The new semester started Monday, and quite a few students came into the library to make photocopies of parts of books. Some didn't have enough money, and some didn't have any at all. I lent one desperate student 40¢, but the rest said they would be back after class. I kept their books for them on my desk.
Last evening a student came in and said she was back for her book. It was the last one left on my desk, and I completely forgot that she had been in the night before to take the book out. I couldn't check it out to her at that time because she didn't have her ID card. So she was back with her card to check out her book, and I, ever the on-the-ball "librarian," was thinking she wanted to make copies.
I handed her the book, and she stood there. I smiled. She smiled.
"Um . . .I'm new at this," she said. "What's the procedure?"
"It takes money," I said, referring to the copy machine.
"Yup, money. It can take dollars . . . "
"Right. Or dimes. Whatever you have."
"Dollars or dimes?"
I wondered why this normal-looking girl kept repeating everything back to me. She still stood there, so I gestured to the copy machine across the room. She turned and looked in its direction, and then turned back to me. Did she not know what a copy machine looked like?
"Where do I go?" she asked.
"Over there," I said. "Against the wall. The copy machine. Here, I'll show..."
"But I just want to take the book out," she said.
As I've said more than once, there's a reason why we have blonde jokes. (She had brown hair, by the way.)