Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pissy amusement

That irritating thing happened to me again at the library. I arrived when they opened and returned the cds I had via the conveyor belt set up for this purpose. Then I went and found three more cds. This took 20 minutes. Then I went to the self service kiosk to check out but the computer said I was over my limit of cds. Three is the limit. Then I waited a minute for a clerk and explained that I had returned my things when they opened. The clerk informed me that it takes 15 minutes to get the returns into the system. Plus they just opened so it could take longer. I said it had already been 23 minutes, how long am I expected to wait for someone to scan it back into the system? "There's nothing I can do sir." I told him that was a lie and that I couldn't wait, so forget it. His reaction seemed one of loathing, not so much at me, but at the fact that the policies of the library force him to be the object of many people's hatred. Just after me a lady came up and very sternly and angrily insisted on seeing the manager of circulation. Poor guy, they weren't even open a half an hour yet.

Still, I was pissy and irritated. I really could have waited too, but that testosterone flash of anger made me act childishly and stomp out. I went down to where my next lesson was and sat outside near the fountains in Square Victoria. A little sudoku should calm me down, honestly I don't know why things get me so angry sometimes. So then this mom and her kid come and sit on the next bench over and the little kid, maybe 3 or 4 years old is rapt at the fountains. Every once an, I don't know, thirty seconds, the fountains would turn off and on in a four move sequence. Each time the sequence started, the little boy shrieked. Do you know that shriek that is the most piercing sound and you can't believe that it could be produced by a human, let alone a tiny one? Really. Freaking. Irritating. The first time he did it I jerked with the coffee in my hand and it splattered out onto my sleeve. (That sentence would certainly look odd all by itself.) I was already mad and this wasn't helping. But then I watched the kid and saw the electricity as it coursed through his body each thirty seconds as the round of dancing fountains began again. Shriek! Shriek! Shriek! Shriek! His mom just looked on with a helpless grin, much like the one I had developed. You just could not be unamused. Plus seeing the startled jolts of hapless passers-by who happened to pass by at just the right (or wrong) moment,well that was just priceless. And it was weird, how the anger dissolved into laughter, like they were sandwiches made from the same loaf of bread.

17 comments:

lattégirl said...

You are a recovering addict. It can take time for emotions to settle down. Tiny things are irritating me for similar reasons. Two staffers at my library (how uncanny is the timing here?) were also somewhat pissy with me a couple of days ago about a book return, and it was such a minor thing but it got my back up, making me walk out muttering just loud enough for them to hear, "Colisse, qu'y'sont bĂȘtes." (in proper joual.)

Roxrocks said...

Welcome to my world of PMS. It's just like that except I would have gotten misty at the kids' enjoyment.

Lemuel said...

i have to agree with lattegirl. I think a lot of your pissy mood swings is due to your purging of the nicotine from your system. Your body is angry at you for denying it. But to me it is all a good sign when you can move from pissy to laughter. You are winning.

Patricia said...

I wish I could more easily revert to those shrieking moments of joy again. A good lesson learned.

David said...

I was initially going to get all cross with you, but am so pleased that the joy of a child, even with the attendant shrieks, can pull you out of a snit. It always works for me.

em said...

Nice image, that last.

RJ March said...

I agree with lattegirl, but, man, you were coming close to being THAT kind of customer I dream of, the one who is so irrational you can't do anything but laugh in his face.

I get a few of those these days in my line of work. Like the lady last night who literally counted to ten after my asking her to repeat herself.

Birdie said...

I lit into a 20-year-old gas station "manager" the other day. He was going to turn off the gas pump to my car because I left it to enter their store. To BUY things. You do not want to mess with me when I'm in a bad mood. Things had not been going well for me, and he just capped my day. I went into an Oscar-worthy soliloquy on misplaced zeal for rules. I should've written it down. But he didn't turn off the pump.

David said...

Having worked retail all of my career, your actions at the check-out desk reminds me why everyone needs to take a deep breath.

Customers think our jobs are easy, even predictable. But things, like all things, sometimes do not go as planned. Chaos rules, and looks like that happened at the library.

We understand your frustration, but most of the time, us front-line workers have no control over some aspects of our jobs.

Treating us like crap is no way to get what you want, though. Screw the customer is always right crap. We know that sometimes the customer is wrong.

We do not plan to fuck up your lives, by the way. But shit happens, you know?

A Lewis said...

I can't stand that shrieking thing...especially inside of an airplane loaded with people or in a restaurant. Ick. Eek.

GayProf said...

Children rarely amuse me.

Mark in DE said...

When Spouse has similarly inappropriate levels of emotion it puzzles me and I often take it personally (even after 12+ years). I'm glad to know that there are others like him (and that I actually like) and that I shouldn't take it personally.

Mark :-)

TankMontreal said...

1) Bitching at frontline staff doesn't serve anybody. Oftentimes the minions disagree with imposed policies and procedures as much as you do. Next time ask to speak with someone who can make a difference. Or maybe in the grand scheme it doesn't really matter that much?
2) Love the sandwich metaphor.

Butch said...

It suprises me that the fellow at the library couldn't scan in the DVD's on his own to expedite things along. It's a waste of time trying to argue with the person who works on this level. He is not allowed to make any decisions and it is best to just ask for his boss or someone who can make a decision.

Java said...

The kid at the fountain sounds charming. And annoying. I guess as with most things in life the experience depends on how you look at it. Thanks for reminding me to look for the joy even in irritating situations.

truthspew said...

The one thing I never lost is my ability to appreciate the special things in life. Be it the beautiful display of flowers on my neighbors porch, or a particularly large full moon I love it all.

And check out the Australian Broadcasting Company series The Librarians.

There are only six episodes at the link but they're funny as hell.

http://www.surfthechannel.com/show/television/The_Librarians.html

Greg said...

I suspect we are preaching to the choir (you) about not freaking at the guy in the front lines, as you must recall from your days in the restaurant trenches.

Of course it's that damn Nicodemon...he has a much smaller dagger to poke you with those days, but from those the pain is that much sharper.

I'm glad the fountain and the kid eventually helped you find your calm place.

Of course, you could save everyone a lot of time and trauma if you'd just take a minute to rewind those CDs before you bring them back to the library. ; )