Sunday, November 26, 2006

Being Thankful

I hope everyone in the states had a pleasant Thanksgiving. Mine was nice. Now I'm in the downward slide to winter break. Sure, I'll have to survive fall exams to make it to break, but my desk doubles as a foxhole, and I'm gonna hide there till all of the mania blows over. I'll survive...I better survive. If I don't, there's going to be some serious poltergeist action happening to the undergrads.

As I've just enjoyed a little time off and am about to enter a high stress stretch, I feel the need to remind myself of things I appreciate about my job. I grouse a lot about stuff I don't like, so here are some things I do like.

In no particular order, what I'm thankful for:

1. A paid parking pass to the garage
2. My recent raise
3. My upcoming raise (effective Dec.1)
4. Paid hotel room to stay in when foul weather hits
5. Free food in the staff lounge
6. Pleasant, competent work studies
7. 2 weeks off for winter break
8. Great co-workers
9. Health insurance (I haven't needed it lately, but my brother recently sure could've used it.)
10. Coffee maker in the staff lounge.
11. Library faculty privileges (No fines)
12. Casual dress code
13. Lenient bosses, especially concerning tardiness

Care to share stuff you're thankful for?

Monday, November 13, 2006

So I Get this Call after Midnight…

Me: Hello, this is Library X, the Vampire Librarian speaking.

Student: Hi, um, I’m calling from Big Research Library.

I look at the clock.

Me: Big Research Library is closed.

Student: Yeah, I know. I’m locked in.

Me: Oh…

Student: I fell asleep, and when I woke up, all the lights were off, and the doors were locked. Could someone come let me out?

Me: Unfortunately, Library X doesn’t have a key to Big Research Library. I’ll call UPD. They should be by shortly to let you out. Are you at the main entrance?

Student: I’m calling from the circ desk phone.

Me: Okay, an officer should be there shortly.

Student: Thanks…

Dial UPD’s non-emergency number.

Dispatcher: UPD, how may I help you?

Me: Hi, I’m the Vampire Librarian at Library X, and I just got a call from a student saying she’s locked inside Big Research Library. Could you send an officer to let her out?

Dispatcher (chuckling lightly): Did she just wake up?

Me: Yeah.

Dispatcher: Where is she?

Me: Waiting at the main entrance.

Dispatcher: Did you get her name?

Me: No, I didn’t think to ask, but whoever’s there needs to be let out.

Dispatcher chuckles some more.

Kyle has been listening to my half of the conversation this whole time.

Kyle: Student locked in?

Me: Yeah, they wanted to know her name.

Kyle: What like they go in looking for Sarah and say, ‘Oh sorry, Jennifer, you’ll have to stay’?


Thursday, November 09, 2006


I think I’ve made it clear that I have no skills dealing with distraught people. Uncontrollable sobbing makes me want to bolt. So imagine my consternation when I’m on the quiet floor of Library X making my way to the stairwell to head back upstairs when the sounds of a man wailing erupt. The sounds emanate from the stairway doors. I stop in my tracks and stare at the metal doors like a scared woodland creature at the entrance to the den of a nasty predator. My heart begins to race.

The students studying nearby are looking at the closed doors with worry and sympathy. They’re also darting glances at me. The glances make their expectations clear: I’m supposed to go into the stairwell and help this man. With a petulant mental stomp, I wonder why I gotta be the responsible adult here and check on the guy whose world is crumbling around his ears. It sounds like there may even be shirt rending happening.

I stall. With my head bowed, I pace back and forth in front of the doors. Every shuddering sob makes me wince. I try to figure out what I’ll say to the guy. I need to get him out of the stairwell and somewhere quieter. His sobbing is probably echoing up the four flights of stairs into every floor. But how do I say that without coming off as a cold, heartless bitch, and where the hell am I gonna move him?

I wonder what has upset the guy. It could be a romantic break-up, death in the family, a poor grade, or some other catastrophe. It is clearly something major for this young man, and I have absolutely no clue of how to console him. I am now pacing, wringing my hands, and becoming upset myself. I know I look ridiculous. If I don’t do something soon, I may begin to cry. I clutch my two books and head to the stairwell. I have no clue what I’ll say, but I’m going. My feet are in motion. My steps are purposeful. I’m going to do it. I’m going into the stairwell.

I clasp the door handle and pull...only to find the door swinging toward me as a teary-eyed student comes slinking in with a friend. The friend is murmuring something about getting their stuff and heading out. I watch the young man sniffle and go to a study table to collect his things.

There is such a huge wave of relief flowing over me that I am temporarily paralyzed. Once the euphoria lessens, I jog up the stairs with a little spring in my step. I avoided a very icky emotional kerfuffle. It makes me happy. Yes, I’m a poor human being for not reaching out to help this distraught man, but you know what? I’m still relieved.

You may begin the scolding.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Flashing Blitz

It seems Library X had a flashing blitz this Saturday. A number of female students were approached by a man with his genitals exposed and asked inane questions. I wish I were here when this happened so I could've gotten a better description of the guy than 30-40 with white hair. Sure, that rules out a lot of people, but it doesn't help identify the man. I don't even know if he's white, black, Asian, or Hispanic.

I hope this guy doesn't start to do this regularly. The fact that he chose Saturday night to approach women could suggest that the man knows we have no staff on duty on Saturday nights, only students and that Saturday is a relatively slow night so women are easier to get alone.

And like when I told my guy friends about the ghost, all I get in response to my story is raucous laughter from them. Makes me want to kick them in the genitals so then I'm the one pointing and laughing.