Library Lewdness

I had the late shift at work today, which meant when I arrived at 11:00, the library was already swarming with summer reading madness. The first person to grab me was a woman I'd never seen before. She was clearly agitated.

Someone has made a mess in the bathroom.

Me: Really?

Me, thinking:
I hope it's not poop again.

Woman: There is soap EVERYWHERE on the mirror. And a NAUGHTY WORD on the countertop.

Me: Thaaat's wonderful.


Me: (silent)

Helpful Coworker: That was sarcasm.

Woman: Oh.

Within the next five minutes, I received three more complaints. Anxious to clean it up before storytime let out, I grabbed a roll of paper towels and headed into the Ladies to scope out the damage.

And, indeed, someone had been having a little too much fun with the liquid Dial. It was dripped and smudged and splattered down the mirror. Large puddles were globbed across countertop.

And next to the door, written in golden soap, was the naughty word:


I love the exclamation point. That really makes it.

Okay, I thought, I've cleaned up worse. Much worse. In my various places of employment, I have wiped crusty puke from the cracks of a tiled wall and scooped liquid poo from an overflowing toilet with an empty butter tub.

I can handle a little soap. At least this was a sanitary job.

But do you know what happens when you mix soap with water? Of course you do. I am still not sure why I was so surprised.

Because BUBBLES. That's what happens.

Just ask Neil.

Before I realized my mistake (wipe with dry paper towels first, THEN wet), the sink was overflowing with suds and the counter was a white streaky mess, and my hands and arms and shirt were all covered in BUBBLES. It was nowhere close to being clean.

Well, perhaps "clean" is the wrong word. It was plenty anti-bacterialized by this point. You could have eaten sushi off this counter. Soapy sushi, but sushi nonetheless.

It took fifteen minutes to get the bubbles under control. For the first ten, I cursed the girls who had done this. I had my suspects. Yesterday, right before closing, three thirteen year-olds giggled ferociously in the hallway outside the bathroom. I thought, "How cute. They're having so. Much. Fun! I remember being silly with my friends too."


Now I wished I had gotten my head out of my ASS! and inspected the source of their amusement.

But as I scrubbed, my irritation subsided and was replaced with disappointment. Not because of what they had done. I mean soap -- pretty harmless. Who cares? My disappointment instead was this:

Really? Ass? That was the best they could come up with?

If only they had asked my opinion, I would have been happy to find them something suitably more offensive. After all, they were in a library. Research is our business.

They could have at least picked up a thesaurus.


In other work news, only two weeks after our "Name Our Fish!" contest ended, we found Bob motionless in the tank last Friday. We are all very sad. His funeral was held in the garden next door to the pizza place.

He is survived by Beowulf and Aunt Alice, and Marcus Phoenix Doppelganger (the plant).


And, because I'm in that sort of mood, here is a list of the top three grossest items I've found used as bookmarks:

3. Used Kleenex
2. Chewed Toothpicks
1. Bloody Band-Aids


And the Number One Most Disgusting Thing ever found in the book drop?

That would be the sex toy.


  1. I laughed out loud at this. ASS!, hmmm? Yes, by the age of thirteen I could have outdone that toe over the line.

    Perhaps this is good motivation to start dropping some thoughtful little gifts in the book drop to counteract the less than savory ones.

    Will you be at the SCBWI LA conference?

  2. Now I'm laughing, trying to imagine who would drop a sex toy into your drop box!

    I mean, aren't some of those things kind of expensive? ;-)

  3. Oh, goodness, people. How I don't miss them, EVER. From inside my little writing room where I ever only see Jim and Leroy, I DO miss the sky, the woods, fresh air, that sort of thing, but people? Nooo. The bookmark thing is very gross. Sometimes library books give me the creeps -- you just never really know, do you?

    And I love the line, "He is survived by Beowulf and Aunt Alice, and Marcus Phoenix Doppelganger (the plant)." I think you to use that as the first line of a story, or perhaps the second line. You know, it could begin, "Buried Bob today, in the garden of the pizza place. He is survived by. . ." That would get my attention. Only, don't have them be fish, but something weirder, like ostriches or library patrons!

  4. Elise -- Oh, how I wish I could attend the LA conference! Alas, it's not in the budget. (The library doesn't pay me enough for cleaning their bathrooms.) Next year, perhaps??

    Min -- HA HA HA!!!

    Laini -- Dude, you are so lucky. At least once a week I look at my coworkers and say, "You know what would make this place so much better? NO PEOPLE."