Much of our work at the desk involves the internet. There are many different aspects to this – we help children research for school assignments. The library leases a biography database that is excellent for this purpose and we access it through the internet.
We help sales people research potential markets. The library leases corporate informational databases that help them with this, and most corporations have web sites that list officers’ and other contact names. There are also industry organizations for their members, with more web sites and contacts.
People come in to write resumes, apply for jobs and file unemployment vouchers online. Often these people have never used a computer before. They are forced to learn how, so they can get their unemployment and continue to eat and have a place to live.
There are also gamers who come in and play. “Can you help me learn how to play hearts?” I show them where the tutorials, help screens and rules are. There are cheat pages for CD-ROM games that detail every move you can make to win, and secret commands that give you special (cheater) powers. All on the internet.
And then there’s love. A man came in today. He is a regular. I don’t know his name. He is usually clean, usually cheerful, usually smiling. He cannot remember his email password from one day to the next. His mouth trembles, his hands shake and he walks pretty slow – I think he must be in his forties. And he wants me to help him get on Match.com.
EEK! First he has to choose a user name. He uses his real one. With spaces, which you can’t do with a user name. Then I show him how to work a drop down menu so he can list his age. About halfway through this, he asks if the information he is filling out is about him.
O dear. “Yes, sir, it is. You have to finish registering in order to get information about other people.”
“Right,” he said. “That’s what I thought.”
If giving out recipes freaks me out, can you imagine what I feel like trying to help him with this? Fortunately, signing up takes so much time, I can’t spend any more time with him and he doesn’t ask me to help him write his profile or ad. I’m sorry, I simply can NOT be responsible for that.
I know he must get lonely like everyone else. I know he needs companionship as we all do. What I don’t know, and don’t want to know, is how he is going to represent himself. I don’t know how he gets around. I don’t know how he remembers some things and forgets others. I have no idea how he sees himself.
How do I know if there’s someone out there who will like him or not? Although I would write a warning label to accompany his ad, I suppose he might be just perfect for someone.
Who am I to stand in the way of love?