A week after vacation I am still struggling to adapt back to work at the library. But part of me understands that what I really came back with from vacation (besides tanned forearms and blog posts about flies) is the illusion that I was ever adapted to this. I wasn't. I was merely operating a vast array of working coping mechanisms, a bevvy of small tricks, elaborate complicated schemes and devices to create a sense in myself of semi enjoyable workdays. It is not my native work equilibrium, or my unhindered joy in library work and libraries that I am trying to get back to, it is a vast, bizarre, Rube Goldberg assembly of carefully balanced idiosyncrasies, a wild protocol of levers and knobs and interpretations of reality that has to be meticulously reassembled. Put another way, juggling two balls makes for a long, monotonous, hard to get through day, but put seven balls in play and there is challenge, intrigue, skill development, despair, thrills, dizziness, anxiety, comedy, emotional rushes, and blog posts.
Ah the blog posts.
I just have to get all these balls going, set up the contraption, load it with eggs and ice cubes and post it notes, small bean bags, and matches.
Here's how it works:
I have an hour of shelving. I can't enjoy that. It's tedious. And what's all that annoying whispering. And why are there so many books everywhere?
Step one: Pull out a book, the newest Bridget Jones one, and read it for a bit. Darcy is dead! Bridget is still funny. This concentration causes me to acutely understand that those patrons' whispering is bugging me.
Step two: Shelve closer to the whispering in order to try and hear them saying something incriminating. Perhaps I will be able to make fun of them later. It turns out to be a small child talking to her mother about cheese. It's cute! And though she doesn't really have the quiet part of whispering down yet, at least she's trying.
Step three: Which reminds me of a joke I told D. earlier that was so funny! What was it? I could make an easy blog post out of it. The more I can't remember the joke the funnier it gets. Soon it is frustratingly hilarious!
Step four: Shelve angrily and fast as I hopelessly struggle to remember. The rage shelving seems to deter patrons from using my aisle as a walk-through. This calms me down.
Step five: Calming down somehow gives me an idea for a blog post about adapting back to library work. I start writing it on post it notes, peering out of the spaces in shelves to make sure I have a safe workspace.
Step six: Peering makes me feel sneaky. I decide to speed shelve to even things out and thus feel like an honorable worker for a bit once again.
Step seven: Speed shelving as fast as I can I suddenly wonder what time it is. Gaaahh! (as Bridget Jones would say). It's lunch time!
Just keep them all going and everything will be okay.
So maybe this job isn't so bad in the end. But then, after all, I'm so well suited to library work.
It's my nature.