Your Other Left

I had this extremely frustrating time today helping a very BIG man use a computer for the first time. He was recently laid off and needed Internet access to send resumes to prospective employers. Lately this is an all to common occurrence. As librarians we are always very attuned to the state of the economy by the volume of people coming in to look for jobs, and a lot of people are coming to look for jobs. Oddly enough, 57% of Republicans surveyed think the economy is in good shape. Recent events in the Market, however, might finally have them rethinking this as I’m sure many just got PWNED! But I digress…

Anyway, helping first-timers out is always a lesson in extreme patience but it is rewarding to know that we’re teaching people a useful new skill, and sometimes helping people find employment. Sadly, I have a feeling that this fellow might be unemployed for a long time since he did not know his right from his left. Did I write that this was PAINFUL?

So, I get to the point where I’m like, “Now click that button on the left” and the guy keeps looking to the right and moving the cursor to the right side of the screen, and I’m like, “No, over there, on the left over in the column over there.” Yet he looks to the right and again moves his cursor over to the other side of the screen. Doh!!!

… At this time I point to the exact spot on the screen that he needs to “click” while saying, “Click here.” He follows my instruction and I am happy and disappointed all at once. After a few more minutes stuck in this hell I excuse myself and then take a Valium.

It’s good to be home.


~ by Woeful on September 17, 2008.

10 Responses to “Your Other Left”

  1. I agree, this kind of thing is happening more and more frequently. A few weeks ago a guy who took one of our free computer classes complained that the person sitting next to him in class was “clicking too much” and distracting him. He was taking the class so he could fill out an online job application but felt like he didn’t learn much because of the mad clicker. Sigh…

  2. I think the phrase “happy and disappointed all at the same time” definitely captures the essence of the one-on-one instruction that public library staff often find themselves providing. Keep fighting the good fight — it pays off eventually (as it did with me when I helped a Hurricane Ike refugee earlier this week).

  3. Helping hurricane refugees… That’s important stuff!

  4. Teaching is not a learned ability. It’s innate. I am a lousy teacher. That poor bastard has a long road in front of him. It’s sad.

  5. What the heck was that guy previously employed doing? Not able to tell right from left? Sad thing is I have had a patron or two like that. Not just public libraries. In academia, when they come back to school to try to get new skills after losing a job, let’s just say it can be sad, trying on patience, so on when attempting to teach them how to open their campus e-mail, and they can barely figure out how to use the mouse or turn on the computer. But once they learn, they are among the most grateful people you will ever find.

    As for the Repubs. and their “things are fine” attitude, well, all I gotta say is, if people vote them in again, they deserve to get laid off and and lose everything. But that would be a separate rant.

  6. I had a guy yesterday who was using both hands to move the mouse, like it would get away from him somehow if he didn’t. He was upset that the Google-generated ads on the web page he was printing didn’t print with the rest of the information on the page. “I want the whole thing! This part is missing!”

  7. Not helping the left from right issue, but there are silent mice for sale, and also I found a “do-it-yourself” link.

  8. Haaa! Public Librarian, that made my day. I can just see the guy using the mouse like a Ouija Board! LOL… “Are you getting anything yet?”

  9. All of it is too true (Republicans, economy, voter stupidity, etc…). I’m in area that is normally economically depressed and then it’s gotten worse. Some of these new jobless patrons are sad and you really feel for them, others (way too many) have the patience of a gnat. The later (and not just jobless) come in expecting us to do all the typing for them because they don’t want to learn. I have no patience with that, nor are we in a position to do it for them given our many other customers and duties. I’ve not had the left/right problem be so blatant with people I’ve been teaching but do see it a lot when I’m directing people to some area of the library. Must be a switch in the brain misfiring. Or a sign of too much stress and sensory input?
    Or in my less generous mood I’d say it’s that too many library patrons can’t read, hear, see, smell, pay attention for 3 seconds, clean up after themselves, or walk straight. Sigh. It’s been a strange month so far. It’s so hard to keep the big picture sometimes.

  10. Yeah, that’s not what we do. We get people started, give them direction and then send them on their way… Frustrating.

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