The Contrarian Librarian: The Childhood Years

, , , , , | Friendly | March 19, 2019

(My university has a lot of young parents attending. There are five or six private rooms in the library that kids aren’t supposed to be in, as there are a crèche and tonnes of other rooms, but my library is PACKED today. I see a woman come in with her little girl who is maybe four or five and I internally groan, thinking I’m going to lose out on a couple of hours of study. The woman sets her little girl up on the chair next to her with a little unicorn lunchbox and an iPad, plugging in some headphones for her. The little girl happily watches a show on the iPad, munches on some snacks, and grins at me when I glance over at her once, mostly to see if she is still there because she hasn’t made a single peep. I can’t help but smile back. She is honestly the quietest person in the whole room. Her mother works on her laptop for about an hour and starts packing up around the same time I do. I walk over to their table as I leave.)

Me: “Excuse me, miss?”

Girl’s Mother: *seemingly uneasy* “Yes?”

Me: “Can I just say you’ve got an awesome kid? I’ve never seen a kid her age behave that well for that long.”

(The mum smiles and thanks me, saying her partner was called into work and couldn’t watch their daughter and she was worried someone would tell them off for being in the kid-free room. The little girl suddenly takes off her headphones and says in a very loud whisper:)

Girl: “Hey, Mummy! We don’t talk in the library! Shh!”

(The mum and I burst out laughing. This kid had a better grasp of library rules than most adults. Way to raise a h*** of a kid, random university lady!)

Dad Doesn’t Take Care Of His Charge

, , , , | Related | March 18, 2019

(When I am in high school, I have this crappy little netbook that I take to class to take notes. One day, I notice that the battery refuses to charge. I have this conversation with my Dad.)

Me: “Hey, Dad, my netbook isn’t charging.”

Dad: “Well, I can take it to the shop and have them look at it. Probably just a bad battery.”

(Since I still need to take notes, I end up running the battery down by the time my dad takes it to the shop. He comes back and says that there is an issue with the connection from the cord to the battery. I can’t remember what it is, just that the battery works fine and the charging cable is fine; it is the connection between. My computer has a very easily detachable battery.)

Me: “Hey, Dad, do you think it’s possible for the shop to charge the battery for me? I want to try to save some of the files on my computer that didn’t get backed up.”

Dad: “Yeah, sure. We can go this weekend.”

(A week passes.)

Me: “Hey, Dad, when are we going to be able to go to the shop? I would like to get the files off my laptop.”

Dad: “I don’t know. Probably in the next couple of weeks.”

(A few weeks pass.)

Me: “Dad, can we go to the shop this weekend? I really want to get those files off my computer.”

Dad: *condescendingly* “Well, sweetie, you do realize that that shop isn’t going to able to do that, right? File recovery is a difficult, expensive operation. You’re going to have to let those files go.”

Me: “Dad, you do remember that we just need to charge the battery to get those files, right? The computer works fine; it just can’t charge the battery. My battery is even made so it can be taken out of the computer and recharged.”

Dad: *silence*

Me: “You were the one who took it to the shop! Don’t you remember them telling you this?”

Dad: *long pause* “We can go next week.”

(That weekend my netbook was sitting on my desk, fully repaired. I still don’t know what was going on in my dad’s head.)

Camped Out To Catch Them Out

, , , , , | Right | March 16, 2019

I am in fifth grade. My mom runs a summer equestrian camp for kids. It is very popular and fills up very quickly every year, so she operates on a first-come-first-serve basis where any applications received before April 1st will not be looked at until that date.

This particular summer, one woman is extremely persistent in making sure her two kids get into the camp, submitting their applications several weeks before April 1st and contacting my mom every few days to see if she has looked at them yet, which, of course, she hasn’t. The woman’s persistence gets rather annoying, but nonetheless, both of her kids get into one of the camp’s sessions.

Fast-forward to the first day of camp: neither of the kids shows up. After the day ends, my mom contacts their mother to see what happened and make sure everything is okay. The woman apologizes and says that both of the kids were not feeling well that day, but will definitely be in tomorrow. The next day goes by — still neither one comes in. This time, the woman contacts my mom, apologizes again, and says that she forgot both of them had doctors’ appointments that day — that were apparently the length of an entire day of camp — but they will definitely be in the next day.

That night at dinner, my mom is telling us about all this and happens to mention the name of one of the kids. I recognize his name, as I went to school with him… and I realize that I’ve seen him the past two days at a different summer camp I am currently attending. My mom asks me if I’ve also seen his sister there, and I believe I have.

Long story short: rather than fessing up to double-booking her kids in two different camps, the woman tried to repeatedly lie to my mom about why they weren’t showing up to hers. The next day, when my dad picked me up, he made sure to wave and smile at the woman. She froze in her tracks, recognizing him as my mom’s husband, and meekly waved back.

Brake Break

, , , , , , , | Related | March 16, 2019

My truck has started making a weird noise. Since my dad used to be a mechanic, I ask him about it, but he can’t hear it and insists that I’m imagining it. A few weeks later, the noise is worse, and the truck has started acting weird when I use the brakes. If I just barely touch the brake pedal, the truck reacts as if I’ve slammed on the brakes, and the brakes also let go at unexpected times.

When I try to tell my dad about it, he actually makes fun of me. He says there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my truck and kind of bullies me for not wanting to drive it. I tell him that if he’s that sure, he can drive it. He seems to think it’s hilarious, but he does agree and we swap keys.

The next morning while I am at work, I get a text from dad.

“Don’t drive your truck anywhere.”

It isn’t until I get home that I finally get an explanation. He tried to drive my truck as we agreed. He got halfway out of the driveway, only to realize that he’d left one of the brakes behind!

It had rusted completely in half, but since he’d only been pretending to look at them he didn’t think there could be any problem… until one of them fell off completely.

Dad wonders why I don’t trust him anymore.

Drowning In Bad Parenting

, , , , , | Right | March 15, 2019

(I work as a lifeguard at a small-town pool, so we don’t get many people we don’t know, but every once and a while we get out-of-towners. They are usually rude and disregard all of the rules. It is required to take a swimming test to enter the deep end at our pool; if you don’t pass you don’t enter. A lady and her two sons come to the pool.)

Lady: *to [Coworker #1] on duty* “Can [Oldest Son] take the deep end test?”

Coworker #1: “Yes, you have to [do required things] well, and I will pass you.”

Oldest Son: “Okay.”

(The oldest son then does the test and passes.)

Lady: “Now can [Younger Son] take the test?”

Coworker #1: “Yes; he has to do the same things.”

Lady: “That seems like a lot for someone so little to do.”

Coworker #1: “Everyone has to do it to enter the deep end, ma’am.”

Lady: “It just seems like too much! Have him do less.”

Coworker #1: “I can’t. He has to pass these requirements.”

Lady: “Okay.”

(The youngest does it but is obviously struggling, out of breath, and needing to take a break. His mom swims next to him, practically holding him. It takes him so long to finish that the lifeguards have to rotate, so [Coworker #1] leaves and [Coworker #2] takes her place/ [Coworker #1] tells her that the kid is struggling and shouldn’t be passed. The kid finally gets done.)

Coworker #2: “I’m sorry, but he didn’t pass. He is obviously a struggling swimmer and I can’t let him in the deep end.”

Lady: “What?! He did your stupid little test; he should be able to go in there. He is not a struggling swimmer!”

Coworker #2: “Ma’am, he did not pass because he isn’t a strong enough swimmer and we don’t want him to have a chance of drowning.”

Lady: “This is ridiculous. All he wants to do is go off the diving boards; just let him do that!”

Coworker #2: “Ma’am, we cannot let your son into the deep end, for his own safety.”

(She continued to yell at me and my coworkers until she finally decided to loudly announce that we were terrible lifeguards and she was never coming back to this pool ever again. My coworker and I didn’t care if this lady ever came back, but much to our despair, she came back an hour later and broke our deep end rules, and ignored us, all while insisting that she was with her son and it didn’t matter what some stupid teenagers said; she knew what was best for her son.)

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