Monday, December 7, 2015

The fall of the house

After decades of library work I certainly don't feel like I've seen it all. Anyway, no matter how much one has seen, the distance to infinity is always far greater. But every rare once in a while something happens to me at the library that makes me think "It seems like this would have happened to me before, but I don't think it ever has." 

An event from earlier today made me think just that.

A young man came up to me at the front desk and handed me a CD by Usher, who is apparently a musical artist who also seats people, which must be convenient at his concerts. After the man handed me the CD he didn't really do anything else. I understand this. Sometimes people come to a halt and need prompting.

"I need your library card." I said.

"I don't have one." He said in an unconcerned manner. But as he said this he started rummaging through his pockets.

"Would you like to get a library card?" I asked.

Surprisingly he answered, distractedly, "No."

I looked questioningly at him.

"I just want to buy it." He said as he came up with a crumpled ten dollar bill from the depths of his pockets.

"We're a library." I replied. "You can't buy it. But if you have an I.D. I can get you a card and you can take it for free." I paused to let that sink in, then added sotto voce "But you have to bring it back later."

"Oh." He said.

"No thanks." He said.

I told him about how library cards were pretty nice and reiterated the free stuff and was friendly in the way one might be with a small, slightly wounded animal one might come across in the woods.

"No thanks." He said. 

And he left the library to his uncertain future. And ours.



  1. In our parallel lives as working humans and not such young meny any more, here is another one: After 25 years of teaching I like to notice things that happen that have not happened. Like your CD guy. Anyway, this last one was the simplest of things, and may have happened before but I didn't notice it. In one of my classes sits, side by side, a couple. Very nice people. Well, we were having a class discussion on something or other when I noticed that they were holding hands. Just sitting there holding hands without self consciousness, just very naturally. I stopped class right there and told them that it was a very sweet thing to be doing, which probably embarrassed them, but they kept holding hands because we're kind of like a family in there. Anyway, I did tell them also that in all my years teaching I don't recall a couple holding hands, though there have been a lot of couples.

    1. I am surprised too about the holding hands being a first for you. My theory is that your classes are growing more romantic. Is the era of GA as the tough demanding rigorous teacher turning over into GA teaching the class where you will meet your soul mate?


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