This one starts off like a joke. So this old guy, cane assisted, creeks up to the Reference Desk wearing a baseball cap. He asks the librarian at FULL volume about researching a firearms dealership in Town that burned down years ago. He was so loud that every square inch of the place was reverberating as he was telling us about how he and Wyatt Earp* bought some guns there a hundred years ago. He was so tremendously loud, in fact, that I couldn’t hear the person I was speaking with on the telephone. After listening to his tale, my colleague pointed him to our local history room and soundly put him on the path to exactly what he was questing for.

About a half hour later, the man exits the room and from across the Library BELLOWS that he’s done, and that he’s HAVING TROUBLE CLOSING THE DOOR to the room behind him. That he, MIGHT NEED HELP, BECAUSE THE DOOR WON’T CLOSE. At this point I, totally lose my shit, breaking down laughing as my coworker tries to assure the man that all he needs to do, if he is done, is leave. But no, the man wasn’t done. He came back over to the Desk to do a little fact finding about some relatives who moved to Maine right around the time that I believe a glacier covered this whole area. He is ranting on and on, AGAIN AT FULL VOLUME. Everyone in the Library is in awe of the decibels spewing forth from his Jurassic maw.

While he is trying to get a handle on the great migration of his family, my colleague leaves the Desk momentarily to get a book that might answer some of these mysteries, leaving me alone with the guy in the process while I work on my own research problem. Out of the silent nowhere, the guy shouts, WHAT’S THAT? DID YOU JUST HEAR A LOUD NOISE? A LOUD SCREECHING NOISE? As he futilely glances all around the building. I tell that man that there is no such noise (other than him). He then comments that, OH, IT MUST BE MY HEARING AID!? I nod my head in agreement that that probably accounts for the malfunction (I try, desperately, not to lose my shit for a second time).

My coworker returns but didn’t find the information he set out to. That’s OK, now the man wants directions to the site of what was the firearms dealership. The guy isn’t buying that that’s where it was because the road, HAD A DIFFERENT NAME. My coworker explains that the road in question goes by three interchangeable names. One is just a shortened version of another. To reassure the man, my coworker shows him a map. The man leans over the desk until his eyeglasses almost touch the ink. Eureka! He finally gets it, OHHH, SO I JUST MAKE A LEFT AND HEAD DOWN THERE, AND THAT’S WHERE IT WAS. NOT TOO FAR AWAY. My coworker then assures him that he’s on the right track.

During this last outburst, another patron was brave enough to approach the desk and interject her own question as the guy turned to leave. She got several words out of her mouth, only to be cut off mid-sentence but the man who turned and yelled something else, and CONTINUED TO SHOUT AND THANK US FOR ALL THE HELP, WITH EVERY STEP HE MADE TOWARDS THE ELEVATOR…

* I have embellished the Wyatt Earp part, I don’t think he actually knew Wyatt, but I am fairly certain they were in the same class.


~ by Woeful on August 9, 2007.

8 Responses to “Ancient”

  1. I was beginning to wonder when an old man with Earp-ies would come your way. 🙂

  2. Oh man… :X

  3. Don’t ya just love old people? Except when they smell. And except when they need help with their pee bag in the restroom. And except when they’re driving 10 mph on the freeway. And except when they get too close and breathe rotten halitosis all over you. And except when they say out loud every thought passing through their brains like, “You’ve gotten FAT haven’t you.” Other than that, ya just gotta love ’em.

  4. […] , humor , writing , music  Loudtalkers. We’ve all experienced them. In fact, you can read a great account of a loudtalker here that quickly will bring back all memories of your past dealings with those who accidentally, or on […]

  5. I though you’d appreciate that, Cara!

    LOL, there really isn’t anything you can do about a guy who’s old and deaf but go along with it. I imagine that if I live to be 95 I’ll be deaf too… The really funny thing is that when you deal with someone like this, it’s not just the patron who’s yelling, it’s both the patron and the librarian so that the patron can hear the answers! LMAO… I hate this when I’m the one yelling on the telephone so the person can hear me in an otherwise (more or less – probably more less) silent library. Everyone turns to see what’s going on 🙂

  6. I live near a retirement community. We visit and bring their strays back. It’s scary. Once my neighbor knocked a guys wheel chair over backing out of the driveway. He said, “don’t tell them they won’t let me out again.” I want to put old off as long as possible!

  7. Okay, okay, so you know what it’s like to deal with deaf patrons. Want to see how deaf Librarians have to deal with hearing patrons?


  8. Welcome Cindy! I sympathize with people like this. Having hearing loss is no joke, but it does present some challenges, and occasionally makes for some rather comical interactions, especially in a library setting. I usually try to rectify this by writing rather than speaking, the patrons seem to be thankful about this methodology… That said, when a call comes in from someone with hearing loss, I’m usually the one screaming into the telephone to convey the information, again, very comical!

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