Last week I went into the library to pick up some books that I had on reserve.
the librarian brought them up to the counter she noticed that one of them had a
bookmark in it.
said something along the lines of “Oh, someone forgot their bookmark, happens
from time to time,” and removed it from the book, presumably with the intention
of setting it aside.
made a throwaway “One of life’s little bonuses, I suppose,” comment and went to
pick up the two books she had just checked out in my name.
(sounding odd): “Oh do you want to keep it?”
(all flustered): “Uh maybe, what’s on it?”
(still sounding slightly off): “… It’s a summer reading list bookmark.”
(feeling awkward as hell by this point and acting slightly too cheerful):
“Might as well.”
“Uh well, there you go… Enjoy!” (there wasn’t quite a question mark at the end of
this statement but it almost felt like there should be)
Cheers!!! (the extra exclamation marks are there to show I was being needlessly
enthusiastic at this point).
whole thing was just… Well, I blame the librarian.
find a random, generic bookmark that was clearly not lovingly crafted by
anyone’s grandchildren or a hand-painted memento of the trip to Venice that
someone saved their whole life to take and you should just go ‘oh hey, a
bookmark; lucky you, you don’t have to find one when you start reading’ and
move on with your life.
we ended up with one of those ‘I just congratulated someone because they said
they were enjoying the change in weather and now I don’t know how to take it
back without making it worse’ kind of exchanges.
I said ‘one of life’s little bonuses’ I wasn’t talking about me, maybe it was a
bonus for the library, hell if I care.
I didn’t mean ‘score’ or ‘truly my life is blessed and this bookmark was meant
to come to me, thanks karma’ or anything like that.
was just trying to say something less bland than ‘huh, how about that?’ and
things got weird.
mean, did the librarian think that I had been demanding the bookmark?
Because I didn’t really care.
did she have her own plans for it which I was thwarting?
she was welcome to it, it’s just a promotional bookmark that they printed off
when they made up the summer reading list.
why had I asked what was on it?
I going to reject it if it didn’t live up to my standards or was advertising something
I found objectionable or dull?
I walked out of the library was she thinking ‘the hell happened there?’ and
planning to go find her co-worker who was shelving books and tell the tale of
the exciting and confusing exchange she had just had with some penny-pinching
nutjob who was determined not to get screwed out of a free bookmark that was
obviously her birthright!?
thing about all of this is I have not spent days rehashing these events or
analysing them from different angles like a detective in a procedural show who
just knows that the answer is staring them in the face if they could
just work out the right way to come at the problem.
of these thoughts zipped through my head in the time it took to turn around and
step away from the counter.
I tell one of these stories to people or, for instance, explain all of
the considerations that occurred to me when I realised that people who don’t
routinely wear hairpins will be at a serious disadvantage if they ever need to
pick a lock in a survival situation* the level of detail I can cram in will
convince them that I have been thinking about this for days possibly in
the place of all the sleeping and taking medication they assume I should have
been doing instead but these thoughts** take place at the speed of light.
could possibly comfortably spend an hour outlining the expanded universe of
‘what would happen if I got stuck in an elevator with my handbag vs what would
happen if I got stuck in an elevator without my handbag’ but that doesn’t mean
I’ve been mulling it over in my spare time, just that I took an elevator this
morning and in the space of time that it took to blink I realised that I would
never be able to Bruce Willis my way out of a stuck elevator to safety what
with their roof hatches all being locked these days, and I certainly
wasn’t going to do a Resident Evil and try to squeeze myself out of a
hole that was clearly not big enough to fit an adult human through, even
a slender one, so my choices going forward would depend on a multitude of
variables including the resources available to me at the time.
of the side effects of this is that I am constantly having people try to soothe
or calm me down as they are convinced I am working myself into a tizz.
usually just trying to make conversation.
think of these sorts of things at all times about all things not because I am
over-invested in working out what happened/will happen and my place in it all
and what that all might mean, it just makes everyday events more interesting.
everyday events are usually dull, as are the conversations that recall them.
seems willing to engage in the world’s most boring theoreticals (eg, ‘what I would
do if I won the lottery’, always the same answers: pay off various debts,
travel, buy a house, buy a Tony Stark-esque garage full of classic cars,
develop an addiction) but no-one wants to have a crack at the ones that
actually require some world-building, thinking, or fun (eg, if there was an EMP
event and all tech got knocked out for long enough for our various cities and
suburbs to devolve into feudal city-states do you think that they would be able
to go back to ‘normal’ once we got tech up and running again or would the shift
to small local government be permanent?)
TL;DR, I got a new bookmark.
mean I don’t personally know how to pick a lock even if I did have a
hairpin, but thanks to TV I’m convinced that a hairpin is technically a valid
lock picking tool and that at some point some McGyver-esque person is going to
turn to me saying ‘Thank god, there’s a woman here! We’re all saved! Miss, I
need your hairpins!’ and I’ll have to explain that I don’t actually use them
because my hair tends to spit them out like a toddler spits out vegetables and
everyone will sit and stare at me mulishly for being a substandard woman until
we all die, trapped for want of a hairpin.
should I start wearing hairpins just in case I’m ever in a survival situation?
I would probably be better off putting a couple of paperclips in my pencil case
because I already own paperclips and they’re actually a bit sturdier than some
a result of writing this blog post there is a possibility that I am considering
adding a small number of paperclips and a packet of chewing gum to my handbag
just in case. I would hate to a) die because I didn’t have them b) be a
disappointment to McGyver.
You guys probably won't believe me but I swear to all that is sacred and/or
delicious that when I got home after writing this post I found a hairpin on the
floor of my bedroom!
WHERE DID IT COME FROM!?
honest to Glod do not own
any hairpins! 0_0