I look up, but there's no one in front of me. Curious, I stand and look over the top of the counter. On the other side is a short man. The top of his head doesn't even reach the counter, and he's looking very annoyed.
"Can I help you?" I ask, leaning a bit further over the desk.
"I can't get my e-mail account to work, and it's driving me nuts," he says. I note the heavy bags under his eyes and the torn pants he's wearing. It's probably difficult for him to find pants that fit.
"Well, what exactly is the problem?"
"When I try to log in, it says I need to come here to show my ID. Here it is." He offers me an old, dirty BuckID that looks like it's been used as a doormat. Usually these things break, but this one was torn and covered in green streaks.
Taking the ID, I open up one of my A/R screens, and grab a sheet of paper. I check his account, and, smiling to myself, I circle three steps on the front of the sheet. Handing it across the desk, I ask, "Is that what you were doing?"
"It is," he says. "When I did the last step, it told me to come here."
"Well, it seems your account is already active. Do you remember the password that you activated it with?"
"Okay. Go back over to the lab and try authenticating with your username and password. Follow the second set of instructions. You don't have to do the first set, because you already did that." I circled the proper section and handed it down to the short man. He looked at it for a moment, mumbled a short, quiet, "Thanks," and wandered out the door.
Fastforward a bit more.
Six asian men come into our office. Not one speaks good English. The one with the best English skills begins to speak for the group.
"We are needing our ID's activated for e-mail. What to do?"
"Can I see your OSU ID's?" I ask, hopefully.
"We don't have any yet. We came here first," he explains, as I fight to keep from rolling my eyes.
"Do you have any photo ID's?"
The confer among themselves for a few moments, I presume over the word "photo". I let them talk, and then, almost as if they had practiced before coming in, the all reach into the left pocket of their Levi's and pull out a passport.
At this point I want them all to go away. Regardless of my own inner feelings, I smile and take the closest passport. It's from China, and the smiling Chinese guy in the picture is wearing a red Mao cap and has an ideological glint to his eye. I compare this quickly with the MTV-heavy metaphor before me, and give a mental shrug. Ideology only goes so far.
I have no identifying university ID number, no social security number, and no unique number to search on. Frowning a bit, I do a look-up on his last name, Lao, which brings up a couple thousand. I eventually narrow it down to the correct Lao, and find out he has an account already. I quietly sigh, and hand him back his passport, asking the usual questions: does he remember the password, has he tried logging in, and does he check his mail from home. I give him the information he needs, and move onto the next passport.
Every one of them had accounts active and working. I wanted to jump out the window.
After an hour of dead time, I'm the only person at the front desk. I'm into my various tickets, trying to respond to various incidents of software piracy, overt disregard for the contract the user signed, and demands from a guy who is not my boss to "jump" when he says so.
In the middle of this madness, I closed my eyes and raised my eyebrows, hoping that it would all go away when I reopened my eyes. Miracle of miracles, it did, because when I opened my eyes, I forgot about the tickets entirely.
Through the door, heels clicking on the lenolium, glides a goddess. Well, I grant I never saw a goddess go, but she nearly fit the abstract idea I had of one.
She was blonde, which is not something I'm into (except on rare occasions like this one), and she stood a little shorter than me. She carried a black leather binder in her left hand, and with her right, she reached up to take off her sunglasses.
She walked right up to me, set the binder down, and paused to run her fingers through her long hair. It wasn't a strained pause, as if demanding I look at her. It was merely a pause that allowed her to collect her thoughts before speaking.
She turned her eyes on mine now, and their icy blue sparkled playfully. She smiled a half-smile, and then started to speak.
"I need a copy of SAS." Her voice belonged to her. It may sound strange, but it was just as beautiful as the rest of her, and it suited her perfectly.
"Can I see your OSU ID?" I asked, amazed I'd gotten nine syllables out without having to repeat any of them.
She paused a moment. Oddly, I wondered if I had said something wrong, but I knew I hadn't. "I don't know if I have it," she said, and she opened her binder to look.
With most customers, I hope they don't, because then I can send them away and hopefully have someone else help them when they come back. This time was different, though. I really wanted her to have her ID.
"Here it is!" she exclaimed, bringing me out of my thoughts. She smiled at me as she handed it across my desk. I took it from her, making the conscious decision to let my fingers brush lightly against hers as I took it. My heart stopped when I touched them.
I smiled back, and began entering the numbers into the system. Quickly, I did some extra work, ostenably to make sure she was affiliated, but really because I was curious. She was slightly older than me (about 6 months), in Grad School for Chemistry, and there was a large "U" next to her marital status. So, she was at least *sort of * available.
I got up to get a license agreement for her to sign, grabbed the checkout book, and wandered around the desk to get a set of software and to look at her legs. They were magnificent, and the tight black skirt she was wearing didn't hurt, either. Curvy, tall, and a great set of legs. Wow.
I sat back down at my desk, and asked her a few standard questions while I processed the payment. I was working quick on the payment and the loan of software.
Suddenly she asked me a question: "So how many computers can I install this on? I've got a computer in my bedroom at home, and I would like to do some work there, too."
"One moment," I said as I completed a part of the ticket. Now I was thinking a bit irrationally. Why did she mention that the computer was in her bedroom? What did that mean? What kind of work does she need to do in the bedroom?
I finished entering the information into the ticket, and sat back. I looked up at her, and right back into those beautiful eyes.
I started to talk. I know my job well, so I'm sure I didn't give her any information that was incorrect, but I couldn't stop staring at her eyes. I've had this problem since high school: I look into the eyes of any woman I find attractive, and I can't think of anything else. I was glued to her eyes. I would feel myself getting bogged down in my thoughts and would rip my eyes away from hers, but as soon as I remembered what I was saying, I would be drawn back to them, and the cycle would start all over again.
She asked a couple of questions more, this process repeating maybe 10 times, until she was out of questions. Mercifully, I went back to the ticket and finished entering items and due dates.
I stood up and picked up the software package. "This is due back in three working days. That is, Thursday." I looked at her again, and our eyes met. I extended the software to her, and this time she made the effort to brush her fingertips against mine. My heart stopped again.
"Thank you," She said. "See you on Thursday."
It's amazing how one person can turn your day around entirely.