Every once in a while, I meet patrons and they are so...interesting...that I just have to shake my head. One such patron could probably be the topic of an entire blog, but since we only deliver to his unit once a week, I will leave that blog to him about himself when he gets out.
Usually, every time we see this patron he ignores us because he was mad that we couldn't answer his information request for free money for felons. Now, future prison librarians, this is the #1 urban legend in prison. For some reason, felons have gotten it in their head that just because they are felons, there is all this free money for them out there when they get out to "help them get back on their feet." Now, there are many social welfare agencies that help ex-offenders, but they are convinced that they can just write to an organization and get a check, if only we would get them the address. My thoughts on this are, "I am a law-abiding citizen who pays my taxes, yet there is no free money for me. Why should you, a convicted felon who can't follow the rules of society, just be handed tons of free money upon release from prison simply because you were in prison?"
But I digress...
So the other day, I guess this patron decided he didn't hate us anymore because he was very chatty about every topic under the sun. As we were handing out books, he asked, "So. Did you have to go to some sort of liiiiiiiiiiiiieberry school to get this gig?" "I have a Master's degree," I replied. "Ha," he retorted, "I gots a degree too!" "Oh really?" I played along, "What's that?" "I have a DOCTORATE in STREETOLOGY!"
He then proceeded to give me a 30 minute sociology lesson and breakdown of street life. I wish I had a recorder so I could transcribe it verbatim because it was HILARIOUS! Since we are not in the practice of recording our patron's conversations though, all I remember was that where he came from "Pimps wear size 8 dresses and size 6 shoes!" because apparently in his 'hood all pimps are women. Or maybe cross-dressers. He also explained the difference between thugs and hustlers (hustlers are still climbing up the gangster social ladder, whereas thugs are near the top) and told me all about his plan to "find a lady who needs to pay off her bills and form a mutually-beneficial partnership with her so they can make tons of money." (Sounds like prostitution to me I said, oh no, not at all he said.) Sometimes I like to ask patrons questions about what they're talking about to find out more information, but I think this patron thought my questions meant that I was interested in living this "thug life" but I corrected him and said "Oh no, my interest is purely anthropological." To which he replied, "Now don't go using all those big words with me!" To which we handed him a dictionary.
Now, after we left the unit when we completed our deliveries, I thought, oh, I'll go write a Prison Laugh o' the Day about that conversation and be done with it but that was not to be. The next week, I had to go do deliveries by myself, and when I was there, Mr. Dr. Street Thug Hustler came up and said "My case manager said I need to holler at you, because you gots to give me the governor's application for clemency! I gots to get out of here so I can go make some more money and drive my Cadillacs! Do you like Cadillacs?" Whenever patrons ask me personal questions, I usually answer with "No" to give them the opportunity to drop it before I have to lecture them about appropriate conversations with staff, but he was not so easily dissuaded. He followed with "Well what kind of cars DO you like?" at which point I said "I do not talk about my personal life at work." That ended it for the day, but I am interested to see what he comes up with next time.