These all took place on a busy day at the library.
There's a guy who has computer trouble and yells at me, but I like him because when he's done yelling he is really nice and laughs and is easy-going, and it gives me personality whiplash. You'd think this would be unpleasant, but it amuses me - he is quirky. It's easy to be patient because I know he'll be nice in just a minute. But he yelled at me today when another patron could overhear us. He asked me how long it took for a paper to come out of the printer once you printed, and I told him that it happens almost immediately, and he yelled and said, "NO! I mean WHEN does it come OUT??" So I repeated: when you hit the print button the papers come out within a few seconds. He said, "Oh really?" and walked away. The witness patron who had stood there through it all said confidentially to me, "You said it just fine. It was perfectly clear what you were saying the first time." And I smiled and said, "Oh, it's no problem." Now I look like an awesome librarian, incredibly patient and understanding of crazy people who yell at me, when really my good attitude is just because this guy cracks me up. I love my job.
An older gentleman came in asking for consumer reports, which I told him were on the second floor, and he nodded and said, "I thought so."
Then he stood there for a few moments considering me, then he leaned in and said intently, "You'll have to watch out for me, I just had the swine flu!"
"Oh yeah?" I said. He says, "Oh yeah, but I saw a fine medical representative - A veterinarian!" At this, I laughed politely.
He considers me for another moment. Then he says, "I used to have a dental practice right over there on that corner [pointing out the window]. I had a lady come in once to me, and she said, 'Oh, I'm so sorry, [he puts his hands on his cheeks here] I've been so busy, I haven't had time to brush my teeth!' And so I said, 'Oh don't worry, I've been so busy, I haven't had time to wash my hands!'"
I laughed again, and feeling that he had sufficiently entertained and charmed me, he left looking for consumer reports. Some patrons are entertaining on purpose.
As librarians, we generally try to exercise common sense and human decency. So when I had an elderly couple come up to me asking for a movie and looking so fragile that they might keel over at any moment, I invited them to sit on a soft bench while I found the movie for them. They were really impressed (but really, it seems like an obvious thing to do). When I brought them their movie, they had this little exchange:
Man "I should give you a card! Where are my cards?"
Woman "oh yes, give her a card, he does these cards, you see."
Man "I have some cards, have you seen them before?"
Woman "Here they are, get one out for her"
Man "Here you go, these are my special cards"
And then he handed me this:
(I've blurred out his name and contact info for his protection)
And of course - he stood and waiting for me to give him a smile back, which was easy, and accompanied by a "thank you."
I hope I am that cheerful when I am their age.