Greetings Are Fun and Easy
I have begun to suspect that some of the regular patrons, ones who spend most of their days at the library I work at, like to leave and come back many times in a day because they enjoy the greeting ritual. These are the lonely people, mysteriously endowed to roam throughout the library with unidentifiable sheets of Xeroxed paper that they make more copies of every couple hours. I am never at anytime sure whether or not they are in the library unless they are borrowing white out or the scissors or some tape. Every hour or so they are leaving or entering.
“Hey!” I say, or “How’s it going?” or perhaps a formal “Hello.”
“Hey.” They reply smiling, their fix of human contact attained and satisfied for another small part of the day, maybe like a between meal snack; a soft pretzel for instance, or a biscotti. For all I know it could be the whole meal. One stocky, gruff, white-bearded regular likes to loudly salute me with “Hey Hippie!” (Do I look like a hippie? Maybe I am free-spirited, but most likely my hair was longish once about five years ago), and I reply “Hey Santa!” at which he grimaces inscrutably. We can enact this ritual four or five times a day, each of us feeling smart and a tad bit daring every time.
“Bye Santa.” I say as he heads on out to his car. Is it for a visit, or because he lives there? Maybe he is heading out to pop over to some other institution where they know him just as well as I do, which is not very well at all. Either way he’ll be back soon enough. I’ll have a greeting ready for him. I’m happy to provide the service. It’s a nice three second respite from checking books in and kind of fun too, if I keep my standards low enough, which I usually do.