Tuesday, March 27, 2018
It's a library, so it's all about questions. If a library patron comes up to me and says "Can I ask you a question?" I am always confident there is an answer I can manage somewhere if I apply myself. I like almost all of the questions, but if it's too easy I secretly feel a little disappointed. Too hard of a question can be interesting, so long as it's not an "endless mode" question. That's where you think you're being helpful and then realize there's always another question and the person asking doesn't really care about the answers.
I've been working here for a long time so my co-workers ask me questions. "Let's ask Feldenstein." They say. "He knows things." Which I find terribly flattering but also a lot to live up to. A couple of days ago one of my co-workers asked me a question which I answered accurately and comprehensively, but leaving room for error. Then another co-worker came up and the first co-worker asked her the same question all over again.
I didn't like that so much.
My worst co-workers well illustrate the Aristotelian virtues of moderation because they so perfectly occupy the two extreme approaches to questions. On the one hand a quiet new co-worker never asks any questions, which I become more and more aware of, and see more and more the small things she gets wrong. There are probably a couple big ones too. On the other hand I have one or two co-workers who ask questions all the time, but they're the same ones, over and over, which is just as disconcerting.