Coming up at the end of this month I will be celebrating my fifth year of working in a library (woot). I started off as a library page when I was just seventeen years old, and have since “climbed the ladder” to be a library programmer, someone who plans programs for teens. It’s a fascinating job, and while I do have to (and I actually enjoy doing this) answer questions at the reference desk, planning programs for teens is fun and answering questions is stimulating, sometimes.
One time when I was sitting at home drinking heavily with my roommate and her boyfriend and I were talking about the library, where I worked. I mentioned how the library I work at has started this system where you can instant message a librarian (or really, me) to get a question answered. My roommates’ boyfriend said that it was “crazy.” And, “I can totally access that website at work. I can talk to you. The code will be pigeons, dude,” he said, citing that he would talk to me about pigeons to indicate it was him when asking questions, and then we can goof off (mind you, three glasses of red wine with dinner).
Now this pigeon thing had been an inside joke between us for quite some time. At the time there were two pigeons living outside my window, and I often woke to their morning mating, a sort-of purr mixed with a chirp. It was devastating, especially as I was not getting nearly enough sleep, and often fell asleep hearing my roommate and her boyfriend making similar noises. Never mind that those were during my single years and being reminded that everyone and everything is getting some and I’m not, is just cruel.
After the pigeons laid the eggs, Dewey and Danger (yes, we named them, they were literally right outside my window, raising a family, and annoying the hell out of me) nested, and the nesting was also irritating. They would purr, and they always had guests. So after about a week of this, I wanted, no, needed, to know how long it took them to hatch, and asked my roommate’s boyfriend to call the library I used to work at and ask. He did (let me point out that, again, there was alcohol involved here.) He spoke to a woman I remembered, and used to go to lunch with on every Thursday, and honestly missed. Seventeen days she said after doing some quick Google research. (I have since checked up on her, and she’s pretty accurate — thus I love libraries).
The next day at work, I was sitting at the reference desk, mentally preparing myself for whatever questions would come my way. Often we get pretty simple questions, a sort of routine. Normally, there will be one to two soccer moms trying to find a book for their child, one or two seniors trying to find the newest in the Oprah book club or a Western, and a half of a dozen questions on how to use the printer (because the written instructions on the printer “aren’t very clear”), and one or two tutors using our study rooms, who were charging student’s parents too much when the students should really just give up.
Anyway, this one day, as I’m sitting at the reference desk attempting to answer the ringing phone and answer another question I’ve already answered a dozen times before, someone starts asking Instant Messaging me intense questions about pigeons and pigeons lofts. Right then, I thought it was my friend, and started poking fun of this person, talking to my coworker about them, and asking her if I can say some very inappropriate things. But after some of the most bizarre questions about how to build these pigeons lofts, I knew I was talking to a real person (not to mean that my roommate’s boyfriend isn’t a ‘real person’.) I spent forty-five minutes explaining the inns and outs of it, like a pro., after doing on the spot research, and directing this bird-lover to several websites.
I struggled through the answering part, and that night when I went home I confronted my roommate’s boyfriend about it. He was with her all day, he said, and it wasn’t him.