Sunday, February 18, 2007

I am Insensitive to Coma Victims

a woman came in today asking for a movie. i found said movie in our catalog, told her we could order it for her, then asked her if she'd like it on dvd or vhs.

she looked at me in utter shock, as i had spoken in unknown tongues and had slowly begun to levitate from my chair.

"what?" she asked, completely perplexed. "i don't know what you mean."

i continue, as if speaking to a sane person, "you know, do you want the movie on dvd or on a vhs tape?"

total confusion. silence. then, "well, what's the difference?"

i explain that dvds are discs and are played in dvd players and vhs tapes are cassettes played in vcrs.

"oh," she says, with slight recognition of what i am talking about. "they're the squares that get played in the boxes, right?"

breathe. pray for patience. "um, they're played in vcrs if that's what you mean by boxes."

"well how do i know which one i need?"

am i really having this conversation? "well, do you have a dvd player or do you have a vcr?"

she looks at me with disdain as if i've asked if she owns something very modern and extravagant, as if i've asked her if she owns a jet pack.

"i don't have anything like that" she tells me.

"well then you won't be able to watch the movie."

"you won't order it for me?!"

i try to explain that i can order it for her, but that if she doesn't have a vcr or a dvd player then there's no way to watch it.

"you won't just give me something to watch the movie on?" she asks.

as i explain the typical avenues for procurring a dvd player, i wonder if this woman is a time traveller from the past. maybe she has happened upon the library and doesn't understand the crazy ways of our contemporary society. then it comes to me that the only truly reasonable explanation is that this woman has just awoken from a thirty year coma. of course she doesn't know what a vcr is, she just wants to catch up on all the cinema that she's missed, and here i am standing in her way. i should have been nicer to her....our world is shocking and new to her and she needs to be eased in gently.


Bianca said...

ohmygod i almost peed my pants reading that story. only in new york!!!

anywhere else you'd be making that up.

i'm skipping my nonfiction writing class tonight. bad me. i didn't write anything. i was supposed to write something about an impossible situation. i'm going to try it now. your story has inspired me.

Bianca said...

keith says if she didn't know the difference it was probably a vhs that she wanted.