I didn’t mean to do it.
The clerk was trying to teach me to do something for myself
but I had neither time nor inclination.
I just wanted a book, and if the one I had requested from the other campus wasn’t there,
it didn’t matter where it was in the system
or whether it was coming.
Today I could pick it up, not tomorrow or later.
It wasn’t here, so I just wanted to sign out the book in my hand.
When she tried to explain what I should do to trace the path of the missing book
explain the complex library system, invite me to log into a computer off to the side,
I gave her the look.
I didn’t mean to, but I did.
She froze and her sentence stuttered to a halt,
eyes gaping at me.
She passed my book over the scanner, gulping.
I apologized for not being teachable.
I don’t know where I developed the look,
I don’t realize I’m doing it until I see the reaction.
I don’t know what I’m doing precisely
that conveys such intense disinterest and disapproval
but it does.
At least I didn’t have to sit for ten minutes
for a lecture and computer consultation, like she wanted.
Three minutes in the university library was long enough
when I am hobbling with a cane
and irritated with accessibility.