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There’s No Talking Her Out Of This

, , , | Right | March 26, 2021

It’s not uncommon for elderly patrons to come in or call the library to have someone to talk to. We understand this and try to give them attention, but it can be a problem if there’s a line or it’s a busy day. This woman calls about three times a week, either to find out about the items she just purchased or to ask us to find the phone numbers of people she used to know.

In this case, she is looking for neighbors who moved.

She goes through an extensive explanation of the current people moving in and wants everything I can find on the company named on the side of the van. I find their Yelp reviews and read a few to her. In the next breath, she asks:

Old Lady: “Now, I need the phone number of the people who used to live in that house. They live in [State] now and their name is [Last Name]. I think they must have a new number.”

I imagine that this family must have recently moved, given that another family is just moving in, and they probably don’t even have a phone set up yet. I don’t bother saying this to her because, in her mind, everything happens right away and everything is set up to suit her, even when it isn’t her phone or her house we’re talking about.

I look all this up for her, but I can’t find anything about this family in a town in [State]. She just KNOWS they will want to hear from her as she used to call them every day. I try every permutation of the name on every combination and form of online White Pages available to us at the time.

Me: “[Old Lady], I don’t know what to tell you, but there is no one by that name living in [State] or anywhere around [State]. There are some people listed by that name, but the article is an obituary.”

Old Lady: “I don’t understand; they moved there over twenty-five years ago, and I used to call them all the time. They must have changed their number recently, or maybe they got an unlisted number.”

That’s when it all clicks together. When I get off the phone, almost forty minutes after we began, I relate the story to my coworker, who shakes his head. 

Coworker: “Dying was probably the only way they could get her to stop calling.”

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