2004-04-14 • An Incident

“Law Library. Reference.”

“Hello. Yes. Hello?”

“Go ahead. I can hear you.”

“Hello? Is this the law library?”


“Is this the reference desk at the law library?”


“Ok. Good.”

“Yes. How can I help you?”

“I have a question.”

“Yes, go ahead.”

“I need some information.”

“I’ll do my best.”

“I need you to tell me–what is your name by the way?”


“Ok. Brian. Ok. I need you to tell me something.”

“Do you have a question?”

“Well, yes. Of course I do. I called you didn’t I?”

“You did call, yes.”

“Exactly. Now, Brian, my question is this. I need information about the Justice Studies Association’s anual confrence.”

“I’ve not heard of such a confrence. Is it being held at the law school?”

“No. It’s in I think Madison, Wisconsin.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t clear. This is the Rutgers Law School Library in Newark, New Jersey. You’ve misdialed terribly.”

“Just get me some information about the confrence.”

“What kind of information are you looking for?”

“I want to know if I’m presenting at the confrence.”

“Ma’am have you contacted the confrence directly to ask? Isn’t that the kind of thing that the confrence would advise you about ahead of time?”

“No. I’ve not been in contact with them.”

“Well, what is your name?”


“I’ll need your whole name – ma’am are you ok?”

“I’m fine.”

“It’s just that you stopped breathing for a second there.”

“I’m fine. Why would you need my whole name?”

“Well, if I find some information about the confrence they’re not going to list presenters by their first name. It’s not an AA meeting.”

“So, you found the confrence? Is it in Madison?”

“I’ve not looked yet. I need to know what to look for.”

“Well, look then.”

“I’ve found a website for the confrence. There do not appear to be any D------s presenting at this time.”


“Ma’am are you sure you’re ok? It sounds like you’re moving your sofa. Do you need me to hold?”

“No. Hey listen, while I have you on the line I need a phone number for Google.”


“Yeah. Their number.”

“This is a law library.”

“Eight hundred if they have one.”

“Well, let me see. I’ve found a corporate phone number for you.”

“Ok. Give me that.”


“Did you say 650?”


“Not 800?”

“Right. 650.”

“Where is that? 650?”

“It’s in Mountain View, California.”

“Do they have an 800 number?”

“They may, but you’ll need to call directory assistance to find it. I’ve found you a 650 number. Would you like it?”

“Yeah, I guess. But I’ll have to get a pen.”

“You asked for a phone number but you don’t have a pen?”

“No. Hold on. I’ll get a pen.”

And that’s when she flushed the toilet.

Read it again.

She flushed the Goddamn loo.

She’d called me, you see, to have a chat and ask all kinds of questions that are outside of my job description from the stool while she was having a movement. And she wanted me to provide her with information requiring her to take notes, but she didn’t bring a pen and paper with her. She’d only taken her cordless phone.

She did not wash her hands.

“Ok, I’ve got a pen now.”


“Slower. Slowly.”

“6. 5. 0. 6. 1. 8. 1. 4. 9. 9.”

“Did you say 618?”

“Yes. 6. 1. 8. 1. 4. 9. 9.”

“Ok. I wish that were an 800 number.”

“Yeah. Me too. Listen, I’ve got to run to the restroom, so I need to let you go now,” at which point I terminated the call.

Posted at 6:17 p.m.

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