Friday, March 30, 2018

Who we know, and who we don't

Yesterday I told you about my fascinating co-workers who might, say, write "garbage" on a piece of garbage and then set it next to a garbage bin instead of in it. That sort of thing; negligent, heartless, thoughtless people who go to twice the effort to avoid the mere single effort of doing something useful.

And what's fascinating about them is it all takes place in an anonymous milieu. I may have 30 co-workers who could have shelved these books here in a functionally deranged location. It could have been a volunteer, or maybe a patron. But it's all so jaw-droppingly strange and mundanely passively aggressive that it is almost impossible to connect it to a real person. Say someone, maybe in a wide circle of your friends, murdered someone to get out of having to go get the family car washed. You know the murder happened, you have a limited pool of suspects, and you have a rough idea why it was done, but it would be hard to even suspect any of the people you're friendly with of doing it because it's just too empty, and nihilistic, and weird. How do you fit that with someone you know?

But sometimes around here, rarely, I actually, by luck and accident, see it happen. And so it was the other day at the front desk. We were busy and I saw one of my colleagues talking at great length with a patron. I thought nothing of it until half an hour later said patron came to me at the front desk. She needed to check out with her license because when she returned her knitting books not long ago she's pretty sure her card was accidentally left in one.

A bit confused by her resignation I told her I could go look for her card. She looked even more confused and said she spoke with someone earlier at the desk who told her we couldn't do that, but if she checked back in a few days we could see if we found her card.

I went and got her card.

The veils had been lifted. By chance I knew who had done what would have been utterly mysterious in any normal circumstance.

And it made perfect sense.

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