Monday, February 27, 2017

A story of 22 minutes

Today we bring you another episode of

Tales of the Co-workers

Well, hmm, no, come to think of it, there haven't been any previous episodes, but let's not get bogged down in these trifling details. We have a trifling story to tell today and trifling details could easily damage its delicate fabric.

In today's story I am sitting at the phones station of my library, engaged in... pursuits, very important pursuits, some of which are not necessarily not work related. A co-worker who I will call Maureen, but who I think of as "Mo", approaches for a chat.

Mo rates a three out of ten on the chatometer.

What is the chatometer?

I'm glad you asked because I just invented it. It is a measure of how much I might like to chat with a given person. Three out of ten might mean "A little, but not much", or it might mean I am willing to chat for three minutes before I really want to stop chatting. Or it might mean both.

After three minutes Mo is not close to going away. This is a common characteristic of a person who rates a three out of ten on the chatometer. I politely soldier on, trying to give those subtle hints that it's time for her to move along. The hints don't take. Three minutes quickly become ten, and then those ten, fifteen. I can't shake her. So I finally say something about needing to get to work.

"Well they don't pay us to chat." Mo says.

This touches on one of my themes, and I can't resist saying "Sure they do. I think they pay us to chat, have a coffee, work, stay informed, read, socialize with the patrons..."

"I know you do." Mo says pointedly. Then, completely without irony or self knowledge, she adds "I just come in and work. I'm a worker. I come, work my time, and leave."

It is another seven minutes before I can induce her to leave. I counted.


  1. You know there are days I miss that place. And then I read your blog posts, and I feel that nostalgia is just that. Nostalgia. Or perhaps stockholm syndrome. Thank you for keeping my perspective in check. :)

    1. I like it here, but have never had the experience of missing it in any way and often wonder what it would be like to do so. I suspect it would be as you find it: mistaken.

      Thank you for letting me know that my lifelong mission to keep everyone's perspective in check is beginning to reap dividends.

    2. You have a sacred mission with this blog to counteract all the romanticized notions and stereotypes the public holds about libraries. I think this is ever more relevant as I just finished reading The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry. It is a terrible and contradictory amalgamation of every library stereotyoe. We need your bracing and honest posts as an antidote to this unbridled and enduring collective hallucination!


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