There’s an old Southern saying that goes: “Hush up or go outside, I’m watching my stories!” It was Grandma Banned’s way of telling us to play outside or she would make us find a her a switch. I think a lot more people out there would benefit from being told to be quiet or sending them out of the room.
Not an acceptable switch.
Case in point, Dave the IT/Tech Serv guy. As I
, we have had a little hiccup in our computer system. Okay, maybe more than a hiccup, it turns out. Possibly a bit of a stroke. As Dave described it to me: “Our system is screwed.” When I calmly told him to fix it, he responded with a request for money. I retorted with a lack of money. He saw my retort and raised me a rebuttal. I called his rebuttal and blew a raspberry at him, the classic defense when no common ground can be found.
Did you know the human face can turn not only red, but various shades of red? I am not what you would call a student of human nature, but that’s kinda cool.
So Dave had a hissy fit, complaining about our lack of funding, following up with comments on the age of our equipment, and finishing with a rather complete description as to which level of hell our Board of Directors hails from. Honestly, I was impressed at his theological knowledge.
Then I told him to hush. Not in those words, but I let him vent then gave him my peace. There is no money, so there is nothing we can do. We should hear about the grant for new computer equipment any day now. Good or no, we need to get through today. Dave asked about tomorrow. I told him I hoped for the Rapture. I do not think his Souther Baptist upbringing allowed him to laugh at that, but he did calm down. I can only hope for better results half the time.
Speaking of time, because Betty has boycotted storytime due to my notes on
, I had to do the morning story time this week. I picked a good book,
Harold and the Purple Crayon
, and set out to entertain the five to six regulars that show up for Tuesday/Thursday morning story time. Then the problems started.
I am not going to rant about parents that can not control their children. It has been done. Old hat. Go somewhere else for that. Seriously, take your child and leave the library. I will wait.
That is the basic conversation I had with the mom heckling me while her child was running holy terror around the building . On Tuesday, when Betty was doing her avant garde comedy routine, the two of them sat in a corner and read, enjoying their company. My interpretation of the classic
Harold and the Purple Crayon
invited critism, however.
“You should do a voice.”
“Louder. I can’t hear you.”
“Do you always read then show the picture?”
“I made poop.”
I will let you take a guess as to which of those were mom’s comments and which were her child’s.
Now, I can take criticism. I know am not good at story time. I have made no effort to get better. This is how Superman made me and dog gone it this is how I am going to stay. But I can at least get through a children’s book without the whole thing going down in flames.
Finally, the mother and son’s comments began to gain the ire of not only me, but the other parents and kids in the sharing circle. Since this is a communal environment, I decided the tribe had spoken with their eyebrows and asked if she could please stop commenting so I could get through the book. That’s right, I broke the fourth wall, but what was I to do?
She looked shocked, but we managed as a group to get over her amazement and find out just what Harold was up to with that purple crayon. As the group dispursed to get their books for the weekend, the mom intercepted me on my way to my office.
“My name is Ava. I don’t appreciate being embarrassed like that,” she said.
“My name is Evan. I don’t give a shit and hope you die with a stain on your underwear,” I wanted to say, but really said, “I did not mean to embarrass you, and I apologize if I did.”
I attempted to disconnect and go back to my office cocoon, but she placed a hand on my shoulder.
“I bring my child here to teach him, to teach him that the library is important and that reading is fun and asking questions is important. How am I going to homeschool my child if the librarian’s here will not foster his creativity?”
“Ma’am, your child is taking candy from strangers and eating paint that I am fairly certain is lead based,” I should have said, but really said, “We thank you for coming to the library and hope you keep coming back, but we must make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. If you feel the need to comment on story time, please do so after and not during. Again, I apologize and hope you continue to enjoy the library.”
“I still think you should use voices and speak up more,” she said.
“I made poop,” her child said.
“Duly noted,” I said, and went into my office, closed the door and turned on my stories.
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