Saturday, November 23, 2013

Out of the mouths of Library Volunteers

I like working with the Library volunteers, or, I like working around them. It's not simply the diversity of that volunteer population that I enjoy, but the way some of that diversity can lie hidden under the leveling qualities of all the mundane, but useful, volunteer tasks. I am nearly as likely to find that some regular volunteer lives in a group home and has developmental disabilities as I am to find one was a top surgeon at the Mayo Clinic. Presented with the both of them, and no prior knowledge, I may be hard pressed to say who is who. They both seem very good at putting DVDs in order. They both seem nice.

One volunteer here, who I see much less frequently these days, is very clearly developmentally disabled. I think she has Down Syndrome. She can't be much more than four feet tall. She is also very round. She charges around like a bowling ball, head down, a dynamo. I've always liked her a bit. Her communication skills are pretty limited and mainly revolve around an interest in free candy and coming up to me, putting her hands on her hips, peering up at me in dramatic mock admonishment, wagging a finger, and saying "You're trouble."

I have to admit there is a certain amount of allowance going on here from me. I am not one to normally look so warmly on teasing jokes about me unless they are truly acid free. But I do think this person is entitled to a lower, though not removed, level of responsibility. And if we can maybe come together here and agree to the many, many, glorious virtues of trouble, I am comfortable enough saying that, wow, she's really got a point there. She's got quite a point there indeed. And so there it is again. The surface tells us she is a disabled person who can barely put a sentence together, but search within that and we find a diviner of truth.

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