Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Busquets at the library

As I write, my dear little soccer team from Barcelona is playing a very important game that I cannot watch.

"Aren't they all important?" You inquire.

I'm so glad you understand!

I will watch a replay of this game later, but now I have to shelve some novels- something (Johansen) I'm (Johansen) doing (Mphahlele) between (Paretsky) each (Patterson) word (Pope) I (Rivers) write (Roy). But I will console myself for this terrible soccer deprivation by telling you about Sergio Busquets. He is a soccer player, a midfielder on said Barcelona team. And when I tell you about soccer players I like to try and connect what they do on the pitch with what we library workers do (at least sometimes) in our jobs.

My second best skill at the library I work at is like what Sergio Busquets does. There is a quiet line of self aggrandizement here, so let me carefully qualify this by saying I only manage to do this for a handful of hours a week, in between the snacking, Internet surfing, chatting, loafing, helping people ostentatiously, complaining about the management, performing, shelving while blogging, and wandering aimlessly.

But I do do this fabulous clerking sometimes, so there.

What do I do?

Oh, right. I work like Sergio Busquets.

There is a famous quote about Sergio Busquets which, if you follow the Barcelona Futbol Club you will have heard often enough for it to have passed into an almost tiresome cliche, but is otherwise fascinating to the uninitiated. It goes like this:

If you watch the game, you don't see Busquets. If you watch Busquets, you see the whole game.

What does this mean about Busquets?

I don't know, I watch the game.

Ha ha ha ha ha. Just a little soccer humor.

It means he's the metronome, the heart beat, the houndsmaster. He's the weather worker. He let's fly the arrows. He crafts the conditions under which the game plays. If he can. If he's at his best he sets the flow of play and makes it open up under his deft touch.

And so, in this mode at the library, which I enter into almost unwillingly, led along to it by workflow, solitude, and an often infuriated desire for perfection, I quietly, humbly, and behind the scenes, take care of the minor details that make everything else flow. I fix the shelving errors. I put in the labels that were missing. I repair things and set them up better. I line it all up to go at a touch. I say the right word. I work in a way a casual observer can't even tell is working, but is massively efficient and quietly industrious. I take care of small details that would be problematic for others later on and that they won't know was actually taken care of. I set it all... spinning.

And most of all, like Busquets, I tend to kick a lot of things when I'm doing it.

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