At the time this story takes place I was living in Danvers, Massachusetts and I was still using my Vermont State ID. It hadn’t yet expired and Ocean State Job Lot wasn’t paying quite enough to be able to afford a MASS ID and pay the rent for my room/roommate’s drug habit.
I don’t know how it works in every other library in the world, but in the North of Boston Library exchange, if you misplace your card, you can still borrow materials as long as you use the identification you used to apply for the card in the first place. I had used my Vermont ID and since the Salem Public Library is in the same network as the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers, I was continuing to borrow items without an issue… until one uppity librarian at the latter library freaked out over two letters.
If you’ve followed the other entries of the same title, or if you’re observant enough to have read my full name, you know that I have an unusual spelling. It’s not something you would really expect to cause so many problems and in reality, it shouldn’t, but that doesn’t stop people from choosing to make things more complicated.
I brought a DVD to the counter. Keep in mind that again, this is the Peabody Institute Library of Danvers and not the library of the same name in Peabody. Do your own research to find out why this is the case, but just keep this fact in mind so that there is no confusion over which library is catching the brunt of my wrath in this entry.
The librarian, a vacuous woman of questionable octogenarianism, took one look at my ID and then looked at the name on the screen of her computer.
“Um, this name isn’t the same as what I have here.”
I was confused.
“It’s Nathanielle Crawford.”
“But on the ID it’s spelled (she proceeds to spell my first name, but leaves out the “L” and “E”)”.
I had to resist the urge to roll my eyes. Actually, no, I didn’t resist the urge, because it was a ridiculous technicality. I couldn’t tell if she was being deliberately obtuse or if this was her mindset by default, but I calmly explained to her that I have no power over how the employees at the DMV choose to write my name. I spell it the same way every time, but they feel the need to knock a letter off for whatever reason. (A big shout-out to the employees of the RMV in Massachusetts, who did not feel the need to make my life as difficult when I finally got my Mass ID. Thank you.)
The librarian suffered a BSOD as I asked her why there was a problem now when I had been using that ID to check out materials since I started using the Danvers Library. Then she asked the stupidest question I have ever been asked by any employee working within the NOBLE system.
“Do you still live in Vermont?”
At that point I just gave up. What precisely did she think was so special about the Peabody Institute Library that I would make that commute? Of course the Hindsight Detectives may swoop in and defend her, projecting their own assumptions into her mind, but trust me when I say that there was no thought process whatsoever in her reasoning.
The real kicker was that she put a “red flag” on my account so that I couldn’t borrow books from anywhere within the network until I proved my residential status. Never mind that I had proven it sufficiently for the people of Salem and that my ID had been the same one I used for six months.
All over two letters.
Well, Peabody Institute Library, I hope it was worth the hassle, but just keep in mind that it wasn’t the only problem I had with you over the years and that I have a whole bag of bad karma to spray the Internet with the next time I have a remotely inconvenient encounter with one of your employees.