It may not come as much of a surprise but the library attracts a lot of seniors. My library also happens to be located only a few blocks from several seniors homes. Most of them are quiet, polite and don’t make much of a mess. Generally speaking, they’re the best behaved so the least noticeable.
Hey, if you want to stand out at the library, you need to be a special brand of weird. Wig Lady and Albert are a good example of this.
Don’t ask me how we know they’re brother and sister. I’m not sure. I’m not even sure if it’s true but it’s something that everyone at the library just “knows”. Same goes for how we know his name is Albert. I haven’t got a clue. That’s just what we all call him and it fits.
Wig Lady, I’m sure you’ve guessed (being the clever people you all are), is known for her wig. It’s bad. It’s the kind of bad only a bad wig can be. It could only be made worse if it had a chin strap. It’s dark brown, curly and about three sizes to big for her head. She is a tiny, frail looking woman to begin with and the addition of this giant monstrosity and glasses that cover a good 75% of her face… well, it’s not a good look.
She also has a tendency to fall asleep upstairs around the magazines. This is something that’s a little nerve racking for some of our staff. Her advanced age, general frailness and stillness when sleeping is a little worrying some days.
One afternoon, one of our more uptight staff members came rushing in to the back. When she’s wound up about something she whispers and talks faster than I’ve ever heard anyone talk in my life and when she came in to the back room she was going at full speed.
“You know the lady who wears the wig?”
Yes, I do. Wig Lady.
“I think she’s dead.”
I wasn’t sure if she was serious or not.
“I was upstairs getting a magazine and I think she’s dead!” I laughed. “It’s not funny! I think she’s dead! I was standing there for like five minutes watching her and she didn’t move! I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I go poke her with something?”
Like a stick? After laughing some more and having her tell me repeatedly that it wasn’t funny, I promised to go and check.
Before I could, Wig Lady walked past the counter. Alive and well. I was also informed that it still wasn’t funny.
But let’s not forget Albert, who is in now way any less special. He looks like he’s closing in on 100 and hating every second of it. I have never, ever seen him without a scowl and I’ve never, ever heard him speak. He just glares and scowls.
He normally takes a pile of magazines and sets them on his table where he ignores them. Despite that I’ve never seen him even glance at the magazines, he will not let you take them and re-shelve them. It’s been suggested more than once that he just likes to make sure we have extra to put away at the end of the day.
Aside from being a grump and hoarding magazines for no apparent reason, for years we never really had any legitimate complaints about the guy. Until one day when one of my co-workers went up to do pick-up early and caught him at the news papers.
The papers come every day (obviously) and the current papers are hung in alphabetical order and the back issues are kept in hanging folders. When we do pick up we have to go through them all and make sure they’re in order. The papers are in constant use and so are one of the messiest and most time consuming sections.
When my co-worker came around the corner, there was Albert. He was taking all of the meticulously organized newspapers and pulling them out one at a time and stuffing them back again in random places.
“Excuse me!” My friend snapped.
Albert looked flatly at her and walked away like nothing happened.
We also discovered that this had been his daily ritual for ages.
It’s always the quiet ones.