I am having a bad hair day. It’s winter, and there is no moisture in the air, so my hair is full of static electricity. When I finally get it looking halfway decent, I have to put on a hat or pull up my hood because it’s cold outside. If I don’t at least pull up my hood, the wind will make a mess of it in the time it takes to walk from the car to work.
I notice other people’s hair, I don’t know why. When Crosby started working here, he shaved his head bald, but now he’s let a little ring of hair grow around behind his ears, and he’s growing a Santa beard. Karen has beautiful, thick reddish blond hair and she wears it differently every day. If she doesn’t do anything to it, it falls a little below her shoulders in a mass of thick curls.
I look at people who come up to the circulation desk, and they are all so very different. One regular patron is an elderly lady who is overweight with long, scraggly gray hair. She checks out the literary books, like Moby Dick and Elizabeth George. Another elderly lady is tall and slender, with perfectly coifed hair and makeup that looks like she took an hour to paint it on. She checks out run-of-the-mill romance novels. You just can’t judge people by their appearance, and I try very hard not too. I like the occasional run-of-the-mill romance novel, too, and I did not do well when I tried Elizabeth George.
Marilyn was absolutely right when she heard about the police incident on Saturday. She did not complain about the way we handled it, but she told us to be careful next time. The man who was looking at images that James considered offensive was not doing anything illegal. He politely desisted when Crosby asked him to, probably because he was trying hard not to draw attention to himself since it turned out he did have a police record. But you can’t dress like that and not draw attention to yourself, really.
As Marilyn said, he could have put up a big stink. It could have resulted in bad publicity for the library, which is the opposite of what a publicly funded institution is looking for.
James, in a nutshell, was judging the man by what he looked and smelled like. He looked like an “unsavory character,” bundled head to toe in winter clothes with only his eyes showing. When I walked by at James’ request, the man was looking at news sites. The site that James found so offensive was titled “non-naked pre-teen models,” but the girls were all wearing leotards. If the man had been clean cut and wearing a suit, he could have been shopping for dance clothes for his daughter, for all James knew.
James reacted based on preconceived ideas and stereotypes. He made his own judgement of the man’s morals based on appearances. He was wrong to do that. I heard yesterday that he has done that in the past, also, making snarky comments about the occasional patron to us after the patron is gone. I am going to keep a closer eye on him, and I will call him on it if he does that in my hearing.
I’m probably old enough to be James’ mother, and I’ve learned over the years that snarkiness is not an attractive quality. It might be funny at first, but it wears you down after a while. I like James; he is a nice guy, very easy-going and always smiling or laughing. But snarky, sometimes. We all have potential to be snarky. Just don’t say it out loud.
If my hair won’t behave, I’ll just put a hat on it.