Sometimes when I’m busy, I forget that my patrons are all individuals. Somehow they become this big, needy, endless, many-headed mob. The faces are different but the problems never end.
The woman I am thinking about was short and round, her gray hair slicked back maybe with some hair product and anchored with a plastic headband. She was wearing sweat pants, big glasses and pink plastic shoes.
She asked me for Ripley’s Believe It or Not books; books full of unusual and sometimes far-fetched facts. I took her over to the shelf, and gave her the 2004 and 2005 volumes. As I was walking away, I heard her say to my back, “I’m supposed to be in here somewhere…..”
I made a mental note to check back with her, vowing not to have another Slow Guy incident, but kept going. It was a hectic shift and there were people lined up at the desk, but I did get a chance to go back.
“Any luck?” I asked her.
“No,” she said. “They said I would be in here, but I haven’t found it yet.”
“We haven’t received the 2006 volume yet, maybe you’ll be in there,” I said. “How long have you been waiting?”
“Well,” she said, “I donated my four leaf clover collection to a museum and they said it was the largest they’d ever heard of. There were over 4,000 four leaf clovers in there, along with some five and six leaf ones. What makes it unusual is that I collected them all within six months.”
“Wow,” I said. “That seems like a challenge.”
“Well, I took my kids fishing and to play soccer in the park. I don’t fish or play, so I found my own thing to do.”
“I hope you make it in,” I said. “Maybe you should call the Guinness Book of World Records.”
She laughed. “Maybe I should,” she said. “I’m done collecting, but it would be nice to see it in print.”
I know - four leaf clovers may not be a big deal to you. But I personally haven’t done anything worthy of Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
You just never know who is under that grandma disguise, that homeless disguise, or the librarian disguise, for that matter. I’m glad I took the time to find out.