Saturday, June 6, 2015

How to see

Out at the front desk of the library I wasn't reading the patrons well today. Usually I'm pretty good at that, but today I was underslept, and I think there's been something wrong with my glasses lately. I need a good look at people's faces to know what kinds of jokes it will be okay to make with them, to know what tone to take, how gentle or officious to be. A woman asked me if we had any Hemingway books and I told her that we don't carry any Hemingway at this library. This confused and upset her, and she was still rather shaken when I gently said I was kidding. Though I do think she warmed up to me over the course of her other seven visits to my desk during the course of her hour at the library.

A man came to the desk during all of that with a copy of Invisible by James Patterson. "Did you want to check anything out?" I asked confusedly.

"Just this." The man replied, gesturing to the book.

I ostentatiously groped my hands blindly over my desk until they accidentally ran into his book. Evincing surprise as I made contact with the book I exclaimed "Ah. I didn't see it there because it's invisible!"

"Yes, just that one please." The man said blankly. I tilted the angle of my glasses and peered more carefully at the man. Ah, yes, that joke was never, ever going to work.

I checked the book out by feel. I cleaned my glasses. I cleaned them some more.

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