Aspie Moments #7: Dilemma at the library

I went to the library on Saturday and was faced with a little dilemma. No, it wasn’t “shall I try to cram more books into my bag and risk ripping the fabric”. Nor was it “shall I go for Honor Student At Magic High School or So Cute It Hurts” (aren’t Japanese manga titles just the best?).

No, what happened was this:

I used one of the self-service terminals to return a small pile of books. When the terminal has registered your books, it tells you to put them onto the shelves next to the terminal. Sometimes it tells you to put a book into a “bin”, actually a big box with a slot. What this terminal told me was this:

“Put the books onto the shelves on your right.”

To the right of the terminal was a bin. To the left of the terminal were the shelves. So, left or right? Shelves or bin? That was the first dilemma.

I could have just put the books somewhere and walked away. They get put in the bin when they need some special treatment, like they have been reserved by another reader or were issued in a different branch. It was highly unlikely that all the books I’d returned would fall into that category, but you never know, right? If they were reserved but I put them onto the shelf, they just rejoin the general population, and someone might just grab them. I know this because I have taken books off the shelves which at the point of issue turned out to be reserved. I was usually allowed to borrow them anyway, because, as the staff explained, it was their mistake, and what is on the shelves is up for grabs. The reserving person would just have to wait longer. I didn’t want to make the potential reserving person wait longer by putting the books in the wrong place.

So, I was facing the second dilemma: do I just put the books down, walk away, ignore the first dilemma and look like a normal person? Or do I do what I perceive to be the right thing and ask? I was tempted to just walk away – no one likes to make themselves conspicuous – but then I thought, no. Be yourself. Embrace your Aspieness. Acknowledge the dilemma and search for a solution.

So I took my Aspie self to the information desk and asked. And yes, I got a look that said “why are you wasting my time with this nonsense?” but I didn’t care. Actually, I did care. It made me feel very uncomfortable. It shortened my stay at the library, where I usually like to hang out for a while. But I did it. I didn’t choose the “looking normal” option. And in a very small way, I’m kind of proud of that.

(By the way, it should have been the shelves.)


9 thoughts on “Aspie Moments #7: Dilemma at the library

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    1. I think if my brain didn’t spring into action at the slightest provocation, I would have put the bools down and be done with it. However, there I was, thinking of the consequences and the consequences of consequences…

      Liked by 2 people

  1. As Ben would say, “Well done!👏” I hate situations like that. I always feel like I’m on a hidden camera or something 😂 plus it’s really annoying when the instructions are unclear.
    Luckily our library self-return is a slot with a belt. The books go in, get scanned returned and fall into a bin in the back.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, thank you Ben! Yes, life is full of these little dilemmas. I think it’s because people take shortcuts in their expressions, like “type the numbers into the pink box”. There isn’t a pink box, there is a white box on a pink background. Most of the time you can guess what is meant, but a nagging uncertainty persists.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love what you did! I honestly think the world would be a better place if everyone approached these dilemmas like you did 👏🏼👏🏼😊. I’m sorry you got met with rudeness, though – seriously, it was their mistake, not yours, they caused the confusion by being prats, not you, so why were they so stuck-up toward you? The way they treated you bothers me too 💐. Anyhow, well done, dear one! 👍🏼💗

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It takes courage to do what you did. The fear of appearing odd is what contributes to social phobias. Social phobias is part of the reason I didn’t learn self-defense until I was in my twenties, why I found it so hard to look for and find a job, why I was afraid to order a hamburger at Mcdonald. I hate asking people for directions on the streets. But getting over those fears and not being ashamed of being different helps achieving what you want in life. Can’t let the fear of what others will think get in the way.

    Liked by 1 person

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