Friday, October 10, 2014

Startled to flight

Have you ever been walking in the woods and startled some small animal, perhaps a wee bunny, or a stoat, or maybe some fluffy songbird whose name you will never know? Alarmed, the little creature flutters or scampers away from you, down the path, to safety.

"Ah" Says the little one to itself "Now I am safe and distant from that heavy-walking giant."

But of course, they aren't, because that is the direction you are walking. And so inevitably you come upon the animal again. And again they rush away. They do not rush into the woods or fly up high and off into the wind. Why bother with such things when there is this lovely, simple path leading so effectively away.

And so the interruption and the fleeing repeats itself so many times you almost feel guilty. But you don't really know what to do either. There is the path, and the path is the way to go.

You walk, the creature hops away, and you repeat forever.

And so it is with shelving in the Fiction section at the library. There I am in the "C's". I push my cart down one side, shelving as I go. I sidle gently past the browsing patron who looks up from their book and shuffles to the side. As I work back up the row the patron sees me coming and clears out before I am upon them directly. They're just browsing, it doesn't matter if they're in the "D's" and "E's". So they pop around the corner and find some new volume to look at. I work my way up my empty aisle but soon I am on to the next aisle. And there is that patron once again. We do it all one more time. And we do it one more time after that as well, working our way through the whole alphabet one disturbance at a time.

I have only found one proper solution to all this, whether with stoats or browsing patrons. I stop and pull out a pad of paper. And I tell you about it, hoping that it takes so long that the issue clears of its own accord.


  1. This was a very funny post. I had never thought of that.

    How about when you see someone you know at the market. You stop to chat, and then you say goodbye. But then you run into the person again in another aisle, or in line! Awkward! You already said goodbye!

    I wonder next time if I should say, "I won't say goodbye because I might see you a bit later in line or in another aisle."

    Please advise.

    1. I think you will come up with something perfectly clever as is, but I will play along! When you see them the second time you say:

      "Oh my! It feels like it's been minutes since I've seen you, but I guess it's only seconds."


      "You look terribly familiar. Do you have a twin?"


      "I just saw you. What do we do now."


      "How amusing. I was just discussing this very situation in a blog."


      "Oh. I'm glad I've run into you again! I forgot to tell you about Gandhi. He, as you might know, used to walk everywhere. This made his feet very tough, but, because his diet was so simple and humble, his health could also be a bit delicate. Alas too, this diet, and perhaps the great burdens of his profound spiritual responsibilities, gave him some very bad breath.

      "So, he was a super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis." May I also recommend leaving quickly after saying this.


      You can do what I do and awkwardly dash off to the condiments section of the market and hide there until the store closes.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.