Today was definitely a strange day at the desk, but I don't think it had anything to do with it being St. Patrick's Day. First off, it was unusually slow and quiet, most likely due to the opening of a brand new branch this week pulling people away from the branches they normally use so they could check it out. But, even though it was slow and quiet, I ended up leaving exhausted due to sensory overload!
As luck would have it, I had a patron hang around almost the entire shift, using the computer and talking on her phone the whole time. She was agitated and angry, so though she wasn't yelling, she was speaking louder than necessary and in an angry tone of voice. Even when it isn't directed at you, having to hear someone speaking that way takes a toll, both mentally and physically. Also it always makes me a bit uncomfortable to hear every detail of someone's personal problems, even if they don't seem to mind everyone hearing it, and it was impossible not to hear every word with it being so quiet otherwise. I did feel bad for the patron, as it became obvious she was dealing with one of those online for-profit schools that is known for taking advantage of people who are just trying to better themselves.
In addition to this, I had to figure how to extricate myself from a bizarre conversation with a patron that had some serious paranoid delusions. Nothing about this person's appearance or initial demeanor gave any indication that anything was off about her. It started out as a perfectly normal conversation about an impressive display of art by area school children, then about a grant the city is trying to get to help rejuvenate the downtown area and make it more family-friendly. That is when it took a turn for the worse and she began tell me bizarre stories about people kidnapping her, multiple serial killers stalking her, etc. Yet she remained completely calm and polite the whole time.
I kept trying to think of a way to politely end the conversation or walk away, but without other patrons around to interrupt needing help, I was basically a captive audience. Fortunately, my co-worker came out to get something off the printer, so I pretended like I needed to give her a message and was able to step away. Interactions like this are always disturbing to me, not because they scare me, but because it is just so sad to see people affected by mental illness like that, and it's a little disconcerting when the conversation starts perfectly normal, then suddenly becomes startlingly bizarre.
On a lighter note, I got the shelves all straightened up, filled all the display gaps, cut out stuff for storytime, took care of some phone calls and e-mails related to my outreach storytime program, pulled all the materials for holds or transfer, and withdrew a cartful of weeded books. Plus, I came across this video after work: The Bold Librarian.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!