Patrons can be invisible. Often, when I’m running round the library doing other tasks besides being on the desk to answer reference questions, I just do not see them. It isn’t because I don’t want to; it is because I’m doing something else.
Sometimes patrons will approach me for help, and I’m happy to help. Other times, I just want to finish what I’m doing, but I help anyways. And other times, I don’t want to help at all (hey, we all have bad days). But this?! This takes the cake.
Patron: (walking up to me) Excuse me.
Me: Yes, how can I help you?
Patron: Do you work here?
Me: (now, every time a patron asks if I work here I get nervous. usually nothing good follows such question). Yes.
Patron: Well, did you not see me over there?
Me: Ma’am, I . . .
Patron: That other person walked right past me too.
Me: I’m sorry, can I help you with something?
Patron: I just don’t understand, I was sitting at the computer like this (points index finger in the air) and no one saw me!
Me: (Yes, no one saw you sitting at a computer with your finger in the air. I got it. If we paid attention to every patron who makes hand motions at computers, we would go insane.) Well, I’m sorry about that, but how can I help you?
Patron: Well, the computer won’t let me on.
Me: (here we go again with what the computer won’t let you do, because you don’t have a hand – or a finger – in it at all!). Let me see. . . . what is your PIN numer?
Me: (Entering 5555 as the PIN number). OK, now the computer is logged in.
Patron: How did you do that?
Me: I have the magic finger.