Thursday, October 21, 2004

Take a Leaf Out of My Book

Man, this is INSANE! What is WITH these people at the library? Do they have it in for me?

It was so weird; whatever started, as a normal day didn't certainly END like a normal volunteering day...

* * *

It was warm where I was working today. Not too warm where I was sweating and having to unstick my boobs with a crowbar, but warm enough to where I was rolling up my sleeves to my hoodie I had dawned myself with on that day.

I'm pushing the normal "roll-able" shelf of books around, putting them all back in the proper order. As I was nearing the end of the books I had upon the moveable shelf, I noticed one of THOSE books. It was bright green and bound in straight-back leather. The gold lettering was peeling off slightly, but the book itself was still in 'mint' condition.

Oh yeah, did I mention it was also roughly the size and weight of a young killer whale? Must've slipped my mind, although at the time the book had to have it's own shelf it was so damned big.

This book, obviously, went on the 'Oversized' shelf. WAYYYYY in the back. Some employees called it the "Death Hall".

Naw, just kidding, but it sure as hell LOOKED like a Death Hall. With the bookcase at the far end of a narrow hallway and only one single row of lights to light up the whole thing.

It was not a pretty sight.

So I go back there quickly, throwing all of my weight against the cart to get it rolling. (I swear it needed memento to move. You know, like a semi?) As I get about 5 feet away from the shelf I hear a
"R-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-p-p-p-p!!!" coming into my hearing range. I stop the cart so quickly it sounded like nails on a chalkboard for a few seconds. The ripping stopped abruptly; the silence was deafening.

Now I was on a mission. I edge down the hall, coming closer to the "Oversized" bookshelf in the back. I peek around the "19th Century Dictionary: Complete with Pictures!" on the 'Oversized' shelf and see a short guy sitting in a chair. At first I didn't realize that someone was actually SITTING there; he was that short! Poor guy...I wonder if that means everything is in proportion...


I couldn't really get a good view of him at this angle, so I crept around the Killer-Whale-Sized Books and came to a stop right out of sight on his right-hand side; although, I could now see what was in his lap.

It was a Science Journal (a magazine). One of the "bound editions" where they got a bunch of the "Science Journal's" together a put them in a 'book' thing. Those things are also a pain in the ass to re-shelve, I might add.

As I stood there witnessing his every movement, he looked both ways, took a firm hold on some sort of diagram and pulled so that it tore cleanly out of the magazine/volume/thing. It was at this time that I realized I was holding a small book from the nearby shelf; probably felt oddly comforting...

I was so stunned; I watched him do this two more times and then I stepped around the corner, still clutching the book I pulled from the shelf. The guy gave a very convincing start of surprise and then turned innocently away.

"You know," I said conversationally, eyeing him over my shoulder as I ran a finger along a row of books, trying to 'find' the right area with which it belonged. "I saw you do that."

"N-n-NO you didn't!" He said, a little more irrational than he intended I'm guessing. "I-I mean...It...It was an accident!"

I turned around and saw that he was looking down at the book. I looked down too; at the perfect cut where the page just 'happened' to "fall out".

"Right, and it tore along the seam so perfectly? How ironic..." I said, rolling my eyes and turning back to the bookshelf.

" won't...will you?" I hear him sputtering in the background. I turned, my eyes ablaze.
"Won't what? TELL on you?" I said, saying the word 'tell' as if saying 'tattletale' like a 5-year-old would say.
"I could buy...I mean...I don't think I want to check this Volume out anymore..." He said. This time I took a few steps closer, and he stood up, which was NOT an impressive move on his part. He only stood a little taller than my waist.

I could take him.

"Oh yes you will check it out." I said, "And when you bring it back, you will then be charged with the pages you tore out properly."
"You already knew that was going to happen when you brought it back if it was checked out, didn’t you?" I said, with a tone of curiosity.
"Well...I mean...I don't know what you are talking about!"

I knew immediately that this guy was a geek, and plus, the library won't charge him anymore than it would have cost him to copy the page in the first place: 8 cents each side of a page for a grand total of...48 cents. Wooo!

"Let me escort you to the front, sir." I said decisively, walking swiftly over to him and taking my arm in his.

I led him kindly but firmly towards the front desk.

He kept sputtering incoherent words but did not attempt to stop me, which I didn't find surprising.

And yes, he did check out that book. :-)