The library is open for an hour and 40 minutes before school starts on "late start" days. This is a LOOONG stretch of time with anywhere from 30 to 70 kids in here, doing various things. Usually the last 15 minutes before the bell rings is devoted to massive print jobs shuttling through our one little black & white printer, and my one color printer in the back room. During that rush you can hear the printer literally groaning with effort, paper after paper scraping it raw on the way out.

     This morning these two nice little girls showed up, obviously their first visit to the library. They seemed very young and timid, probably 9th grade. They only spoke Spanish, and were trying to find out how to print, and how much it cost, etc. Luckily, as is usually the case, there was another student nearby who jumped in to help as translator. 

     Turns out the two new girls needed COLOR printing, which involves an extra step (emailing or "sharing" via Google Docs), which turned out to be difficult to explain, even with the help of Awesome Translator Girl. We had them pull up the pictures they needed printed, and Translator Girl tried to help them email the pics to me. Part of my mind registered what the pictures were, but I was in total practical mode, since there were about 10 other kids lining up at the counter while we were trying to help these poor new girls.

     Our first attempt failed, and in my panic as more and more kids were lining up at the main counter, I logged out of my own computer at my desk, and just had the girls use that. We had them log in and pull up the pictures they needed printed in color. When the "print preview" popped up, Translator Girl asked the two timid girls if that was indeed the way they needed the pictures printed. As we all stood there around my desk, staring at the computer screen, I realized that the pictures were giant full-color diagrams of:





     But like I said, that line at the library counter wasn't getting any shorter, and shit needed to get done. So I was like, "Is that it? Is that how you want these printed?"

     The timid girls indicated that no, they actually needed each picture printed on a separate sheet. So then I had to take over completely and save the vagina, the penis, and the pics of their respective environs to my computer, then insert them into a word doc, each in glorious full-color on its own page.

     Finally when the pages were printed, I ran into the back room to grab them from the color printer, then dashed back out to the desk where there were now about a million kids all waiting for various things. I got the attention of the two timid girls and held up THE VAGINA, THE PENIS, THE MALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM, and THE FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM.

     "Is this right? Is this how you wanted them?" I asked.

     After they paid and left, I gave Translator Girl several good behavior raffle tickets we use here as part of a rewards system.

     Hopefully the two timid new girls won't be so humiliated by the experience that they never return to the library.


     Yesterday at work I had two spaz episodes I thought I'd capture in words.
     The first was whilst I was in the bathroom, on the toilet.
     Don't worry, it's not THAT kind of incident. But let me explain that the bathroom adjacent to the library is of the one-seater unisex variety. One toilet, one urinal. There's a sliding sign on the outside that you switch to "OCCUPIED" before going in and locking the door. The real problem is that since this bathroom is between a classroom and the library, once in a while, even though they're not supposed to, a student will use that bathroom. So it's VERY important to use the "OCCUPIED" sign and lock the door.
     I live in fear that I'll THINK I've locked the door, but it won't really be locked. Even if I'm in the stall, I will peek out several times just to make sure the latch on the bathroom door is clearly in the locked position. I get totally OCD about it.
     So yesterday I was sitting there on the toilet doing my business and the STALL DOOR swung open.
     It flashed through my mind that I must have forgotten to lock the bathroom door, and someone had walked right in and opened the stall door. My hand shot out lightning-fast to jam the stall door shut with a bang so hard it made the stall wall reverberate hard enough to knock something off the wall. Whatever it was clattered onto my head and I thought the sky was falling and my public social ruination was all happening at once.
     I honestly don't recall what I said or yelped, probably just some defensive animal sound. I know it wasn't anything as sensible and calm as, "I'm in here!" or just, "Occupied!"
     In the frozen moment afterward I slowly grabbed the fallen thing off my head. The cardboard dispenser of tissue seat covers. My eyes were wide, my breath stopped. I peered between the door and the stall wall, fearing to see a sliver of some student already tweeting the incident on their iPhone. Mr. Kovac on the toilet, pants down, nearly knocked unconscious by tissue paper seat covers.
     I slowly eased the unlatched stall door open to find the bathroom empty, the main door indeed locked. I realized I had merely forgotten to latch the STALL door securely, and it had merely come completely unlatched and creaked open. I was still blessedly alone in the bathroom.
     But I had made a banging, clattering ruckus in there, and I'm sure someone in the classroom just a few feet away must have heard it. My heart thundered with narrowly-avoided shame for minutes afterward.  
     The second incident was when I was leaving for the day, passing by a few students hard at work at one of the tables. Under my arm I had clamped my large drawing pad, in which was carefully (I thought) concealed a cartoon I was nearly finished with. It depicts a man in the forest getting his penis caught in a bear trap, while a monstrously huge Slavic woman charges out of the trees yelling at him for this. (See it HERE) Very high-brow.
     Anyway, as I was bustling by the students with my messenger bag and my drawing pad, a piece of paper shot out onto the table and landed right on top of what the students were working on. Luckily, the students were so startled they immediately looked up at me, which gave me time to snatch the penis-in-a-bear-trap cartoon away before they realized what they were looking at.
     But I was HORRIFIED in that brief instant that I looked down and saw my crude cartoon landing right on top of the students' homework. I would NEVER have lived that down.
     I muttered, "Oh, sorry!" and dashed out the back door.