Grouchy? Who? Me? Nah …

So I recently got a shoutout from my colleague at A Case For Books. The somewhat fair accusation that I’m occasionally grouchy was leveled at me. Ok, guilty as charged, but hey, sometimes I have good reason to be grouchy. Hang onto your modems, ladies and gentlelibrarians.

I have the privilege of working in what’s called a “diverse” community. What this usually means is the library community consists of a mix of pampered, wealthy folks who drop in at the library because it’s a thing to do, and those who are genuinely in need of our services. You’d be surprised just how many communities fit this mold in New York State, even in the supposedly more homogenous upstate. After a while, you start to get a sense of which patrons are pampered and which are needy.

Now over the winter we’ve had, there’s been so much freaking snow that only now are dead deer being revealed on the roadside, buried up to their chests in a combination of leftover ice and road gravel. It stands to reason there’s gonna be some ice left over on sidewalks and streets where plows and intrepid shovelers could not reach.

Among those intrepid shovelers is a wonderful crew of people known as custodians. I’ve had custodians share recipes with me, give me lifts when I needed one in an emergency, set rooms up for programs, stop flooding in the basements, and fix busted toilets. You name it. Seriously, I love these guys. However, that love is not widespread. Last week one of the more pampered princesses came in and demanded to know why some of the sidewalk outside still had ice, and why she had to walk around it.

My response was simple: “He might not be responsible for that part of the sidewalk. You might have to call sanitation or the highway department for that.”

“Huh, another one who gets my tax money for doing nothing!” Then she stormed out. That’s an exact quote, folks. I was biting my tongue hard enough to leave marks. What I wanted to say would have gotten me a nice, shiny pink slip and unemployment benefits.

This is what I wanted to say: “Now listen to me, you addle-pated, dimwitted, slack-jawed, spoiled MORON! There probably isn’t enough money in the WORLD to make you want to do HIS job, cleaning up YOUR crap from OUR public restrooms, picking up YOUR garbage from OUR floors, and probably scraping YOUR gum from under OUR tables. Here’s your damn dollar back and don’t show your face in here again.”

Come to think of it, this is the kind of thing I want to say to everyone who bitches and moans about how much teachers, custodians, garbagemen, and ad infinitum get paid or how much money is wasted on the oh-so-lavish benefit of $20 grand a year in retirement (IF we’re lucky). Let’s see you try to teach a classroom full of kids who either don’t want to learn, come from broken homes, or have no parents at home because THEY’RE WORKING TO PROVIDE YOUR PAMPERED ASS with the service you say you waste money on.

Better idea. Rush into a burning building wearing a hundred pounds of fire-fighting equipment and force your way through burning doors, walls, and smoke, all to save someone like YOU. Then you get to complain about all those “slackers” who are lounging around on disability.

Oh oh oh, here’s another one. YOU try spending two whole freaking days out on the streets in a plow and sand truck with no meal breaks, busting your hump to plow the streets of ungrateful twits like YOU. Seriously, the stuff I read in the papers about the New York City Sanitation guys dozing off in their trucks after being out there for hours and hours and hours? Yeah, I’d doze off too. Hell I would probably have stopped at a Dunkin Donuts just to stretch stiff limbs like those working stiffs. Let’s see you make it a couple of hours, princess.

If I sound grouchy, well, nothing aggravates me more than hearing complaints from people I’m trying to help about how public servants “waste” their tax dollars. Excuse me, this public servant is trying to get you that latest bestseller you “absolutely must have” but you’re too cheap to buy on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble even though you came rolling up in a shiny Benz.

I will be the first to admit that yes, there are some public servants that really could use a good kick in the ass. Captain Bringdown from Case For Books comes to mind. Go to that blog and look up that tag. We all have a Captain Bringdown somewhere, but that doesn’t mean most of us aren’t trying our damndest to provide you with a critical service.

Seriously, there’s people who need help with resumes, filing taxes, doing homework, or just getting away from bad situations at home. Have a little perspective, lady.

Yes I’ve been following that mess in Wisconsin. Why do you ask?


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