It was early one afternoon and I had just finished my computer session at the Salem Public Library. The rain had gone from a light drizzle to a heavy downpour. So after using the restroom, I took a few minutes to cruise the titles of the paperbacks and the newly released hard covers.
A book really has to jump out at me. The title, the cover, and the synopsis are usually the deciding factors, unless there’s a book I really wanted to read ahead of time. But among the rows or romance, science fiction, and classical literature, there was nary a jumper, so I moved on to the racks of movies where an additional factor plays into whether or not I’ll take it home. Mainly, is it worth risking the time it takes to check it out, bring it home, make lunch or dinner and pop it into the DVD-Rom drive only to find out that it’s been so scratched to hell by the previous borrowers that the computer is probably wondering what it’s supposed to do with a Frisbee?
When the weather started to let up, I settled on a movie I had borrowed once before, hoping the quality of the disc hadn’t changed all that much. On the way to the counter, a thought occurred to me as I was taking the library card from my wallet.
One of my friends had mentioned the new Christmas episode of Doctor Who on his Facebook. Best Buy started carrying the first part of Season Seven a few weeks ago, but since I had all ready bought myself two new movies for Christmas it didn’t feel like a good idea to buy it just yet. But one of the libraries in the North of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE) was bound to have had it by now.
Forgetting my desire to get home before the rain picked up again, I went to one of the card catalog computers and typed in “Doctor Who”. The search turned up a bunch of titles that had nothing to do with doctors, let alone nine-hundred year-old men who faced down evil salt and pepper shakers while riding around in a blue police box for a living.
“Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One” revealed even more confusing results. I checked the search parameters and mentally kicked myself for not narrowing the search to “Video Recordings”; this included anything in the VHS or DVD collections. Still nothing. Another drop list included the names of all of the libraries within the NOBLE network and because I was in the Salem Public Library, naturally that was the default setting. I changed it to All Libraries and tried again.
This time “Doctor Who: Series Seven, Part One” yielded the desired result, and my heart soared when I saw that there were only six people on the waiting list. Becoming the seventh “holder” would increase my chances of watching it before the next budding Olympic disk thrower got their hands on it.
While the librarian was checking out my selection, I said, “I’d like to get on the waiting list for Doctor Who, season seven, part one please.”
“Okay, one moment please.” She replied. Something very interesting must have been happening on that screen, because it held her attention for a while. Through the glass doors at the entrance rain was starting to come down a little harder.
“What was it you wanted to hold?” The librarian asked.
“Doctor Who, Season Seven, Part One.” I repeated.
At this point in time a mother was searching the new releases while her two small children sat at the bottom of the staircase leading to the mezzanine and reference sections. As the wind increased in speed and the rain became more intense, the children were the only thing keeping me from getting snippy when the librarian asked, “You said season five, right?”
“No.” I said, calmly. “I know which library season five is at. I could go there myself. It’s season Seven, Part One that I’m looking for.”
“Okay, well season five is all that’s showing up.”
At this point I could have pointed out that the library that held season five of Doctor Who also had both parts of season six as well as the two Christmas Specials featuring Matt Smith. Instead, speaking in the same calm tone,
“I just checked the card catalog. Season Seven, Part One is definitely available.”
The librarian started tapping more keys, but not before giving me an indignant reply.
“Well it’s just the way I typed it in.”
I told you exactly what I wanted twice, I thought.
“It’s all right,” I said, finally. “I’ll just go online myself and get-”
“No, wait a minute,” the librarian said, in her own impatient tone. “I just need to do a different search.”
The movie I had all ready chosen was still in her reach. The younger of the two children was getting antsy and began running around, calling out to her mother and being generally loud, but playful. As long as they’re not directly bothering me, children never annoy me, even in the library. A combination of the need to not be someone people don’t feel safe leaving their kids around and a strong desire to not end up on the secure ward of the hospital a second time in this decade helped me to keep my patience.
“Okay,” she said finally. “Doctor Who, Season Seven?”
“Yes,” I said, wishing I had a cookie to reward her with.
“It’s only part one,” she pointed out.
This, faithful readers, is why I have continuously referred to the DVD by the full search term that I used in the first place. Because you have to ask yourself just how oblivious she could have been to have not heard me clearly refer to the aforementioned season of Doctor Who as such.
“That’s fine,” I said, grateful that I didn’t have a cookie in the first place. I’d have demanded it back.
The Doctor was worth the wait in the end.