Saturday, June 1, 2013

Coming Back

It can be hard to come back to work after a long string of days off. It's not that you forget anything, or missed anything, it's more of a vertigo feeling. I walk in that door and it's like the whole library world is something as seen from the clouds. Why is everyone so mad at everything? How can anyone care so much that Hydra, the terrible clerk, did something terrible again? It is Hydra's nature. And all this whirring, half-applied energy everywhere, don't you see those beautiful trees out that window, flowering thickly in white? All these books will get shelved eventually and they're just getting checked out again when they do. Just breathe everyone. Learn from me. I have walked in that door a zen master. Am I to empty a bin, answer the phones, go to the front desk? Why not, they are all good.

It's actually a very lovely eleven seconds.

This is followed by a prolonged painful period of time, much like when, after your foot falls asleep, it needles as it comes awake again. I estimate there is about ten work hours of this. From my recent return after six days off I was upstairs shelving. I'd been back at work for ten hours and eleven seconds of very little joy. I stopped at the interior glass windows that take in a wide view of the library in action. I looked on the library from not quite so high up and was all of the sudden suffused with love. This place, open to anyone, full of interesting things to do and see, safe, comfortable, free. And I work in the machinery, in the walls of it, greasing it, replacing cogs, facilitating a hundred kinds of flow, in my element. Peace. I felt peace and happiness and understanding. Not some perfect version of it, just a feeling.  I go downstairs and am mad at a dozen things, and it's just a different side of the same coin, all made of feelings too. And, god, I am way too tired and the day goes on forever, but fortunately I can take a break in about 20 minutes. And I am back.


  1. How very smart you are! Very difficult it is to extract oneself from the casual melee that is the world, Master Yoda. Glad I am to hear your excursion was rewarding.
    One's approach to literature seems so complicated. It can certainly be virtuous but it can also involve status and ego. Like any other art one can spin as much text around it as needed.
    To my discredit, when I do get to the library it is to root around for knowledge that will feed a particular interest. This means my research is for pleasure and everyone knows that pleasure amounts to no good.

    1. Aw, well, libraries are just pleasure palaces in the end, so I think you're in for trouble no matter what you go there for.


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