Friday, January 04, 2008


Mood: Good
Hair: Could be cleaner, but otherwise straight and good
Listening to: CSI, Season 7 (Liev Schreiber, ahoy)

So I was at the Reference desk for 2.5 hours last night. I'm trying to keep positive about that, not let it bug me. That's not what the point of this is, at least not directly.

I had one of "those patrons." She's been in before at least once when I dealt with her. This is my description of that day:
--Desperately paranoid and DUMB woman arrives for her hour-long session to sign up for email. I. Am. Not. Kidding. An hour. To sign up for email. This begins at 1:30. Thank God it's pretty quiet.

--2:30 and Paranoid is finally set up with email. She wants to double-check in a few minutes to see if it's still there. {omg omg omg omg}--I could never make this up. Never.
In the midst of that hour-plus that I spent with her that day in late June, I found out that she thinks her ex-husband is all over making her life miserable. He's supposedly managed to shut down every email address she's started by changing her passwords, he's stalking her in the courts, I can't remember what-all else, but "he knnnoooooowwwwwssss people." Honestly, at first I was believing it, but the whole email thing sent up alarm bells. Still, we get all kinds, and she desperately needed help.

She showed up last night again. She managed to push EVERY one of my buttons, mostly because she is so freakin' stupid about her paranoia.

She wants to know who lives at a specific address. We use the criss-cross directory (like a phone book, except you look up people by address or phone instead of name)...and there's no listing. "Isn't that weeeeirrddd?" Not all that unusual, no. I decide to try the tax records. No dice there, either--in fact instead of listing the 12 or so houses on that block, only three are listed. That's kind of odd, but not unheard of. Things happen, people argue their bills, properties are sold, whatever. "Isn't that really susppiiiiiciousssss?" Yeah, NO!

Then she's telling me that she just found out she's on her ex-husband's car insurance, but the insurance company and the DMV won't take her name off, and no she can't see the paperwork because of Freedom of Information Act. The police department says the same thing. She just keeps saying that same stuff and I say, but FOIA means you can GET the info if you fill out paperwork....?

Suddenly, she's onto how her daughters are using her home address on their driver's licenses, which she noticed because they had their wallets out while they were there for Christmas. (yeah, sure--she couldn't have looked, or sounded, more guilty if I'd caught her poking through MY purse!) She never has had custody. (Alarm bells) And they've never lived with her. I tell her to report it to DMV. Then she's off on a thing about an apartment that she's trying to find out about. The owner wouldn't tell her who lives there/who owns the building. Then when she asked again, several months later, she's told about FOIA again. "They won't tell me because of Freedom of Information." And I finally flip out.

"No. See, FOIA...FOIA means they will give you the information. You fill out a form, they photocopy stuff, you pay for the copies...the information is free. To anyone. Just do the form and you're good. So. Saying that all these people won't give you info because of FOIA is 180-degrees wrong. They're saying that if you want the info, fill out the form and you can have it! That's all. Just do the form and get the photocopies!!"

She says she knows but they why didn't they tell her when she first asked. "Don't you think that's sstrrrrraaannnnge? That they didn't tell me at first." No, maybe you were pissing them the hell off like you are ME! Maybe the employee didn't know about FOIA. Maybe they were closing. Maybe they HATE YOU!

Now we're stuck in a loop: I repeat what I said about FOIA. She repeats what she said about "getting it" but clearly isn't clear on it and people didn't tell her that the first time...etc. Finally I just say, "Look, do you have any other questions I can help you answer? Cuz I have work to do."

"No, you've answered my question."


She mutters under her breath as I walk away. This all took over half an hour to deal with.

She comes back--yes, really!!--ten minutes later, asking for help with the copier because "the lady up front didn't know how to work that copier [up front]." We get her copies made (from the phone book) and she leaves. Later, when I ask who was helping her with the front copier, none of the rest of the staff would cop to it. So...who the hell was she asking!? Or was she talking to herself, lying to me, or getting help from another patron?

zOMG--I needed two full hours to settle down from this dingwad.

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