For some reason patrons often assume I am related to the loud man who guards the gate to the Emerald City and says nobody sees the Wizard no way no how and then magically changes his mind after awhile. That if they only give me a betrayed look or condescending smile, I will eventually see reason then I will swiftly find whatever it is they originally wanted whether it is available or not.
An old lady, for example, will pat my hand as she says she knows I’ll find her book even if the book she wants literally does not exist. As if now it is all up to me somehow and if I fail, I will be obligated to write a new cat mystery for her.
A boy will come back and ask about Naruto 50 which is due out in February. He will seem miserable to learn that the publication date has not changed since the last time he asked and the last time he asked will always have been “Yesterday.”
A woman will ask me how to make a special sort of document or restore something on her computer. When I don’t know how she’ll come back later to ask again in a nicer tone or get really indignant explaining that this is my job and I should solve her problem. As if this will change my technological abilities.
Another woman looking frazzled and worn with three kids will come in for a chick lit book. And even when it becomes obvious that the book is missing, she’ll keep waiting for me to find it. I’ll get a suspicious look as she leaves.
An older man will ask me how to make a website. I will find him books and he’ll look at them and say he wants me to tell him how to. When I explain that it would a) take forever and b) not be very helpful since I don’t know how to make a website for his real estate company, he’ll keep coming back again and again with small questions about the computer. And then stare at me funny. As if we both know I’m keeping something from him.
A girl will ask about a book by an author who I have never heard of. When we can’t find anything she’ll be all upset and angry as if I secretly know what she’s talking about and am simply refusing to tell her.
I wonder… Do people always assume the librarian helping them is lying or lazy? Do they take one look at me and decide this is all a test? More importantly, who has convinced them that all librarians are some diabolical combination of Gandalf the Grey, Albus Dumbledore and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and will only help them once the go on an epic quest to learn that the answer they’re looking for was inside of them all along?
Most days I remain convinced that patrons actually meet up and discuss how to convince me to share my secret knowledge with them. The old lady insists that there’s a special way of patting my hand that will magically open up a portal I have hidden behind the desk. Then the little boy insists that that asking me a question three or four times will eventually persuade me to let them see into the magical realm where I keep Naruto 50, the old lady’s cat book, and all the answers to that old man’s internet-related queries.
In all honestly, I wish I did have a magical realm where I kept these things. I’m sure I’d get less questions if I grinned manically, slapped my knee, and told them that well then that was a horse of a different color so they might as well come on in to get what they wanted.