Whilst giving all y’all a rundown of the special, special people I meet on Saturdays you’ve been witness to people who are a) just sort of clueless assholes and b) just sort of clueless assholes about technology.
My third run-in of the day was with a dude who was a combination of both.
Lemme set the scene for all y’all…
This dude meanders in with two or three big ole bags, one of which contains a laptop. He makes plenty of noise on the way in, because he’s a noisy guy. He says hi or tries to make awkward small talk with just about everyone he passes and then sprawls all of his crap out in the corner of the computer cluster.
Now, I should let you know this guy is pretty notorious for this type of behavior. He first showed up a few weeks back—on a Saturday, of course—to check out the library. Since then he’s shown up once every other week or so, seemingly to use the library as his office.
He’ll usually Bogart a couple of computers at a time, whilst pecking away on his laptop, he’ll make loud phone calls, he’ll waste my time asking dozens and dozens of pointless questions about the copy machine, etc, etc, etc…
He is, however, completely harmless. You tell him to stop hogging computers and he’ll stop. You tell him to take his loud-ass phone call into the lobby, he’ll do it. He’s really just an annoying pain in the ass—or PITA, as the kids say—more than anything.
Anyway, it’s him. He’s here. He’s going through is usual mumbo jumbo when suddenly he flips out.
PITA: “SIR. EXCUSE ME. SIR. SIR. SIR. SIR. SIR!!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: *sigh* “Yes?!”
PITA: “THE COMPUTERS!!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “…yeah?! What about them?!”
PITA: “THEY’RE BROKEN!!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: *sigh* “…broken?!”
At this point, I got out of my chair and wandered over to see what the hell he was talking about.
Two of the computers—the two near the corner where he usually sets up camp—were both without power.
PITA: “SEE THEY’RE BROKEN!! I DIDN’T DO IT!! THEY WERE LIKE THIS!!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Calm down…”
PITA: “Okay…but the are broken. THEY’RE BROKEN!!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Right…lemme take a peek at ‘em.”
I crawled around on the floor for a bit and flipped some power switches and unplugged and replugged the power strip. You know, all of things that the non-IT crowd is sanctioned to do with computerized equipment.
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Yeah, looks like these two are out of order.”
PITA: “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!?!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “…it just means you’ll have to use another computer.”
PITA: “I LIKE THESE COMPUTERS!!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Calm down. The other computers are just fine. These two are out of order.”
PITA: “TRY AGAIN?!?!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Try what again?”
PITA: “FIX THE COMPUTERS!!!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Calm down. I’ll try again…”
I got down on my hands and knees again—and my knees DO NOT appreciate me pulling a stunt like this once, but twice within ten minutes, I’m just happy they didn’t go into a full-on mutiny—and did the exact same routine.
*FLIP SWITCH* …nothing
*UNPLUG, REPLUG* …nothing
*HOLD POWER BUTTON* …nothing
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Yeah, they’re down for the count, you’ll have to use a different computer.”
PITA: “TRY AGAIN?!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “No, no…twice was enough. They’re not going to work. There are four other open computers just use one of them.”
PITA: “Why can’t you fix it?!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “…because I’m not an IT-guy.”
PITA: “Can you get one?”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “No, it’s a Saturday. I’m the only one here.”
PITA: “So you should fix it?!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “No…no…I can’t fix it. I don’t know how to fix it. That’s for people who make a lot more money than me.”
PITA: “You want me to pay you to fix it?!”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “No. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying that the people who do fix computers aren’t here today. They’re at home.”
PITA: “Can you call them? Emergency?”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “No…this isn’t an emergency. There are four other computers. Just use one of them.”
It was at this point that I was reaching what is commonly referred to as “the breaking point.”
I’d been talking in circles with this ridiculously loud, hyper dude for like 15 minutes. I realize there is a language barrier as English clearly isn’t his first—or maybe even second or third—language, but I thought I’d made things pretty clear that he’d need to use another computer.
Anyway, I printed off a few “Out of Order” signs to hang on the computers and when I went to hang them on the computers he was still standing where I’d left him.
PITA: “Did you fix them? Are they working now?”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “What?! No, I just printed signs saying they’re not working.”
PITA: “So they’re still broken?”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Yes.”
I hung the signs and went back to the circulation desk.
I checked out a few books to another patron when he came shuffling up to the desk.
PITA: “Which computer is best?”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Huh?!”
PITA: “Which computer is best? Which one should I use?”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “They’re all the same. They’ve all got the same software and everything. Just use any of them.”
He took this statement literally and went and sat down at one of the out of order computers and began mashing the power button.
This is where I was mumbling something along the lines of areyoufuckingkiddingmehowdoesthisshitonlyhappenwhenimherealone under my breath as I got up to try and explain—once more—that he couldn’t use those computers.
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Dude…these are out of order. You know that.”
PITA: “You said I could use any of them.”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Any of the ones that aren’t out of order.”
He then got up and started pointing at various computers and looking at me for acknowledgement as to whether or not he could use each one. I told him no, he couldn’t use either of the broken ones. No, he couldn’t use the one another patron was on. Yes, he could use EVERY OTHER COMPUTER.
He nodded, bowed, and thanked me.
I turned to go back to the desk and he stopped me in my tracks…
PITA: “…but which one is best?!”
I took a minute to daydream before turning around—at which point, I fully intended to strangle him to death—and all I could think about was a blog post I’d written about a year ago.
It was a debate about what was worse Zombies or Library Crazies.
I’m on a bit of a zombie-kick right now, so I’ve been prone to claim zombies are the most bad-ass creatures ever, but if I had to put this debate back up for discussion…I really think I’d say the library crazies are worse.
Anyway, after a moment of clarity—and briefly imagining a zombie ripping this dude to shreds—I knew there was only one way to handle the situation.
I turned around and said…
Strung-Out Cap’n: “That one. That one is the best. Use it. It’s the best.”
He got all super giddy and then went about his business sending emails and looking up Jebus-knows-what for an hour or so before getting up to leave. Although on his way out the door he stopped to tell me something…
PITA: “I forgot that I unplugged cords.”
Strung-Out Cap’n: “Huh?!”
PITA: “On the computers. I pulled cords.”
I walked with him over to the computers where I found that he’d unplugged the power cord from the back of each of the two “broken” machines. Why, I don’t know. He just smiled and left.
I plugged in the power cords and then flipped the switch on the power strip and all was right with the world. Both computers fired right up.
Forty-five minutes later I closed the library.
It’s been a long damn day.