Monday, October 16, 2017

Fourth time's the charm

He's one of my more eccentric colleagues, a librarian. I've worked with him from the beginning of my long career here and I have some fondness for him. But lately I seem to be injuring him a lot. At least, I think I am.

The first time was a few weeks ago. We were both making our way through the upstairs door back to the staff area. His arms were full but he was awkwardly holding the door for me as I wheeled a mostly empty cart through. "Ahhhhh!" He quietly cried, his mouth gaping in a muted scream of anguish. Did I hit his toe?

"Are you okay?" I asked. He waved me off, like, don't worry about it, but I'm in too much pain to talk.

The second incident was a week or two ago. We were well into the things we do after the library's closed but before we can leave. He wanted to make sure the librarian who had been in the teen room was out of the teen room even though it seemed pretty clear that she was. So he ventured out to the teen room while we all waited. Then he took a curiously long time. So eventually I shut off all the lights to get us moving along to our final phase of closing up the building. Now you should know that shutting off all the lights in our rather large library hardly makes it pitch black. There's a good deal of ambient and emergency lighting, but he soon emerged from the teen room limping badly.

Heroically he made it across the main floor and said, with only the faintest trace of bitterness "I was cleaning up in the teen room when the lights suddenly went out. I walked into a bunch of the furniture trying to get out."

The next incident was just yesterday. I was talking with two colleagues out at the front desk. Someone (possibly me) said something that caused me to slowly step back a couple paces. He was just sort of sliding behind me at the time doing some elaborate twisting dance. There was the barest touch of contact between us and he seemed to fly off to the wall several feet behind me. Something happened there against the wall. He clutched his side and grimaced, crumpled against the wall in agonizing pain. As we looked over there was a general sense that he wanted to endure this torture in private, especially seeing as he did not meet any of our gazes and evinced no interest in sympathy or recrimination, so we continued talking as he struggled on and waited for his excruciating injuries to pass.

I'm concerned there is a pattern developing here, and I am a little worried. I think in the next incident I might kill him. And when I do I'm unlikely to even know how.

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