Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'm Not Trained for This (or Why I Should Give Up Smoking)

Library X is built into the side of a hill. The entrance floor is the top floor. Attached to the library is a large patio that is the roof to the floor below. Students gather out on the patio benches and umbrella-ed tables to enjoy the fresh air and talk on their cell phones. Smokers go out there too. There are many cigarette receptacles for us.

I give you this little architectural background for this story...

I went outside around 5:30pm to have a smoke. As I was standing out on the patio, I saw a tall man go directly to the back of the patio, give a yell, and climb onto the railing to stand on the outside edge. I waited for him to immediately climb back down. He didn't. I gave him another couple of seconds. He stayed up there. I cursed softly and wondered why he had to do this on my smoke break. Why not fifteen minutes before or fifteen minutes after?

I considered speaking to him, but quickly discarded the notion as the imagined dialogue went through my head.

Vampire Librarian: Hey, mind getting down from there?

Crazy Dude: Why?

VL: Because I don't want you to fall.

CD: What if I jump?

VL: That would be bad too. Come down from there.

CD: Don't want to.

VL: Please?

CD: Alright. Give me a second--


VL: Aw hell...


UPD: And what exactly did you think you were doing?

VL: Preventing paperwork?

UPD: Come with us, please.

VL: Are the handcuffs really necessary?

See, it would've been bad. So I put out my cigarette and went inside to call 911 from my desk. I explained the situation to the dispatcher. It took a while, and eventually when he understood the situation, he asked if the guy was still out on the railing. I asked one of the student assistants to go see. Crazy Dude should've been clearly visible through the glass doors.

She said she didn't see him. I told the dispatcher to hold on and checked myself. The guy was no longer on the railing. I didn't see him anywhere on the patio. I took a deep breath and went to the railing to look over the side. I heaved a sigh of relief when I didn't find a body on the ground below me. I went back in and told the dispatcher that the guy was gone. The dispatcher said UPD was already on their way to my location. I waited outside to meet the officers. The two officers asked the students on the patio if they saw where the guy went. One girl said she saw the guy get down, and she thought she saw him go into Library X. The two officers and I searched the building for the dude but did not find him.

All evening, I've been obsessively looking out at the patio to see if the guy returned. Luckily he hasn't, but it's still made me a little jittery. Being on suicide/stupidity watch is not fun. Maybe I should give up smoking. Stuff like this happens when I go outside. I end up directing firemen to emergency calls, getting hit on by homeless guys, or almost getting hit in the head by Frisbee golfers. If the nicotine fiend didn't ride me, I wouldn't be exposed to this stuff. But if I do try to quit, I could become the crazy dudette on the railing.



Blogger tiny robot said...

Doll, sounds like smoking is the least of your worries, so don't fret.

I personally would love to know exactly what it is that sends the Crazies in droves to libraries. What is it that gives off the siren call to loonies everywhere to flock to the information place to harrass others, off themselves or disturb the smoking breaks of the underpaid and overworked? Library school should include a crisis management course requirement. That, and for some, a free Kevlar vest upon graduation.

9:01 AM, September 07, 2006  
Blogger Librarian Girl said...

In situations like that, I always want to yell out "HEY. DIAL DOWN THE CRAZY." But to do that, I would be dialing up my OWN crazy. It's a vicious cycle.

7:54 PM, September 07, 2006  
Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

Tiny Robot, it's funny you should mention kevlar. A friend of a friend told me his idea to make designer kevlar vests--called Kashlar or Kleivlar. They'd come in all different types of colors with bling. When I heard it, I was surprised to realize something like that HADN'T been done yet.

Librarian Girl, too true.

10:13 PM, September 10, 2006  

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