could just stay put in the stall and place the call there if they wanted. No need to go anywhere. Something on the card or cell phone could say that they could return the phone to the book drop or some other location so if they wanted to keep it anonymous they could. I know getting cell phones would be tricky. I could run the idea by the counseling offices to see what they think, and see if there is funding available for such an idea. It's always a matter of funding.

Does this idea sound good?

I know it's rather cold and impersonal, but cold and impersonal is what I'm good at.

I have to say I don't think the cell phone idea would get off the ground because of no funding and those who approve funding wouldn't think it important enough to fund it. And I don't think only libraries should have cell phones, but all over campus these would be good things, but the higher ups would just shake their heads and say, "They're just crying. Tears are nothing. If they want to speak to a counselor, they can just call on their personal cell phones."

They'd probably also argue that the students would call someone else, not the counselors to which I reply, "Well good, as long as they're talking to someone they feel comfortable with all the better!"

Sigh. I'll see what I can do, but already it doesn't look good and I haven't even done anything.

And I'm not doing anything this week because I'm on vacation. That's right. I don't have to go to Library X for a week. I'm gonna live it up.

Leave me a comment and tell me if I'm a cold heartless bitch; the cell phone idea is a stupid idea; little business cards wouldn't go over but just depress the crier more; I need counseling.

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Blogger Happy Villain said...

I don't think you're heartless or cold. It's not easy to figure out what to do with your own personal Moaning Myrtle, but I think asking if she needs help is about the most you could do. Offering a business card or cell phone to people who can't even handle a stapler might be an expense you can't really take on.

Have a wonderful vacation!

6:17 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Katya said...

You're not a cold, heartless bitch. Cold heartless bitches wouldn't be worrying about this issue or wanting to do something about it.

1:28 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Romana1 said...

I agree-you are not a cold, heartless bitch. You may feel uncomfortable with the situation, but you still wish you could do something to help. That doesn't sound cold or heartless to me.

Have a great vacation-you deserve it!

2:24 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Master Peebody said...

I agree with all of the above. :)

6:16 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Spike said...

little cards that we could slip under the stall with counseling numbers on it.

Or a scrap of paper with the number/s jotted down.

You ain't heartless.

2:54 AM, May 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let 'em cry

11:56 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger MadameBoffin said...

The business card idea has more merit than I think you're giving it credit for. It's not a bad idea actually. Or maybe (to save on business cards), you could petition to have local counsellors numbers printed on the back of toilet stall doors, so that they are always there for someone who needs them, whether they're crying or not :)

2:44 AM, May 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you could petition to have local counsellors numbers printed on the back of toilet stall doors"

i think madameboffin's idea is great!! people usually look at signs behind bathroom doors (what else is there to look at?), so it should be very effective.

keep up the good work VL! love the blog. :)

7:32 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Inexplicable DeVice said...


Look out below!



Eeek! I think that peanut butter cookie knocked Library X's gutter off. Sorry...

7:24 AM, May 20, 2006  
Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

Some of the stalls have permanent signs discussing date rape and sexual assault. I don't know why all of them don't have it, but maybe some small half sheet or smaller sized signs listing counselors' numbers would be good. The stall doors also play host to a library newsletter that's put out bi-monthly.

Thank you all for your words of support and advice. I'll mull it over fully when I get back to work.

5:22 PM, May 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you either have to talk to her or not. (I wouldn't.) Adding all sort of shenanagans with business cards or cell phones or what have you slipped under the stall just takes the situation from awkward to creepy. Honestly, what would you do if someone started slipping you messages under the stall? I'd hide on top of the toilet for about two hours and then if the coast was clear make a break for it and never come back.

1:20 PM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm another staffer at Library X. Rather than ask them a question, I'd state something like, "Hey, I'm on the staffof the Library. If you need anything, let me know. My office is.../My name is...." They know someone is available, but don't have to reveal anything. The idea of having counselling center numbers on the doors is great.


10:34 AM, May 26, 2006  

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