Sunday, November 19, 2017

Magic elevators for fun and profit

Recently some upgrades were done to the staff elevator at the library I work at. Instead of punching the buttons for the elevator to take one between the floors of our building, one punches in a time of day. As the elevator changes floors it also, more importantly, changes time. This is to say that by using the elevator now at my job I can freely travel through the time of the day, so long as I remain in the same midnight to midnight day I am already in.

My first inclination with this was to time travel to the end of the day so that I could go home. Going home to my wife is what I live for. But wary of wishing my life away I resolved to not cast away hours of my life. I resolved to experience and engage with at least as many hours as I am scheduled to be at work.

This does not mean I cannot make use of the unique opportunities such an unusual elevator offers.

I eat lunch a lot. I also read a great deal. Writing unfortunately does not work for the same reason eating four lunches in a row does. The food I have eaten disappears from me and reappears in tact in the refrigerator when I travel back in time, just as the ink on the page disappears and reappears in the pen I used. 

I do also work. Surprisingly I like some aspects of my job well enough to sometimes do them. I like the front desk quite a bit, so long as there's not too much of it. The automated check in machine is fun in modest doses. And I like to shelve and write as well. I shelve some, I write some, and I try not to take too many books downstairs with me that seem more appealing to read up in the stacks than they ever do at home.

One problem I have with shelving though, and really with many aspects of my job, is that my managers have an uncanny habit of sort of popping up whenever I'm not working. I'll admit I spend my fair share of time not working, I feel doing so is everyone's moral obligation, but even if I spend 40 minutes cutting a swath through some non fiction shelving, the single moment I stop to jot down a note, or read a recipe, is invariably the moment one of my managers will walk by on some mysterious errand. The elevator is a godsend in this regard.

Now when one of my managers walks by and I'm reading, or leaning, or chatting, or writing, or eating, or staring into space, I simply totter off to the old elevator and travel back a couple minutes. Reappeared in the momentary past I start working with a feverish intensity, and so I am engaged when they walk past.

This is very strange and satisfying for me.

After a few days of this I thought they would be amazed. I thought at least one of them would say something to me like "You seem wonderfully focused on the job these days!" or maybe "Are you okay?" But, no. I don't think they've noticed a thing. Dozens of times in a row they've gone by me and every time I have been pouring my heart out into my job and yet I don't believe I've gotten a glance.

This has been strange.

I've thought about it quite a bit. I have decided one of two surprising things must be true:

1. They are only capable of seeing me when I am not working.


2. They don't really care, but I do.

Well, I guess it could be a little of both.

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