I have officially done it. I was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The extra brick that tipped the load. I officially, totally, no way to fix it, ruined someone’s day. The day at the library started out normal enough. It was a rather calm day, the kids were actually under control and there weren’t any major irritations. Then IT happened. A girl came up to the desk asking for paper to put into the printer that is attached to the computer located in the Reference Department. A co-worker took the paper back and put it into the printer. A few minutes later the girl came back up and showed us what the printer was printing. For lack of a more technical term I’ll call it gobledy goop. So, because I have a little more experience with computers I was elected to go back and help her out. I tried turning the printer off…I tried canceling the print documents in the printer’s queue…I tried everything that I knew to do, but the printer wouldn’t cancel the job that it was working on. I figured that the computer would need to be restarted, but we had to save her document first. That is when I got the brilliant, but poorly executed plan that ruined the girl’s day.
By now, you may already know where this story is going, but bear with me; I must finish it. I told this young lady that I could save the file to a flash drive and then print it from the computers at the desk. (Unfortunately, the computer in Reference isn’t networked to the main printer in the building.) So, I hurriedly went to the office to retrieve the Staff flash drive, but it wasn’t hanging in it’s normal spot; I couldn’t find it anywhere. Since I didn’t want to keep her waiting I decided to use a floppy disk to transfer the information over. The very tired young lady watched as I saved the information on the disk and asked if that was going to work. I confidently told her that it should be just fine. After quickly saving the information on the disk I closed the program on that computer. Big mistake!
When I got up to the desk I put the disk into one computer and tried to load the Microsoft Word file, but Word just locked up. That was rather troubling, but I hoped that if I put the disk into another computer I would be able to open the file. Unfortunately, that didn’t work either. After many agonizing minutes of trying to get the information I had to go and tell the girl that I had lost her Spanish homework that she was typing. She had worked on it for awhile and didn’t have anything written down. I wished that she had because I would have typed it back up for her. As it was, I recognized the anguished look on her face that she was going to have to hastily leave the library so that we wouldn’t see her crying. Her mother explained that her daughter had been very stressed lately and didn’t have much time to do her homework as it was. My prayer is that she will be able to find time to redo her work. If it was something I could have done for her I would have.
Then, later tonight, someone else was having trouble printing from the same computer. I didn’t want to help her out for fear of messing up her work as well. By then I remembered that I had my flash drive in my purse so I pulled it out and saved her work on it. This time I didn’t close Word either…we left the document up on the screen. Of course, I plugged my flash drive into the other computer, opened the file and it printed just fine. Life is strange that way, how you can totally ruin one person’s day and then you can be helpful to another all while trying to complete the same task. From now on I think I will refuse to use floppy diskettes. I certainly learned what not to do in a situation like that (i.e. close the Word document before the file is tested on another computer.) I suppose that will go down as another eventful, but not in a good way, day at the library.