A Sudden Dark Age

Technology is a wonderful thing … until it crashes and burns spectacularly.

We’ve had our own problems (obviously) with technology here around the manse this week; the crash of our Movable Type CMS punted us back into the dark ages of hand-coding web pages (oh the horror!).

But at least we weren’t alone. I went to the Mallett’s Creek branch of the AADL this afternoon and picked out my customary haul of movies (‘cause, after all, it’s my job; around here, Frank’s the Music Nazi, but I’m the Movie Nazi).

But when I went to the self-checkout machines, the screen was filled with an apology notice, ending with ‘See Circulation Staff.’

I went up to the circ desk (fortunately there was no line), where, after 15 tries to make the reader recognize my library card, the librarian was left scrambling for (oh the horror!) a pen and paper. The entire library system was down.

She found a few forms and a pen and wrote down my card number and then had to list the bar codes for all 12 of my movies.

This was followed by the kicker: It took her and another librarian to figure out when the movies were due back. They had difficulty deciding the date one week hence that I am to return the items. Quite a line was beginning to form at this point. Finally, they decided on April 22 as the due date (‘15 plus 7 equals 22, doesn’t it?’).

And then high technology came back to the rescue: She used a ‘Post-It’ note to write the due date and stick it on the movie box (‘Do you want one for each of your 12 movies, sir?’ she asked. ‘No thanks, that’s not necessary,’ I said, my eyes a little wide).

It’s so good to know that some technology is reliable … I simply cannot imagine what would have happened if that sticky note had not worked.