Lifts, Firemen and Photocopiers

It’s been an interesting day – in the sense of the Chinese curse – and I’m glad to be finally home and putting my feet up for half an hour or so. I was working at the library today, which is always a useful thing for reminding me how to interact with relatively normal people and not to exist purely in an online echo chamber. Being a job that involves working with the public it always has ups and downs, depending on how they and you are feeling at any particular point in time.

Today was perhaps a bit too focused on ups and downs. We have a volunteer who comes in on a Thursday morning to help people with IT issues. It’s usually showing people how to configure their wireless settings on their tablets, or how to order groceries online or do basic formulae in Excel – very much a mixed bag, but he’s friendly, helpful and usually able to work out what people actually need as opposed to what they say they want. Today, he’d just greeted his first client of the day, and they had stepped into our somewhat elderly lift to go up to a quiet corner upstairs. The doors closed, the lift started, and then there was silence.

Eventually, there was an alarm, for a moment. Then more silence, and another longer alarm. This was where we collectively sighed and began hitting buttons to try and jog the lift free. While shouting through the doors to them, I worked out that they were lodged about halfway between floors, and his client was an elderly lady with a heart condition. Another few moments passed while I broke into the lift machinery room to try and reset the lift – something that should force the lift to return to the ground floor as it is a hydraulic-based system – but there was no joy there. Meanwhile, a phonecall to our helpdesk informed us that it would take at least an hour to get an engineer to us.

Calling the fire brigade instead was a no-brainer, so that was what we did, knowing that there was a station about five minutes walk along the road (we’re lucky like that). Suffice to say, things got sorted very quickly, and when the engineer did arrive, some three hours later, he got a slightly chilly reception from our assistant manager. Thankfully, no one was hurt or too badly distressed, but we laid on cups of tea and a quiet place to sit for them, and some boxes of quality street for the fire brigade to enjoy at the station in their own time (seemed only fair).

Compared to that, the general round of lost books, queries on fines, small children trailing items and scooters and not sobbing every time the photocopier decided to change its settings halfway through someone’s run has been quite low key – but it’s definitely been a large mocha day.

Just as well it’s pay day – I’ve just treated myself to the Master Chief Collection at last – just a 15Gb patch to download now…