February 27, 2006

New Roses

I've been assigned to a special project at work, which means I'm not hauling armloads of books around and shelving quietly in unoccupied corners of the library. I'm instead doing very simple and repetitive things with the holdings records of a massive number of books. It's frankly unthrilling, but also frankly, it's worth more money than shelving would have been. It's a trade-off with which I can deal, and usually it just means plunking down at a computer with my headphones and ignoring the rest of the department for some number of hours.

Today, however, it meant squeezing myself into a corner of the overcrowded circulation computer room, blocking myself in with a truckfull of books, and handling several hundred extremely shiny, squeaky paperback books while another student employee sat in another chair about six inches behind mine, carrying on a conversation in some of the most ringingly stentorian tones I've ever had the privilege of hearing. I had my headphones on and my music turned up higher than I wanted to be hearing it, until it was thoroughly distracting and mistake-inducing, and I still couldn't help but hear about this guy's girlfriend's sorority and how he (the guy, of course, not the girlfriend) used to look exactly like Eminem. And how this person he was talking to plays volleyball, right, and what's her coach like. And on, and on.

I've been thinking about this carefully since 2:00 and I've concluded that the only way it could possibly have been worse for my sanity is if it had all taken place on a very high ladder covered in spiders. Please tune in tomorrow to see if my boss has managed to set up that account with Arachnoheights Sales & Marketing yet.

Posted by dianna at February 27, 2006 04:43 PM

I wonder if I know the fellow. Probably not; I stopped paying attention to SLEs after I became a clerk. In any case, shouldn't Loudman (pronounced "LOUD-mun," like Newman) have been working and not gabbing if he was going to be back on the computers? I would have thought John Thomas would have taken care of that in his usual way.

Unless the fellow employee was a supervisor. But no, the sups should all be female now, right?

Posted by: Zach S. at February 27, 2006 05:44 PM

Not quite; there's one male Sup (named, I'm pretty sure, Garrett?). And Mr. Loud was putting piggyback barcodes in paperbacks while talking, so that was perfectly all right. The paperback project has been moved as much as possible into the back room to keep it out of 4RS, which accounts for both the ungodly claustrophobia and the unusually loud backroom conversation. The misuse of personal space and vocal volume I lay squarely at the feet of this fellow, whose name I couldn't tell you anyway because I don't know it, and as for the terrible, terrible squeakiness of the books, that's apparently due to certain publishing companies in Russia. God. It's all so wrong.

Posted by: Dianna at February 27, 2006 07:11 PM

At least they don't smell weird like those Indian books. (No offense intended to India or Indians, but the library has scads of these yellow hard-bound books from India that have this odd odor about them.)

Huh. Garrett you say? Is he blonde and portly, or tall and athletically built? I ask because there were a pair of Garrets when I left. I was quite fond of portly Garret (The Original Garrett or OG as he was sometimes known).

I always find that a good way to get people to shut up is to turn conversations around to very boring or discomfitting subjects. Unfortunately, you're dealing with a fellow library worker, so you can't use my boringness standby, talking about work at the library. Have you considered talking to yourself? I find that tends to put people off enough to shut them up. Lectures are particularly useful in this regard.

Posted by: Zach S. at February 27, 2006 07:38 PM