I try my best to be pleasant to others though I’ve learned early on that a lot of people are not pleasant though they should be. Anyone who works with the public should at least try their best to try to be pleasant but I’ve met more than my share who couldn’t have cared less about the people they were serving, it’s a sad, sad world.
But when someone comes to me, complaining that my working staff is giving them trouble, I end up just staring at them. Agni and Mira both are absolutely hard worker, they do their best to please those who are around them. Just yesterday, Agni had to climb up to the top of one of the shelves to get one particular book because the young lady requesting it said she didn’t want to go up the ladder, as if that was somehow reason enough not to.
When she came to my desk later on to be able to get the book marked as borrowed, she complained that he had been slow and unhelpful and that she’d had to ask him five times to help her before he did anything. I let it slide. I know that Agni goes out of his way and tends to do the climbing where Mira is a little uncomfortable with being up on the ladders but that’s mostly because he’s fallen a couple of times and I don’t blame him for his discomfort.
I didn’t argue with her, I didn’t tell her she was right either, I just listened to her, stamped her card, scanned the book and told her to have a good day. Now, if I didn’t know how helpful they are towards anyone who come their way, I would have wondered at her words but some people just want to complain because it makes them feel better about themselves. I think it’s sad but there’s nothing to do about it.
On days like these, I like to take the twins out for a small snack or a little something for them to take home before we take the bus to head back. I know they’re worried about Cyrille but from what I hear from them, he’s healing well enough, slowly but surely. They’re not all that distracted during work and it’s a plus, appreciate that they’re able to separate their personal lives and their working lives. It makes everything easier.
That one particular woman didn’t turn out to be much of an issue though. Over the years I’ve had people complain that there wasn’t enough staff present in the library to do the work properly. As I was working on my own at that point, I could only note their complaints and bring it up to the boss, telling him I needed at least one assistant but the request was always refused. I’m honestly not sure why he agreed now, else than they worked their first two weeks for free. My boss is cheap.
On one particular day, this young man strolled into the library, demanded that he be handed one particular book and sat down to wait. Now I knew for a fact that, for one, this book was in the upper shelves and well out of my reach, even when I used the step. It required the ladder and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it from him. When those books were usually taken out, I kept them on a cart upon their return and I’d wait on one of Andoni’s now and again visits to ask him to help me. It wasn’t something I was comfortable with at first but he offered his help a few times over and I learned to accept it.
That young man looked perfectly able and I had a feeling he could very well get that book himself. As it was, I couldn’t leave my desk as we were in the middle of a return-to-school rush and I was swarmed. The man stayed there, grumbling, complaining and never moving from where he’d settled to wait. At least for about half an hour—time during which I still was swamped—after that, he got up, stomped over to the desk and started yelling at me.
I mostly just stared at him, other people stared at him but no one really did anything. He got started on this whole charade with a ‘do you have any idea who I am?’ as if that might make me realize something but I had no idea who he was and I didn’t care. He yelled, he got red in the face and he yelled again. He then stormed out and that was that. No one tried to get him to stop, no one told him to be quiet, they just stared and went right back to what they were doing once he was gone.
I was, of course, pretty shaken and I had wished that someone at least had asked him to quiet down but I suppose things are just that way for a reason, it can’t be helped.
When Andoni picked me up that evening, I was still shaken, to the point where I wasn’t even putting my books where they were supposed to. He walked me away from the cart, sat me down, fixed up my book mishaps and then just walked me to his car where I got in, somewhat mechanically and he settled. We drove back to the apartment in silence.
I broke down the moment we were inside and he simply held me. That’s all I needed.
It makes me glad to have the twins with me at this point. The rushes are so much easier to handle and I don’t feel as if I could just break down almost every night upon coming home. Working on my own in the library, though it isn’t huge though it still is sizeable, was difficult. It made my dream of being a librarian seem like one of the most foolish things in the world and I thought of quitting often though I couldn’t. I needed the money and I didn’t know where else to look for work if I did quit. There’s a lot I can’t do because of my physical limitations though I try to not let it get to me most of the time.
So really, most every person who comes to me to complain about a little bit of this or that, so long as they don’t start yelling, will never compare to that one man. I don’t think anyone could, even if they did start screaming at me pointlessly.
I’m not superman, even if I had had the twins at that point I’m sure he would have yelled at me. The rush times are so difficult to handle and it usually ends up being a case of everyone for themselves. Though I can only imagine that Agni would have gotten in his face if it had happened. The thought actually makes me smile and I shake my head.
So really, I don’t mind treating them to something special after harder days. They deserve it in ways I wouldn’t really have any ways to explain. It’s the little things and it’s their presence and their willingness to learn new things, to discover fresh knowledge. I know I don’t thank them enough but I do my best and I wouldn’t still be around if not for them so I’m glad they bumped into me at the beginning of the year. A very fortunate accident, that was.
I do wish that everyone who has to work with the public would wrap their mind around the fact that what they are doing is important, that smiles, while they might not be felt, should be offered. It’s not hard to imagine that offering someone a smile might make their days and they might just make the staff’s day in turn, really, it seems all so simple, I don’t understand why people have a problem with this.