Thursday, May 18, 2017
If you have been in any way following along with clerkmanifesto over these 1,600 posts you will likely be aware that my politics are leftist. They are so far to the left and so passionate and idiosyncratic that I can't much bring them out into polite conversation. They are too wild for me to safely handle with others around. My politics are so far to the left that mostly all I can do with them is take them into distant open prairie land and hunt small game with them. And though the whole vast panoply of Center and Right Wing politics that have dominated every aspect of power in my country throughout my life have been nothing but a bitterly painful sight for me to regard, there is at least some small satisfaction I get in venturing out to the aerie in my back yard, collecting my politics, and taking them to the edge of the city where they can hunt down mice and voles and small rabbits, even down by the river once, a couple of not insubstantial fish. Then I let my politics tear into the fresh meat before I take them home and hood them.
So, in my complicated way, I am saying that I have not had much experience with thinking like a reactionary, or in employing the handy, evil, frequently stupid catchphrases of the right.
So when it happened today it was something of an interesting surprise. Bracing, disturbing, liberating, and educational.
A colleague was relating a story from the front desk of our library. He said that a patron came up to him and said "You know that man with all the bags who sleeps upstairs in the fiction section?"
My colleague knew exactly who she was talking about. This was Bagman, OCD man, current patron burden number one for my library. He sleeps for hours taking up a small suite of chairs, eats noisily and unpleasantly in public, does repulsive things into garbage cans, roams the library seeking antiseptic gels and getting people to open doors for him, leaves a dozen target bags full of strange items holding his place, sometimes overnight, and complains if they're touched or messed with in any way. He is occasionally noisy, churlish when approached, and, worst of all, always extremely smelly. Shelving, one will always know if one is within 40 feet of him.
So, as my colleague reported, when this patron came up speaking about OCD man, he was prepared for the worst. "Yes, I know that man." My colleague responded cautiously, and he quickly organized in his mind the weak defense that the library belongs to everyone and we try to curtail offensive behavior.
But the woman was not there to complain. On the contrary. "I just want to thank the library for giving that man a place to go." She exclaimed. "I so very much appreciate that he can be here!"
My colleague expressed his surprise at this comment to me, and I, in response to the grateful woman and her comments, exclaimed, both aware and lucid, and to my horror: