Wednesday, August 8, 2007

i heart buses

i think i may have mentioned how glorious my new commute is. but today when i got on the bus which i conveniently catch ride outside my house, it was filled with people. usually it's empty. then we get on the bqe and it is bumper to bumper traffic and everything is chaos. so i wind up getting to work 20 minutes late, but instead of people being mad, everyone is thrilled that i showed up at all. (who wouldn't love it here?) turns out that all the subways in brooklyn and queens are flooded and everyone that takes a subway to work can't come in. oooooh, my fabulous bus commute saves the day! i am left in charge of the children's room! so in honor of buses i would like to tell you all a story of one of my all-time favorite patrons to hate ... the bus lady.
when i worked at albany public, there were many patrons that used the bus system. it was a pretty decent bus system. many people didn't have cars and were able to use buses as their primary source of transportation. so one day this woman came in, probably in her sixties, and started yelling at me that "they" hadn't put up her flyer. she was wearing a ratty old coat and a see-through purple plastic rain bonnet. the piece de resistance of this ensemble was a handmade embroidered pin that read "i heart buses." oh, how i learned to dread when i saw that pin.
so as she approached the desk, i noticed that my other co-workers all seemed to take a large step back, leaving me to help this woman. turns out she headed a "bus group" who met once a month to discuss various bus issues. and she wanted to know why her bus group flyers weren't posted yet. because really, if the public knew in advance about this bus group she was certain that many many more members would be flooding the group. breaking down the doors even.
i explained calmly and rationally that the library had to approve all flyers before they were posted and that they were approved in the order they are received. her flyer at the time was on the bottom of the pile. so she went off in a huff.
i soon learned that she was a regular, and few days she would come in with a bus related complaint. "is the meeting room reserved for my bus meeting?" she'd ask. "i called last week to reserve it."
"yes, it's still reserved for you."
"where are my flyers? why aren't you promoting my group?"
and every month on and on about the flyers and the important work her group was doing. everything else going on in the library paled in comparison to the urgentness of the bus group.
but my favorite encounter with her was one cold snowy day in december she came up to the desk and asked if we'd be open on christmas. i told her no, we would be closed christmas eve and christmas day.
"christmas eve and christmas day," she said, appalled. "why do you need to be closed both days?"
"we hardly ever close ma'am," i told her, which was true. there were only a handful of holidays the library actually closed on.
"where will the people go?!"
"ummm," i said, kinda confused. "i guess they'll just have to stay home those days? maybe with their families?"
"that's not right!" she screamed, then stormed off. i believe i shouted "happy holidays" at her as she skulked away into the sunset.
this probably isn't funny, but it's kind of funny ... years later, a friend of mine emailed me to tell me that the bus lady was hit by a bus. ironic, no?

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