I just finished rereading the magnificent book Holes, by Louis Sachar.
Well, I didn't read it exactly. Some guy read it into my ear while I was shelving. With my purchase of an iPhone and some bluetooth earbuds I have been sucked into the dark work world of zoning out into a private, interior land of podcasts and books being read to me while I work. But it turns out it's not a very dark world at all. It turns out it's a sunny bed of roses! The regular psychic absences from my always slightly toxic work environment is healing for me. And, if that's not enough, while I was once a middle of the pack shelver, doing just enough to remain respectable (to myself at least) I am suddenly catapulted to the top ten percent of all shelvers in the building!
Sure. I can be a little spaced out when I have to reconnect to the environment around me (patron asking question, co-worker offering a stray comment or needing something from me). And I suppose the new found pleasure could be taken away from me. Institutions can smell happiness like sharks sense blood. And they want to devour it just as much. But my earbuds can be taken away without killing me. I still know how to slowly, slowly shelve, percolating simply among my own thoughts, occasional dipping into all the at-hand books, and jotting down my reflections on the world in post-it notes. Like a star now I see retirement beckoning in the far far distance, and I can make wishes on it.
I can shelve fast and I can shelve slow. I can do what is required.
As it says in the masterpiece Holes, by Louis Sachar:
When you spend your whole life in a hole, the only way you can go is up.
And though this probably isn't what ol' Louis was getting at:
I don't mind it down here. It's cool, and quiet.