Could it be I'm not as likable as I like to think I am? Turns out some customers at the library think I'm a jerk. A weird smelly man came stomping down from the second floor and demanded to talk to a manager. That was me, because I look like The Man. Little does he know how small I am on the inside.
We went out to the lobby so Kooky could give me the full force of his kookidity.
"That man took my sandwich and put it in the trash!"
He pointed through the glass. The offender was Jeff, our latch-key patron who was at the library more than I was. He slouched at the circ desk, complaining in turn about my complainer. It was the circle of life. And complaining.
"I'm a taxpayer too!" Kooky yelled into the library.
Jeff ignored him.
"He took my sandwich I had neatly covered and I was going outside to talk on my cell phone to people I need to talk to and I'll press charges and call the police because he went over and took my sandwich and threw it in the trash he just took it and threw it away!"
"Okay. Say that again. He took your sandwich and threw it away?"
"He took my sandwich and threw it away. He threw it away."
I assured Kooky that I would talk to Jeff. The man stormed back upstairs again, and Jeff then proceeded to give me his side of the world-shattering event.
"HA! Is that what he said? No, no, there was no sandwich! I just took a bunch of fluffy paper and threw it away so a gentleman could sit down next to me. It was just fluffy paper."
"Yes! But I'm thinking of suing this guy for defamation. I'm serious, I'll take him to court!"
"Okay, let's calm down. Or not. I have a blog to write."
"Look, that guy has been upstairs eating and talking loud on his phone and he's been waay past his minutes on the computer! Doesn't anyone do anything around here about that?" Jeff leaned in, lowered his voice. "It's Dan, isn't it. He won't do anything. Right?"
That did it. Normally I'm lax about the rules but, feeling that our collective manhood was being challenged, I told Jorel not to extend Kooky's computer time when he asked again. Predictably, an hour later, he charged downstairs and told me he'd been denied.
"Yes," I said, assuming my best bland corporate voice. "We can't give you any more time today. But you can go to another Denver library location and get time there, and you--"
"WHO IS YOUR BOSS. WHO IS YOUR MANAGER!!! WHO IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE LIBRARY!?!? I WANT THEIR NUMBERS AND THEIR EMAILS AND I WANT THE MAYOR'S NUMBER. I'M A TAXPAYER."
I gave the taxpayer his constitutionally guaranteed numbers. Then he was on his phone, pacing around, and at one point he righteously sailed by my desk and squinted at my name badge.
"Yes, his name is Greg..."
Great. Now His Honor knows what a meanie I am.
The next day, Kooky showed up despite his loud declarations that he'd never come back to our library (noooooo) and demanded to speak to Carol. She talked to him, told him he could have as much computer time as he wanted (so much for me being a tough guy), and once the baby had his rattle he was quiet. Later, Jeff came in and he talked with Carol in her office. They were in there for a long time. Carol told me later that he kissed her on the cheek.
Ah yes. The library is a beautiful place for romance... and for sewage.
Our custodian Ty asked me in his lilting Carolinian accent to come down to the basement. There was something he wanted me to see.
"Uh, can you take a picture of it...?"
"No. Come on."
Ty led me down into the bowels of the library. We passed the server and then the furnace and the casks of amontillado. Finally we were at the lift station. Clumpy grayish water was spreading across the concrete floor. The smell was awful.
"What should we do? I cain't clean it all! It's too much...!"
Just then there was a roaring noise--and Ty just managed to dodge the gush of raw sewage exploding from a pipe.
We both ran upstairs and told everyone not to flush the toilets. And then we got everyone out of the building. We had to close.
"You can't close!" yelled Kooky. "I'M A TAXPAYER!!! WAAAAH!!!"
I want a raise.