Monday, October 18, 2004

Give Directions

The other day I was volunteering at the local library.

Being the eager little kipper, I was shelving books at top speed, answering my daily allowance of 1,000 anytime questions from random people.

Today, though, I had a particularly interesting customer. The man, with his nose in the air, stomps by, and literally falls over my book cart. He gets up quickly and says,
"Move that thing, will you?"

I opened my mouth to say something but he cut me off.

"Ah, you are a lower-wage person here, are you then? No need, I can tell by the way you are dressed that you clearly aren't paid above minimum wage." He said simply, eyeing me with what I recognized as pity.

I was so in shock that I had received such a rude comment that I actually looked down to see what I was wearing today.

I was wearing a pair of nice-fitting jeans with a neat T-Shirt. It is not as if I was wearing cut-offs with rips in my shirt to go along with it...Sheesh!

At this point, I eyed him with great distaste.

He just continued to look at me as if I were something ugly on the bottom of his shoe.
"No matter," he said, sniffling before continuing what could be his last statement on this Earth, "I need directions."

Ah. Directions. Of course.

Now, let me assure you that there are 6 floors to the library that I volunteer in, and I frequently have people asking for directions. But normally they are kind, not like this gentleman standing before me, with his suit too perfect to go along with that stupid matching tie.

Oh how I wanted to hurt him.

"Yes, sir." I say, gritting my teeth to keep from hitting him, "" Now I was clenching my teeth so badly it was restricting movement in my jaws, causing my voice to sound muffled.
"What say you?" The man waved his hand in an impatient manner, clearly wanting me to pick up the pace.
"I asked where you needed to go, SIR." I said, putting a book on the shelf while simultaneously rolling my eyes.

"I need to find the Humanities department." He said quickly with the air of a person getting the worst over fast.

Ah. The Humanities Floor. Third floor, right down the stairs. Oh...wait...

"Oh...this one is kind of tricky," I said, pretending to be thinking really hard about where Humanities is located while putting up another book. Finally, when I figured I couldn't stall any longer without it being obvious, I say:
"Well, I think you take the elevator down one floor, they are renovating most of the building you see. Oh, first you take a right out of this aisle, then a left and all the way down the hallway until you get to the end of it, then you make another left, go all the way down, another left, and you will meet up with the front desk of the sixth floor, which is the one we are on now..." I said as if he were five. To my great joy he took out a pen and a piece of paper and was jotting down notes.

"Ah, of course. Please continue," He said hurriedly.
"Well, when you get to the desk you walk down the pathway directly in front of it and go to the elevator. I think I already told you this part but..."
"Yes! Take the elevator down one floor because of renovations!" The man said impatiently.

Even more incentive to be more shall we say...creative with my directions you see.

"Ah, yes...Thennn...You take a left out of the elevator, go down ONE flight of stairs, turn 45 degrees to the right and take THAT door. Now, this part is VERY important." I say, lowering my eyes to peek at his paper, and sure enough he had scribbled down almost every movement I told him to do. My voice lowered for the finally.

"Take a left once you get inside that door, go down the elongated hallway, make a right and there will be a set of offices...make another right, go down the row of offices. You will come to the desk. Take a left along a row of a books - I don't know which of the call letters they are - then take a right and you will come to a bunch of empty bins. You have to sort of shimmy past the empty bins and come to a halt in front of a big glass panel labeled 'Humanities Department'. I'm confident that they can answer any of your questions that you may have." I say this so rapidly and so quietly that the mean 'ole man has to lean in to hear me.

Heh. Heh.

"Is that all??" He says, his eyes practically bulging at the amount of information I had given him to process.

"Yes, that's all." I say, smiling sweetly and turning sharply in the other direction, about ready to burst with laughter. I started whistling a tune as I led the cart of books down to more shelves.

* * *

I know that some of you may think that this was mean, and it was. But he really deserved it!

And wouldn't you believe it, but a nice young woman came up to me 20 minutes later, asking the EXACT same question...

"Where is the Humanities Department?" the woman asked politely. "Can you please help me?"

"Ah yes ma'am!" I say enthusiastically, still joyful about the guy I just sent on a mission to mars.

"Oh, thank you!" She says before I even explain the directions.

"No problem, no problem. Let's see...Ah yes, I remember now. Just go outside, take the elevator down to floor three, turn left, go through the door, and you’re there!" I say happily, gesturing towards the elevators.

"Thanks!" She says, smiling and heading in the right direction.

"Oh! And watch out for a really mean guy in a black suit with a matching tie!" I yell to her retreating back.

The woman turned around and gave me an inquiring look for a split second, before the door swung back, immidiately cutting us off from one another.