July 26, 2010
The Public Library: Part I
One afternoon every week, our public library shows a different animated movie in their auditorium.
Coincidentally, I happened to be in the library with my kids just before one of the movies was scheduled to start. When my kids saw the faux movie theater (auditorium + folding chairs + pull down screen) they turned into hyenas.
"Can we go? Can we go? Please can we go?"
I asked the librarian who was checking people in at the door if they had space for five more. She scanned the near empty room and then studied her clipboard. There were 13 names on her print out.
"I might be able to squeeze you in," she told me with a straight face.
"Great!" I said and gestured for my kids to enter the room.
"Wait!" the woman said, holding up her hand to stop us. "I need you to officially sign up for the event."
"OK," I replied and pulled a pen out of my purse. "What and where do I sign?"
"You have to sign up online."
"Is that really necessary?" I asked.
The woman used the words "critical" and "essential" in her reply.
"Can't I just add our names to the list that's right in front of you?"
Evidently, no I could not. I had to log onto the Internet from my cell phone to add my family into an online shopping basket on the library's website. (Important side note: I did all of this while standing five feet away from the librarian)
"We just went live with our online registration system," the librarian told me when I was done.
"I never would have guessed that," I replied.
"We're very excited about it," she continued.
"Mmmm Hmmmm," I hummed.
If you can't say something nice, it's best not to say anything at all.
I tried again to get my kids through the door. By then, the movie had already started.
"Did you print out your confirmation number?" the librarian asked.
I tried to stay calm.
"I'll let you in this time," she lectured. "But next time, you really need to bring your confirmation slip with you."
I told her that I would try...but I didn't say how hard.