10 December 2005

library drama

here are some recent insane things that have happened at my job as a librarian for a two year college.

on thursday, i was at the desk by myself, with a fairly humming library, but in control. i heard screaming, and saw a flurry of people in the hallway. i picked up the phone to call security but realized by the time they would get up there, it might be too late for them to do any good. as one of the only "adults" (the students are often older than me but act years younger; does college mature one? have they not reached that point?) i ran out into the middle. the two women were held back by their friends (one or two people held each woman back) and they were screaming, attempting to leap out of their friends' arms to scratch the other one's eyes out or punch them or whatever it is people do in fights. i tried to scream, "STOP IT, STOP IT! LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!" but my voice almost seemed swallowed. another man also inserted himself in the middle. the women were dragged into opposite stairwells by their friends.
i went back into the library, to staff the desk and finish cataloging the new criminal justice and fashion books. one of the women who was part of the fight came in with her friend several minutes later.
"she only acts ghetto when her friends are around," she said angrily.
hmmmm, seems like acting ghetto is a way to impress others?????

R, one of the regulars, began hanging around the reference desk. due to the earlier chaos, and the fact that we were quite busy, i was behind in my cataloging. he kept talking to me and talking to me.
a female student J came up.
"i need a book on dream interpretation."
i told her we didn't have much on the subject, but she should try the public library.
she goes, "i want to see what you got."
i tell her the only two titles are by freud--"he is going to tell you some different sorts of things about your dreams, like you want to sleep with your father, things like that." she stares at me blanky, snatches the scrap paper with the call number on it from my outstretched fingers, and heads to the stacks.
R asks, "who's freud?"
"freud? sigmund freud? you don't know who he is?" i am shocked; how can someone not know who freud is. i'm not a fan--i read dora for a class once--and don't know too much about him, but i know who he is, the basics. it's like an american not knowing the george washington cherry tree story.
"is he, uh, is he like einstein?" R asks me, serious.
i try not to laugh.
"no einstein is quite different. einstein developed the theory of relativity--he was the one who thought of e=mc2. freud was the father of psychoanalysis. he..."
R looks lost.
J comes back out from the stacks. "i got these two i want."
i check them out, later noticing they are two different copies of the same exact title. i suppose she's quite perceptive.
R begins quizzing me on einstein and freud and nuclear war. i have to do original cataloging for four more fashion books. finally, i hand him over to T who is decorating the library with holiday decorations. i pass out scissors and white paper.
"here, make some snowflakes."
R shows me each rather un-crafty snowflake he makes and i praise him. i feel like we have a very odd relationship.
when i close up, i have to kick him out, gently. after i punch out, i head to the elevator where he pops up again. he starts talking to me in the elevator about how he's going to be a cop. great, if he's protecting nyc....
on the street, we walk to the subway together, me asking him about where he lives, that sort of thing. R is the king of mumbles; i miss half of what he says, and he speaks softly, so it's hard when you work in times square. right as we walk approach 7th avenue, he says, "I need to get your number."
i stop it before it starts. "i have a boyfriend."
"oh. oh." we say nothing for several beats, and then he says, "where's greenpoint?"

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