You know how it can be really hard to do simple tasks when someone is watching you? Twice yesterday I had to look through the picture book racks for a Splat the Cat or Hot Rod Hamster book with a little boy shouting NO, NOT Hot Rod Hamster Wacky Whatever Race, Hot Rod Hamster MONSTER TRUCK MANIA, or NO, NOT Splat the Cat What was That, Splat the Cat MAKES DAD GLAD. Why, I whimpered, why on earth don't we keep all the Splat the Fucking Cat books together? Because some are picture books and some are Early Reader books (taller, skinnier, pre-chapter books) was the sensible answer, but when you have little Charlie breathing down your neck it doesn't help that much.
And the math. I am perfectly able to perform simple arithmetic, EXCEPT when someone is standing on the other side of the counter watching me. Then my brain suddenly comes to a hard stop while trying to make 10.00 and 7.00 and 8.00 and 11.50 come out to a reasonable sum. It doesn't help when a student's father starts shouting out numbers when I finally resort to the calculator - WRONG numbers, may I add. I should have just LET him overcharge himself by six dollars.
Eve, my sixth-grade daughter, was better at giving change than the ninth-grade volunteer we had. She gets that from her dad.
The parent volunteers decided we would keep the book fair open straight through from school dismissal until the end of parent-teacher interviews, letting the librarian go home for dinner and to walk her dogs. So when a student came in asking for an exchange or return, we had to make an executive decision. Sometimes it was easy - the kid wanted to exchange a Minecraft Combat Handbook for a Minecraft Construction Handbook. The one he wanted was a dollar more than the one he had. I told him to take it and bring back a dollar when he could. He did, which I was ridiculously pleased by. Then a girl came in with a poster she wanted to return. I was in the back room and Eve was at the cash. I watched, ready to step in if needed. The girl said "can I return this poster?" Eve asked why. The girl said "I was in a hurry and I didn't really read it." I couldn't see Eve's face, but I imagine her expression was as blisteringly incredulous as her tone when she said "Didn't READ it? It's a POSTER." The girl took her poster and left.
Eve was also the one to notice a bit of a disconnect between this girl's chipper expression
and the subject matter on the screens.
Read to connect to what, exactly? Serial killers? Odd choice, we think. Odd.