Sunday, December 14, 2014
Party with the patrons
Hi. I am just back from a party where I had two glasses of Pinot Noir and a lot of store bought crackers so I could end up saying just about anything. Well, maybe not anything. Getting a little drunk always makes me curiously sober. But fear not, crackers make me wild!
I don't go to a lot of parties these days, but they come up occasionally, not least this time of year, and my wife and I trot off to them until we can bear it no more. Then we hole up in our house for several months playing scrabble. Some of these parties we go to are similar to each other, some different. Some of these parties are pleasant, have nice food and are okay to be at, and some aren't. But these days they do all have one astonishing thing in common.
You might not be surprised, but I always am.
I walk into the house, or the mansion, or the museum, or wherever the place is that the party is being held, and I look around. I note the friends and or the acquaintances I might expect to be there, and I see all the many strangers there too, and then, invariably, I see them.
I lock eyes with some person I have seen coming to my library four times a week for 15 years but have never once seen outside of my library.
This always astonishes me because, despite working in a highly visible way, at the busiest library in my state, there can't be more than 15 or 20 thousand of these regular library people altogether. How do I keep running into them at parties? If I could do math surely it would all turn out to be statistically impossible.
What do I do when this happens?
Well, I talk to them. It's all fairly interesting. After exchanging faintly friendly comments with them, or even just pleasant smiles, at the library, several thousand times over the course of decades, it's nice to actually talk, in a leisurely manner, to find out their job and their family and their favorite food and their view on the library.
Their view on the library?
They like the library, so that's mostly what we talk about.
That's okay. I like the library too. And I have some shocking stories to tell them.