Shush me once, shame on me.
Shush me twice, shame on you.
Shush me a third time and there’s a really good chance I’m going to break your nose.
Last night I was working on a very long, very drawn-out, very boring shifting project in the basement of the Hayden Library.
Essentially we’re taking all of the old, dusty journals off the shelf. Then we load ‘em up on a cart and wheel ‘em over two aisles. Then we take those same old, dusty journals and we put ‘em right back on a different shelf.
In the end—if all goes correctly—this should give the Hayden basement a couple hundred extra feet to work with. It’s kind of a piddly reward when you consider what a pain in the ass it is, but at least I’m getting an extra five hours a week on my paycheck.
Sadly, I’ll do just about any grunt-work the libraries throw at me if it means I can pad my paycheck a little more. I know all of my Faithful Readers have seen that in action a time or two before in the sleepless, ass-rambling chronicles that make-up my “Dear Diary” series.
Anyway, so I was over there shifting for maybe an hour or so. I wasn’t completely sick of it yet and I still had plenty of Red Bull, cold water and a fully-charged iPod. All was good and then this nerd comes over to me because apparently I’m making too much noise.
Nerd: “Um…excuse me. You’re being pretty loud. Do you think you can keep it down? Some friends and I are trying to study.”
NotNerd: “I’ll try, but I’m moving around a bunch of heavy books and metal shelves, I can’t really guarantee anything…”
Nerd: “Thank you.”
NotNerd: “No probs, Dude.”
With that the nerd walked off and returned to his nerd-hive to continue their study session. At first, I thought about running to a computer to blog about how I’d just encountered a nerd who sounded so much like Steve Urkel that I was a little freaked out.
Instead, I carried on with my shifting and even made a conscious effort to try and keep down the noise. For roughly the next hour I kept shifting these old journals. By the end of that second hour I was out of Red Bull and my back was starting to hurt. I’d also had about a dozen different people come and ask me for help locating books.
That’s all well and good, but I don’t actually work in the Hayden Library. I know where the journals are…because I’m shifting them…and that’s about it. I’m pretty sure there are some comic books on the second floor, but I’m not entirely sure. I tried to explain this to people, but they saw me with a cart and immediately assumed I was Mr. Hayden, proprietor of the library, and I was just dying to help them find the Dan Brown book they were looking for.
Needless to say by the end of hour number two I was getting a little pissy. That’s when I got a tap on my shoulder.
Nerd: “Hi again. Just wanted to ask you one more time if you could keep it down.”
NotNerd: **BLANK STARE**
Nerd: “One of the people in my group is getting a headache and she thinks it is because of all the noise you’re making.”
NotNerd: “Maybe y’all should move your study group.”
Nerd: “No, we always study in the basement. So if you could just keep it down.”
NotNerd: “Dude, it’s about as quiet as it’s gonna get. I’m moving heavy books and metal shelves. They make noise. That’s how it works.”
Nerd: “Do you think maybe you could just stop?”
NotNerd: “Stop working?”
NotNerd: **BLANK STARE**
Nerd: “So you’ll stop?”
NotNerd:: “No. No I will not stop working.”
Nerd: “Okay, well if you could just try to keep it down.”
NotNerd: **BLANK STARE**
Again he walked off and returned to mumble something to the others that caused them all to look up at me in unison. It was a look that was dripping with disdain and perhaps a little bit of pee in their pants. It’s hard to tell really.
Another two and a half hours passed and I was down to the final half-hour of shifting. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I was also getting pretty sick of the whole ordeal.
I was long-since out of Red Bull. I’d run out of water and was forced to refill my bottle from a faucet that was lukewarm and had an odd aftertaste of feet. My iPod had died nearly half an hour earlier, I was dripping with sweat, my knees and back were killing me and, to top it all off, I had cut my hand open on one of the metal shelves.
My shirt was covered in blood and sweat and dust. My hand was still all covered in blood and I was pretty much ready to set the library on fire when I felt another tap on my shoulder.
Nerd: “Hey there, my friend says her headache is getting really bad.”
Nerd: “Well I’m going to have to ask you to quit now.”
Nerd: “Yes. Quit. Quit working or quit making noise. Whatever you have to do to be quiet.”
NotNerd: “Dude, if her headache is that bad, go somewhere else.”
Nerd: “No, I told you, we always study here.”
NotNerd: “Dude, I don’t give a rat’s ass where you study. This is a loud job. I’m going to make noise. Deal with it.”
Nerd: “Well if you could just be quiet it wouldn’t be a pro…”
NotNerd: “Dude, I’m not gonna be quiet. I’ve been shucking books back and forth for four and a half hours. It’s noisy. It’s been noisy the entire time. I’m sweaty, I’m sore, I’m pissed off and I’m bleeding. Do you really think I care that I’m being a little noisy?!”
At the mention of blood, the nerd takes a gander at my bloody hand and then looks at my bloody shirt and then looks me in the eyes—which based on his reaction, I’m assuming were crazed—and he just quits talking and power-walks back to his group.
He quickly mumbled something to them and again they all looked back in my direction. This time it was definitely a look of “we just collectively wet ourselves” and they all packed up their things and left the basement.
Satisfied with myself…I wrapped some paper towels around my hand to stop the bleeding and then spent the next half-hour working at a very slow, very quiet pace…simply because I could.