He commented as I put paper in the printer so he could get his print job. I have written about this customer in my previous blogs. He calls me ‘my lady’ but not in a creepy way. He calls me lady in a way that makes me feel almost regal. I feel I should raise my hand and give him a regal wave. I just smile instead while in my head I am waving – regally. You can read about him in this blog .
I just gave a foolish ‘Haha’ and thanked him. Yet as I walked away from the printer, I chuckled. I said in my head, “No sir! You are not getting off that easy. You are the one who asked me a few months ago if I was pregnant. And when I said I was just fat, you were so embarrassed and did not know where to look. You are just trying to get back into my good graces by calling me ageless. I am not falling for that. Moreover, you just saw me yesterday and the day before and the day before that. It is not like you saw me after a long time and realized that I don’t age. But you are still one of my favorites!”
I said all that in my head, of course. He is a regular at the library. I look for him if I don’t see him for a few days and hope he is ok. There are other regulars that have truly become part of my life. Some I talk to everyday while some I don’t. But if I don’t see them for a while I think about them. One gentleman tries very hard to convince me that I should buy stocks in India because the country is doing well and I will make a lot of money. I try equally hard to convince him that I don’t have the head for investments. He is undeterred. One gentleman prefaces his research questions by saying, “You know I am very curious….”. Another man said it meant a lot to him when I greeted him with a hello. He is somewhat passive aggressive to the library workers and I am a little wary of him but I greet everyone with a smile, he was no exception. It was good to hear that it meant something to him that day. We never know what battle each of us are fighting. One woman comes and shows me the salwar kameez that she wears from time to time – a gift from her Indian friends. She is very interested in India and tries to engage me in conversations about the country any chance she gets. Another gentleman finds faults with everything we do and I greet him with an energetic hello every time I see him. He gets a little flustered at my enthusiasm and grunts a hello back at me. I will take it. He needs help with computers sometimes and is actually quite appreciative when I help him. If I can get a smile out of him, I feel like my day is made.
I just wrote about some of the regulars. There are so many small interactions with customers at the library that make me feel connected. These are our wins as library workers. At the end of the day, these interactions are mostly rewarding. There are days when I am frustrated with the red tapes and delayed responses and unnecessary paper work, but interactions with my community – smiles, laughter, talk about books, research questions, book clubs balance out the frustrations. When I take stock of my work life, I realize I still love what I do.
Going back to ‘You don’t age’ – no sir, my favorite customer (and I don’t even know your name), flattery will get you nowhere! 🙂