Conversations in the Library: the pencil
It amazes me sometimes how some patrons will try to treat me as a servant.
An elderly, but entirely mobile, patron came into the library to use our computers. As I walked past him carrying a few books for shelving, he caught my eye and summoned me with a rather imperial wave of his hand. I suddenly felt like a servant girl at a Roman symposium.
“Oh this isn’t going to go well”, my subconscious stated.
My conscious thought was “WTF?!”
Now I readily admit I don’t do well with condescending old men. It all started back when I was 18, not long after starting college at an engineering school. I was at a family gathering when my grandfather’s friend asked me where I was going to college. When I told him, he patted me on the head and said “Oh, husband hunting are we?”. I’ve never seen my mother move so fast. She had me up out of me seat and in another room before I could take a breath to reply.
Any way, back to the story at hand. I calmly approached the patron, while my mind is already flipping through possible responses to any mysogenic comments. He asks me for a pencil.
I pointed to pencil cup on the corner of the circulation desk with a polite smile.
He waited. I blinked at him and walked away. As I walked away, the realization sank in that I wasn’t going to fetch his wished for utensil. The look was one of indignation and irritation. You’d of thought I poured an amphora of wine over his head.