Tuesday, February 3, 2015

You've been here awhile, haven't you?

If you can come up to me at the front desk of my library, ask me a full question, and come all the way to the end of it before I start answering, that means that one of the following is happening:

1. I am discreetly finishing, chewing and swallowing, some small snack.

2. I am stalling for time as I finish some other work on my computer.

3. It's a very slow day, and it's just nice to have a patron around.

4. I am thinking about a prospective blog post, maybe even this one!

5. You are very new to English, or you are somewhat out of your mind.

The truth is that in the vast majority of cases I have the answer to your question based on your posture, tone, appearance, and/or the first few words out of your mouth. 

I can answer your question faster than you can pose it.

Are your hands low, are you approaching cautiously? Yes, I can get you a library card.

Are you 74 years old starting to say something about PBS? I will look into the status of our copies of Downton Abbey for you.

Dressed like a Mormon with a little Mormon badge on? Here is an Internet pass.

Are these simple parlour tricks? Sure, humanity itself, like any amateur poker player, has its tells.

I've just been here long enough to learn a few million of them.

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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.