Everywhere you go, there are rules. When you drive to get there, there are rules. There are rules that are invisible: that society imposes upon us and that we (well, at least those amongst us that have some upbringing and are not totally blind to the necessity of giving at least a minutia of respect to our fellow humans) follow out of necessity to prevent ourselves from getting punched in the face, shot, screamed at, or told about how terrible our mother’s are; and, there are other rules that we follow because we do not want to get in any sort of trouble, like not going back to the coke dispenser in McDonald’s because you’re only supposed to go once and going back is stealing (we NEVER do that, ever, promise!).
And then there are the rules at the library. One of them is that there is no running in the library. Another of them, and a derivative, is that there is no skating in the library.
Me: [to a child who is skating on their sneaker/skates] No skating please, don’t use your skates in the library.
Patron: [parent of child] what skates?
Me: The sneaker skates. (do not even get me started on those skate/sneaker contraptions that some genius inventor created who is no doubt super rich now but who did not even consider the ramifications of making something that would permit those who are already unable to balance the ability to do something that will cause them to fall and/or roll into others and/or be generally annoying to everyone else except themselves, and, of course, their lovely parents.)
Me: [to child who stopped skating] Thank you.
Now, at this point, I continue to shelve, because I’m done. the child stopped skating, and that’s all I needed. really. actually, I didn’t even need it. what do I care if the child falls on his face? I would probably laugh. No, seriously, that would be bad. Because we (there’s that universal “we” again . . .) could get sued.
Patron: You know, if you are going to complain about something, you should tell these other people to be quiet because this is a really loud library.
Me: Yes, well, if you could just let us know when . . . (you are being disturbed, then we will be happy to let you go and study in the meeting room because this is a library, that is true, but this is now becoming more of a community center, and people talk and talk and the children play video games . . . remember the one about the lady gabbing about her baby daddy?. . . . but you didn’t let me finish! . . .
Patron: No, if I’m going to complain I’m going to complain to a manger.
Me: (well, I’m in charge right now, so that would be me, so hahahahahaha!) Ok.
Patron: You should just tell people to shut up.
Patron: If you are going to self-correct my child, then you need to self-correct all these loud people because this is a really loud library. It is not my responsibility to complain if it is noisy, because I will just complain up higher, not to you.
Me: (trying to hold back snikers for the impending request to speak to a manager . . . hahaha! I don’t say anything, and then . . . )
Patron: So before you self-correct my child, you need to self-correct all these other kids that are loud on the computers.
I don’t get to say anything in response, because her phone rings, and she picks it up and begins a conversation in the middle of the main echoing hallway of the library, at which point I continue to shelve.
I guess she is right, it is really loud in this library.