This blog is the first in a series that I will call something along the lines of “How Samara Lost her Cool”… I don’t know. That’s a working title. Don’t hold me to that. I’m sure I will think of something more pithy and creative as time goes on.
Regardless, I think that title clearly illustrates the kinds of stories you will be told in this series.
So with that, enjoy.
I was a mere four years old when I became the proud owner of my very own library card. I was entering into kindergarten when a kindly librarian explained the rules and responsibilities included in owning this magic card. She talked briefly about respecting the books and due dates and then handed me the key into a vast world of literature and imagination.
Of course, I lost that card. But, after a short lecture I was given a new card… which I evenutally lost as well. The cycle continued into adulthood. (Though, I can proudly say I have not lost my most recent Omaha Public Library card and still use it to check-out digital books which I devour from my devices. Whoop whoop for maturity!)
But today I have a different story to tell. While about a library card, yes, this story lacks the whimsy and delight that my former library card memories hold. No sweet Miss Honeys handing a starry-eyed kindergartener the key to the world… no forgiveness and second chances… No, no, this my friends, is the devastatingly true story of getting my Chiang Mai University library card.
The tale begins January 2017.
I started my employment at Chiang Mai University (CMU) and quickly realized that in order to properly fulfill my job requirements, I would need access into the university’s library. As a university employee, I thought this would be simple enough.
I thought wrong.
Apparently, my getting an employee library card was a ludicrous thought and would most likely not happen. And, at first, I resigned to this reality. I just made students check out books for me or used my charms to sneak in and do my job.
This worked. The combination of my status and smile tended to work well enough when it came to manipulating students into doing what I asked them to. I’m not entirely proud of this, but… you know… street smarts.
Four months later. Still no library card.
The university tells my co-worker (Caleb) and I that our office is going to be renovated and we will be relocated to the library until the renovation is complete.
Ok, well, this is all fine and dandy… with one small problem… neither of us have access into the library.
We would literally not be able to get into our offices.
So, I re-started my university library card campaign. This time with a bit more zeal, thinking that this should no longer be looked at as a ludicrous request, but as a necessity.
Well, I should have known this but, my thoughts are not CMU’s thoughts and my ways of doing things… are not CMU’s ways.
Two months later… after lots juggling around where our office is/will be and how to get into the library without access, Caleb and I were given the appropriate documents, from the president of the university in order to get our employee library card.
This was a big deal and I was overjoyed.
With this magical piece of plastic, I would FINALLY have access to the university’s library–including the coffee shop tucked away inside.
Or, as should be expected, so I thought.
The day after receiving my beautifully official card (signed off by the president of the university) I waltzed into the library.
Apparently my card needed to be activated. And to be honest, I was pretty cool about it. Should be easy enough.
Once again, I thought wrong.
In order to activate my official employee card, I needed to fill out three more forms and have them signed by the dean of the international college. My argument that the PRESIDENT of the university already signed my papers held no weight as, clearly those were different forms and these forms need to be signed my the dean.
Deep breathe Samara, you are so close.
Miracle of miracles, as I exited the library I ran into the dean! I showed him the forms and without blinking an eye he signed them all!
Excitedly, I skipped back into the library thinking that I could fill out the *already signed* forms with the librarian .
And for the fifth time, I thought wrong.
A Quick Aside:
In the Thai language there is a word that adults use when talking to young children and young children will use when referring to themselves and talking to adults. The word is หนู (nuu) and translates, in this instance, as “little mouse”. Cute.
With my signed forms in hand I head confidently back to the main librarian. Thinking that I would just fill the forms out with her, I truly believed that my card would be activated and I would, after six months of employment, have entrance into the University’s library.
Smiling and full of assurance, I was greeted with the icy smile of a disgruntled government employee.
She quickly informed me that, “You, little mouse, can not fill these forms out by yourself. No, little mouse, these forms cannot just be signed, but they need to be filled out by the appropriate person, little mouse. If you would just do things right, little mouse, you wouldn’t have all these problems, little mouse.”
Now, I’m not exactly proud of what happened next, but I had had enough. I was done. I could not handle the ridiculous crushing of my library card hopes any longer. This, compounded by the abject disrespect from the librarian by repeatedly calling me ‘little mouse’, resulted in something… well… not so pretty.
When it was my turn to speak, I lost it. Employee card in my hand and pointing at my job title, I said, “I am not a little mouse; I am an expert!” I then continued to rant and rave about the obscurity and complete insanity of Chiang Mai University as an institution. I went on and on until I felt my Thai wasn’t strong enough to continue and as she opened her mouth to respond to my flip out, I stood up, pushed in my chair and walked away.
Fortunately, eight months into my employment at CMU, my forms have been filled out by the acceptable people and my card has officially been activated. AND, believe it or not, I have even had an ‘apology’ conversation with the librarian. So alls well.
At least until 30 September, when I have to renew my card.