I am leaving on a research trip to Paris - just a couple of weeks - next month. I planned this in part to return to one of the places I did some preliminary research "reconnaissance" last year.
I had such a great experience there (as I have at most every place I've done such research). The woman who is in charge of the library there was extremely kind, helped me a lot, and encouraged me to come back. She told me how nice it was to have a researcher like me come in - someone doing "actual research," since it turned out that most of the people she had appointments with are just random folks who are interested, not professional researchers working on a substantive project. She told me about some new, relevant resources the library had recently acquired at auction and said that when I came back, I should spend some time looking at them. She was so lovely, as I gushed in that blog post - as was the colleague she drew in to help me with a couple of questions.
Last week I wrote to her - not in any kind of overly familiar way, but reminding her that we had met last year and that she had suggested that I should look at X Resource in future. Could I set up some times to do that while I would be in Paris next month, I asked?
I got back quite a curt note - entirely different in tone from the emails I'd had from her the previous year - saying she could give me one three-hour appointment, and that they just didn't have the resources to see me more than that, normally, but that since I was coming from outside the country, she might see while I was there if she could give me one or two more appointments, but nothing more than that.
I was surprised by the whole thing - particularly the tone. But also because it had been she who suggested that I come back to look at this stuff. However, I wrote back a VERY grateful email, in which I said that I understood that they didn't have many resources and that it was very kind indeed of her to see me, and that I would come on the appointed date. I noted in an offhand way that we could, as she said, see at that point if there were one or two other times available.
Well. Clearly this has pissed her off, even though it was her idea. She wrote back a very irritated note which suggested I shouldn't expect any more time there, and reminded me of how very far she was going to even suggest additional appointments.
Dude. Chill. God.
If this had been the tone when I dealt with her last year, that would be one thing. But it seems like such an about-face, it's really confusing. There are probably internal politics, or funding issues, or job-loathing on her part, that I know nothing about. I just wish she wouldn't be so rude about it - what I've communicated to her is not at all demanding, and it is entirely laced with bowing-and-scraping.
Also, this just sucks because I had counted on being able to look at those resources - I expected to spend a few days there...she'd indicated before that this would be possible. There's another place I can go for other things, but she has me very curious at looking at these special resources; they would be extremely helpful to me.