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Houston, we have a problem - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
Houston, we have a problem
Okay, fess up, can anybody out there look at this and not want to start with, "I am Jack's aran cardigan"...?

Tuesday was once again knitting-guild night at Sulzer, and this time I decided to head out early enough to investigate that library's knitting section, since the guild makes regular contributions to it. As usual for the CPL, the reality left something to be desired; but I did find one book that appeared to be worth further study, and after some thought I took that volume and a book on Chicago's bungalows down to the circulation desk to check them out.

Now, I use my CPL card maybe once every two or three years, because that's about how long it takes the memory of the Horror That Is Browsing The CPL to fade; for my regular book-devouring purposes, I spring for an annually renewed paid-nonresident privilege at the Evanston library, not least because it's actually more convenient to where I live. When I first signed up for this program, it was the practice of Evanston's system to merely affix its barcode to the back of one's resident card from another local system, such as the CPL, and that became one's Evanston fee-card.

Apparently they never mentioned this to the CPL system.

The guy at the desk, whom I would guess as high-functioning Down's syndrome and very literal-minded, saw the Evanston barcode on the back of my CPL card and started taking exception. As in, we don't allow CPL cards to be defaced this way, we've never allowed CPL cards to be defaced this way, you'll have to get Evanston to issue you a proper Evanston card, and by the way I am not giving you this one back.

{Enraged spluttering from library patron.}

He starts trying to peel the Evanston sticker off the back of my CPL card. Can't get it off. Gets really insistent that the physical card is property of the CPL and must be surrendered upon demand.

{Further enraged spluttering. Point is raised that said sticker costs actual money and I am damn well going to have it back if it's over his dead body.}

And he gets out scissors --

You know those scenes in movies about the French Foreign Legion where some poor sod has his epaulettes ripped off before being drummed out of the service? Well, that's what it feels like to watch your library card having the heart cut out of it. Considering that I damn near qualify for frequent-flyer miles on the thing, at least at the Place of the Unauthorized Sticker, it's a miracle I didn't grab the scissors and turn them on him in my frenzy of grief and financial angst. I must have looked like I was about to, though, because then he finally called over his supervisor to arbitrate. According to her, yes, they officially Disapprove of the way Evanston piggybacked its way onto my CPL card, but the more accepted procedure would have been to refuse to checkout the current items and give me back the card to take back to Evanston to correct the situation before surrendering the CPL card. But done is done, after all...

In the end, I went away with a new CPL card and an inch-by-half-inch scrap of plastic with the offending Evanston barcode still affixed to it, since after all that was by their own logic Evanston's property to take back and mutilate at their whim and they couldn't reasonably seize that part with the rest of the card. Oh, and another reason to despise the Chicago Public Library, as if I needed another reason. God knows how I'm going to explain this to Evanston on Saturday -- I think they know me well enough that it shouldn't be a big problem, especially considering that the entire fiasco is their own damn fault in the first place, but as a worrier by nature I'm inevitably spinning myself dire scenarios... {twitches at thought of having library service interrupted}

At least the knitting meeting went well. (I might have caused an even bigger Scene if it weren't for the fact that I was in Sulzer in the first place for a different reason than their books.) In a show-offy mood, I'd packed up the latest gloves I'm finishing up as my take-along-to-work-on-and-flaunt project for the month, and the resultant boggled compliments went quite a ways toward assuaging my hurt and outrage at the violent death of my library card. Still, I walked all the way home in a fog of lingering annoyance and worry, and was very surprised to be home already when I got in, because it didn't seem like it had taken me long enough. (Also I'm not as stiff today as I was the first time I walked home all the way from Sulzer, so perhaps I'm merely getting into shape?) Very tempted to simply move to Evanston and have done with all the idiotic shenanigans...

Oh, yeah, and a couple of blocks from my house an odd old man with a rottweiler said "You're stupendous" as I walked by, leaving my paranoid little brain to wonder if he took me for a lady of the evening, or was actually talking to the dog. Time to move out of this freakshow neighborhood, man...

Tags: ,
feeling: incensed and traumatized

4 responses | moved to respond?
karenb2 From: karenb2 Date: September 22nd, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)

Oh, FFS!

I've had many great interactions with librarians at numerous CPL branches, and no one ever so much as blinked at the stickers there--from Evanston and Des Plaines. (Des Plaines lets nonresidents take out quite a few things, which I took advantage of for purposes of trivia.) I must say that this idiot you spoke to must either be an idiot, off his meds, or both.

Yes, but if you move to Evanston you'll have to deal with all the other nutters who live there and aren't quite so tolerant (or, if you ask me) or as interesting as city folk.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: September 23rd, 2005 12:37 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)

Re: Oh, FFS!

Yes, but if you move to Evanston you'll have to deal with all the other nutters who live there and aren't quite so tolerant (or, if you ask me) or as interesting as city folk.

Idunno, I could do without some of my current Idiot Neighbors' idea of being 'interesting'... (we've got one now who not only fights with her SO in front of open windows until all hours, but sounds like she's beating on her kid(s). Going to mention it to Landlady at next opportunity because I'm tired of wondering whether I should call the cops, not to mention having to listen to it day in and day out.)
febrile From: febrile Date: September 22nd, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
Methinks said librarian needs a reminder in who exactly the patron is.

My mother would have had his ass and made him look dumb in front of the board, too.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: September 23rd, 2005 12:43 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
My mother would have had his ass and made him look dumb in front of the board, too.

If he hadn't been visibly Developmentally Disabled in some manner, I would have made a better show of handing him his ass, too... but then again, if he hadn't, the entire incident might not have happened in the first place. I mean, good for him that he's out there and holding down a job, but you would think even the CPL's mindless bureaucracy could have mustered the foresight to train him to call the supervisor at the first sign of trouble...
4 responses | moved to respond?