Thursday, November 27, 2014

Nazi in library!

At my best I love the patrons of my library in the way Jesus was supposed to love everyone. 

No, really, I do. 

I am no particular fan of Jesus, nor do I hold unconditional love for humanity to be the ideal of my passage through life, but that's how it happens sometimes. My heart is wide open. Everyone who walks through the door fills me with an absolute sympathy. I find the most miserable, crustiest of them to be utterly dear. But that doesn't mean these are all good people. No, it doesn't mean that at all.

Tens of thousands of people come through my library. What all darkness is on them, what bloodstains and vast litanies of crimes petty and unforgivable is on them, I do not know. Most of the time I don't want to know. The library is its own ivory tower. We don't offer redemption. We only offer, when we can, all distance and remove, the dream of the mind. I suppose there is hope in that, if you want it.

But occasionally, whether I want to or not, I do know or suspect things about our patrons. Notorious murderers have been regulars at my library. I have seen dark tattoos inscribed into patron's flesh. The ugly misdeeds of others occasionally rise to common currency. And some are quite open about what nastiness circles their heart. For instance, an avid Nazi spends his days at our library. He disappears for a few months at a time for what I assume to be periods of institutionalization, then he takes up his spot at a computer once again. 

Let us call him Clive.

Clive loves our computers and our printer and our copier and our various office supplies. He loves our help. He likes us to see what he's working on. He likes to leave his twisted up documents lying around the computer area for others to find. He likes to mutter darkly about us, I think because we're government employees or Jews, or both. He likes to wander up to that thin line where he might get banned from the library, and then retreat just in time. He is difficult to deal with. He can be very difficult to deal with.

So when I was chatting, during a few quiet moments at the front desk, with my colleague and desk partner of the day, and she saw Clive heading towards us, she went a little ashen. "Oh no!" She muttered with dread. "Here comes Clive." The Nazi was headed our way!

I looked him in the eye, warmly, as he approached, to bring him to my side of the desk. "Hi." I said. "What's up?"

He held out a library card to me. "Someone left this over by the computers." He said.

"Oh. Thanks."

Yes, every once in awhile I love everyone who comes to the library. It is not doctrinal. I don't even really recommend it. It just happens. It's just, what the hell...

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