Saturday, August 19, 2017

We may not be the masters of our destiny

I was on a two hour stint of shelving and, despite taking time for a long chat with my boss about boxing and for a brief, desperate soccer consultation with teen librarian Marcus, I had shelved a lot of books. The trick might have been in taking only partially filled carts upstairs to shelve. Frequently going upstairs with books and downstairs with empty carts made me feel like I was getting a lot done. It is possible it was just an illusion that I was shelving a lot, but it certainly felt like I was.

In the end though I had a full cart of fiction, two rows of books squeezed completely onto the cart. I shelved steadily for roughly half a cart, at which point I suddenly felt it was all too slow for me. I didn't have the patience for how long it seemed to be taking the books to disappear. So I resolved to collect my wits, concentrate my energy, and shelve the last half of my cart as fast as I could.

I speedily shelved precisely one book before coming upon a slim collection of short stories by Amy Hempel. Mysteriously stopped in my tracks, I read the glowing things about the book and the author that were printed on the back of the book, praise written by Nobel Prize winners no less. I opened the book and, standing in the fiction aisle, I read the first short story in its brief entirety.

Then I shelved the book.

Then I wrote this as fast as I could.

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