Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Stinky Man

You've met Duck Man. Let me introduce Stinky Man (StM).

I met StM on my first desk shift down on the public library level not long after I'd gone back to work.

We have a bank of PCs available for research opposite the info desk. They have a block password on them that I have to enter before anyone can log on to them. This is so we can keep them available for people (i.e. our students) who are doing "serious" research. Or in other words, if you want to do email or just muck around on Bebo you have to do it in the Learning Centre and not up on Level 2. Well that is cool. I can cope with that. As you might imagine, things were new to me so I was finding my feet and trying to work out where things were. G had gone over various procedures and had left me to cope by myself.

StM was using one of the PCs when I arrived. I didn't pay much attention to him at first but his miasma soon made itself noticeable. Not much I could do about that apart from going for frequent monitoring walks away from the info desk. However, the purpose of the info desk is that someone is there to answer questions! So I couldn't disappear for long. So I heaved a sigh of relief when he got up to vacate the chair. But not for long. He approached the desk.

StM: Are you going to log off that computer or not?
Me: Pardon? *eh? what computer? this is the one I'm working on*
StM: You can't leave it logged in with nobody using it. Anybody could jump on and use the account.
Me: *mind working quickly, realises he's talking about the PC next to him* Oh right, sure I'll log it off.
StM:*getting worked up and getting louder* You should be more careful! You never know who could just help themselves to that person's acount! Log it off now!

I proceed to log it off while he accuses me of being dangerously uncaring etc. (Forget the fact I had no idea it was still logged on with nobody using it).

Well, moving right along.

So my first time working a late night I descend to Level 2, nervously to begin my shift. Who should turn up but StM to use the PCs! I log him on holding my breath.

Nothing happens - he uses the PC and goes. *sigh of relief and deep breaths of clean air*

The second late night I descend to Level 2. No StM! Yay!

The evening draws on and I go upstairs to give S a tea break. It's a quiet evening on this level. Until StM storms through the door and barks to me "Would you log me on?!" and storms out again leaving me stunned. I can't leave the Level 3 desk because of the cash drawer so StM has to stew for a few minutes until S gets back from his break.
StM is not pleased.
StM still smells. I hold my breath while logging his PC on.

According to my colleagues StM has been a student with us doing some mental health papers but dropped out. He was unsuccessful in his application to the Police training school down in Porirua. He's a big guy. I shouldn't like to tangle with him.

StM seems to use the PCs for writing letters or documents about his musings. He thumps the key board with fat fingers like it's a piece of bubblewrap he's trying pop. I'm curious to know what he's writing. I wander officiously over to the copiers and press a few buttons while peering over his shoulder. While holding my breath.

"Dear [insert female name], How are you? I am not good...."

"... the time of the Prophet is at hand..."

"Dear Sir, I am being followed by predators..."

It's fair to say that StM makes me nervous.


  1. Anonymous7:36 pm

    Hmmmm - no wonder his police application was unsuccessful.

  2. Oh dear....maybe he should be receiving MH services not studying MH papers. I hope they look after you when you are working late (safety wise I mean) Maybe you should look at embellishing these stories a bit and writing your own book :-)

  3. Oh dear ... but your story did make me chuckle

  4. I am highly relieved he was NOT accepted to the Police College!!!

  5. Slightly troubling concerns aside, it's amazing how dealing directly with the public brings out all the more *interesting* souls. I hope StM continues to be more of the eccentric interesting type than anything else. :)

  6. Now he wasn't studying those mental health papers for nothing, Penny ;)

    ROFL, you are good! You should write a book, Penny. Seriously!

    Why do soooooooo many stinky people, no lets be frank here, stinky MEN, go to the library?

    When I on the home straight for my degree I used to go to the public rather than the academic to study, because it had a more relaxed vibe (you can just about eat the tension in the air at the Uni library some days, I reckon), stinky men nearly always sat at the table next to or near me, lol. Summertime was the worst!

  7. I laughed while reading this but seriously ou should speak with your manager - there should be strategies or policies for dealing with people like this. It's a H&S issue (and no I'm not overreacting). Your employer has a responsibility to keep you in a safe environment.

  8. He does sound a little disturbing to say the least. However, I did enjoy this bit "He thumps the key board with fat fingers like it's a piece of bubblewrap he's trying pop" - what a perfect image!

  9. I had a StM at one of the libraries I've worked in/ Unfortunately it was a co-worker!
    Nobody had the guts to say "dude you are in a public service role and you are making the patron's eyes water!"

    Perhaps the library can invest in one of those Glade air fresheners, you could spray in his general area?
    Alternatively hang a car deodoriser around the pc?

  10. Hehee that make me giggle ... sorry! But I can imagine being scared in that situation alright! Like others hope there are safety precuations in place! Some libraries have a sign at the door saying please remove dirty boots, maybe you need one that says no entry if you are stinky LOL :-)