Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weird Day

Yesterday was a strange day at work. Part--most?--of that strangeness can be attributed directed to the fact that, starting Monday, we will have two Directors for a week. There is a great deal of time being spent thinking about that, planning for the current Director's going-away party, thinking about what we need to find out from her before she's gone, tying up loose-ends of projects, etc. The staff is doing a special presentation and there was a lot of talk about that (when the boss wasn't in the room).

About midway through the day, I suddenly realized that everyone had received a 'script' for the party via email. Except, that is, me. It was inadvertent, I'm sure, but it explained the sort of low-level cluelessness I'd been experiencing all week. I knew something was percolating because people were talking about it out loud, but then they'd say something about squirrels (I kid you not) and I'd think, "What?"

Yes, part of our presentation involves squirrels.

Being aware enough to know that I was missing something is paranoia-inducing, especially since there are some other, actual, paranoia-inducing things going on at work right now as we prepare to start working for the first new Director the library has had since the early 1970s. I hasten to say that I know from prior experience that things could be MUCH MUCH worse. The last time I worked a 'regime change' was horror-inducing. This will be a breeze, no matter how angsty everyone gets!

But some other weird stuff was going on too. It is the end of the month so I was working up the cataloging stats. Weirdly, this is something I generally find very calming. I've only recently started doing this for the boss, so I still have to think through each and every step. When I got to the main stats document I was lost. Fortunately, she was nearby to ask, "Where do I put May??" Er, duh, Cat.: new budget year. New spreadsheet. New new new ... everything. I figured it out, after much faffing about. There was some intense praying that I didn't manage to delete last year's entire accounting document. In fact, I had to keep getting up and walking around to clear my head enough to ensure I wasn't jumping to conclusions before deleting/saving over docs.

[Realized as I typed this that I left out a piece--rats! Fortunately, it's a piece that I keep for my own joy, so it's not a big deal. The numbers are there; I'll just have to do it on Tuesday.]

Because of all the up-and-down, plus the Public Desk schedule, plus trying to tie of other projects including entering order records into the catalog all morning (that always makes my brain itch) and running the July Hot Books in Publishing list, I felt like I had a big case of ADD.

Did I mention the scheduled eyedrop breaks? Yeah. The eyes are better but they require constant maintenance and coddling. As, apparently, they will for the rest of my life. I will be single-handedly supporting the individually packaged Refresh et al. market. Absolutely nothing with a preservative can go in my eyes. And the Greek chorus shouts, "THANK GOD I am alive now, not 50 years ago when there was no understanding of this sort of thing, no options, and I would probably be legally blind by now."

And finally...while I was at the Reference Desk, a woman came up to me, seething with fury. She claimed that while she was away from her internet station briefly (to put money on her print account, 10 feet away), someone sat down at it and "deleted" the pages of work she was just about to print. So, yeah, I'd be furious too, but then she said something to the effect of "This is why I wish I carried a gun!"

Gulp. I suggested, strongly, that this would not solve the problem, and she should CERtainly not bring a gun to the library for this purpose.

As I got to thinking about it, I am pretty sure that she had to wait awhile for staff to put money on her account and the computer she was using timed out and shut down. The guy who came and sat down there had no way of knowing she had been using it at that point.

Eventually, I asked her if she had said anything to him. "No. I'm too angry and I might say something...." Yeah, something out of line maybe?! But on the other hand, there is a sudden stench of passive-aggressive here. I'm not either person's mom, and by the age she is she should be able to stand up for herself.

When she finally finished up she stopped at the desk and said, "That guy just left a few minutes ago. Maybe I can catch him in the parking lot and punch him." I reiterated that she shouldn't do this on library property. Now I'm wondering if I should have called the cops. Would I if she'd been a Big Scary Guy? I didn't because I rationalized that if she was too much of a wienie to talk to him, she was not likely to punch him. And had I really thought she might have a gun, I might have at least followed her to the parking lot to keep an eye on her.

That situation was exacerbated by the book I'm reading: Columbine. It's probably NOT the best book to read, as I did Thursday night, in bed before going to sleep. Definitely not if you have or know teenage kids, or have spent any quality time in a school recently.

However, it did bring about an epiphany of understanding about why a certain architectural feature at Sparky's school freaks me the fuck out. Every time I walk into the building, I shudder, and now I know why--it reminds me of a bit of the blueprint of the area in which most of the killing took place at Columbine. [The design is different enough that now that I know WHY it gives me the wobblies, I can start working on letting go of them.]

Bookending the day was a nice walk from and back to our favorite service station where I had left the Honda to have a lug nut replaced. Beast got a little carried away while fixing the brakes a couple of weeks ago. So I drove it to Bob's in the morning, left the keys, walked to work, and reversed the process at the end of the day. Both walks took place with perfect-in-every-way weather (temperature and humidity were moderate and the sun was shining), and because there was a train at the station on my way to pick up the car there was no traffic as I walked across the street, even though 5 minutes later I could barely drive out of the parking lot.

The capper to the weirdness, I think, is that Beast is the most relaxed I've seen him in months. Which is odd, considering his job situation and the uncertainty around that. On the other hand, the other shoe has dropped. And that, at least, is over.

I'm hoping for Less Weird today. Grocery shopping, weeding, dropping off Sparky's job apps, visiting an elderly friend, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms.... Boring is fun. ;-)

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