Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Mark on the Library Floor

A Note for the Squeamish: What follows is a story of horrific horrificness. Those with weak stomachs are advised to go back to yesterday's post and watch the Alan Rickman video again, or Google "cute kitten pictures" and stare at them until I write another, less disgusting post.

Someone asked me for a book, and it was upstairs, so I went upstairs to the shelf where the book lives. On the way, I noticed an odor, but I kept walking because I work in a public library in a building that was constructed over a hundred years ago, and that means smells.

But when I rounded the corner on my way to the shelf, I encountered the source of the smell. Footprints marred the otherwise immaculate carpet. Yellowey, brownish orange footprints. Someone had tracked what I imagined to be dog crap through the library.

There are lots of dogs in the world, and lots of feet. It's only understandable that human feet will meet dog waste at some point in history, especially when dogs and humans spend so much time around each other. So, dog poo on feet. Sadly, in this instance, the foot had not noticed the transition between Foot and Dog Poo Foot. That happens. It's unpleasant, but it happens.

"Oh," I said as I discovered the footprints. "Someone tracked dog poo..." I pointed.

"Ugh!" said our director. "Ewww!"

I agreed. He emerged from behind the circulation desk. We stared. I grabbed the book and went downstairs as the director followed.

I handed the book to the patron who had wanted it. This was the priority: The patron I was helping. The director grabbed a key to the server room to grab various solvents to clean the mess. One of my coworkers joined him, leaving me to help the patron in the Children's Room. This meant I could not leave the Children's Room, which I thought was awfully lucky.

Cleaners obtained, my coworker and the director went upstairs. I watched the scene, which to me, seemed more akin to a prison movie execution sequence than just two people walking up a flight of stairs.

Time passed.

Suddenly, my coworker was back, asking for air freshening sprays. I handed her all we had. She vanished.

Time passed.

Now I was beginning to worry. Had the mess been so much bigger than what I'd originally seen? Was it so deeply embedded in the carpet that the two could not be separated, forcing us to change our name to That Library that Always Smells Like Dog Poo?

My coworker returned. She looked at me. "That wasn't dog," she said darkly. It was too smelly to be mud, I thought. Too smelly, and too not-mud-colored. Certainly it was feces. It had to be feces. Cow? Too yellow. Sick cow? Maybe.

"That was human," my coworker said.


"No," I said.

"Somebody couldn't make it to the restroom," she said.

"Weren't they wearing pants?!" I asked.

"It fell out their pant leg," she replied. "He went into the restroom, came out, and tried to get on the computer."

Now, if I had accidentally had a bowel movement inside a public building, and the results of the bowel movement were such that said movement was liberated from my pants, I would flee. If I chose to flee into a restroom, I would never leave. They would have to remove the door from its hinges and arrest me. Otherwise I would just stay right where I was, so my face would never be associated with my leavings.

This guy? Not so much. He just cleaned up a bit (not his shoes) and went over to the computers and checked Facebook. They found him by following his tracks

The carpet is clean now. The building now smells like evergreen lemons, because those were the two scents of Oust they sprayed upstairs. The man was asked to leave. But the question remains: What would cause a person to care so little about soiling themselves in public that they'd sit down and check Facebook moments after a warm, yellowey brownish orange friend rolled down their pant leg and hit the carpet?

And that leads us to our question of the day. What would his status update be?


  1. Heee. I am still thinking up status updates for him. We should make a list...

  2. "is glad to be at the library where they have fast internet, and the most warm, cooshy chairs..."

  3. "They found him by following his tracks." Can't. Stop. Laughing.

  4. Gah. The guy at Rite Aid just continued walking around shopping, without stopping at the bathroom. We had no idea how to handle it. Thankfully, I wasn't tasked with cleaning it up.

    1. How CAN you handle something like that? "Excuse me, sir. Please avoid soiling yourself in public, as it is unhygienic. We ask that you refrain from soiling yourself until you have left company property." THAT?