The old guard came in today.
A somewhat venerable librarian retired and surprisingly few of her contemporary colleagues were at the farewell potluck, but all the great powers of the past at my library came in for the occasion, some looking shockingly older, some looking much the same. At one point the small break room held nearly every branch manager and assistant branch manager from the last thirty years of this library.
My first impulse was one of warmth: these are my old co-workers, great figures in the history of the library that I have worked in for much of my adult life. These were the managers and bosses that shaped the bigger movements and the work environment of my life. I have history with them all.
And then, as they barely said hi to me, and gathered in an exclusive little knot, I remembered.