In the Bleak Midwinter

On Friday, we were enjoying cookies and conversation during the office holiday potluck, when a man walked briskly to the door, pulled on our push doors, and when it failed to open, stormed back off the way he came. I put down my snickerdoodle, hurried over to the door, and asked him if he needed some help. He said he was looking for the copy card machine because he needed to make copies and was told that it was to the right of the stairs.

He was pretty far from his destination - I quickly took in his aura of frustration and impatience, a lethal combination that spells doom and destruction to the hope of accomplishing any task easily and quickly. I offered to take him there. As we walked back towards the dispenser, he said that he'd just wanted to copy 6 pages of a book to put on Reserve. I sympathized and told him that you always run into difficulty when you think you have something simple to do that'll only take a few minutes. We found the dispenser, to the right of the stairs leading down to the Lower Level. "I'd never have thought of these stairs!" he said. I helped him get his card, then escorted him down to the copy machine.

"Everything changes in the library so quickly these days, you have to work here to keep track of it all," he said, more to vent his frustration than to complain. He was already starting to calm down. I laughed, "Even those of us who work here have a hard time keeping up!" I said, thinking that I'd looked first for the copy machine by ILL, no longer there, with a forlorn cord hanging from the outlet.

I showed him how to use the copy card, helped him copy his pages, collect everything back up again, and we headed back upstairs. As I left him to head back to my snickerdoodle, he said "Have a happy holiday! You've helped make mine a little better."

I smiled back at him, "Happy Holidays!"

18 Dec 07