Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Benefit of the doubt

When you walk into my library I give you the benefit of the doubt. 

I assume you are not there to steal our almost, but very much not quite, valueless DVD collection. You don't believe in hitting children. You are not a cannibal, aren't looking for a fight, and won't chew on the books. I expect that you aren't going to start yelling in the fiction section and that you don't plan on using the bathroom and missing. My firm belief is that you are not a person to tear pictures of teen stars out of our magazines, that you have showered or bathed within the last month and, if you haven't, that you have contrived a passing facsimile thereof. You're not going to break things, try to convert people to Christianity or Mormonism, and that you aren't generally here to bug other people. You are not tracking anything horrible in on your shoes, you have parked your car in at least a vaguely legal way, and you have brought no explosive devices with you just to sort of toy with thoughtfully while sitting out in some dark corner of the non fiction stacks. I assume you are not a Nazi, Klanner, John Bircher, Climate Change denialist, or Republican. I figure that if you liked soccer, which I don't necessarily expect you to do, you would prefer Barcelona FC over Real Madrid. I think you would enjoy at least Jasper Fforde's first book. If you're going to eat here you're the sort of person who will be cleaning up, and you come equipped with a reasonable command over your ability not to spill your coffee all over the CD collection.

And so I happily welcome you here.

But the benefit of the doubt is a mighty load. And keeping it hoisted is an act of strength at the far measure of my ability. It is balanced delicately. A cold word to your child, an unsolicited mention of Jesus, the gratuitous removal of your socks, and it all comes tumbling down.

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