For Laura Ellen Scott
Invite a select few into your office. The red-haired Irish boy with Celtic tattoos and the simmering Goth. Ask why they ignore you. Say “What the hell is really going on here?” Go out on a limb, because you can.
Caress the essence of the profession in tomes of 100 and 679 pages with titles like Cataloging with AACR2 and MARC 21, Information Science in Theory and Practice. It all means something, but it drains away. This is promising. Essential. Inevitable. Unbecome.
Forget the homeless population among the stacks and the hearty encouragement that brought them there. This was not an act of sisterhood or benevolence. You needed stories to tell. Hobos feed the imagination while they live off your livelihood. Librarians do not like this, but they understand it.
Stop obsessive thoughts re: heroic Iraqi shoe thrower at your last department meeting. Your vintage Docs are ready to go airborne when someone once again brings up e-books, the licensing agreements of Web of Science, the switch from your laughable proprietary system to open source and the warning not to leave food in the fridge for more than a week or it will be thrown out. Snap to attention when you hear they are throwing away the reference books to install an I-Totem and more computers. You will not be around to protest or pretend you think it is a step in the right direction. Voice your opinion in a deep sense of hurt and indignation. You are ignored because they cannot hear you.
You’ll miss the IT guys and your joint partnership in disseminating the informational needs of the organization. They, above everyone, saw beyond your façade because they couldn’t care less anyway. Remember the one with the eyes of blue. When he waltzed in with your new HP notebook, the power cord dangling, and asked you “where can I plug this thing in?” you happily fantasized Z39.50 and the whole new meaning it had taken on. Strictly, as it pertained, of course, to client-server protocol.
Clean out your office and give away anything you won’t need in the life you plan to lead. Your Nancy Pearl “shushing” librarian figure, your bonsai, your Ranganathan’s Rules of Librarianship poster. The Mapplethorpe book that’s found a home in your bottom desk drawer, stripped of library ownership and radial tags? Consider it a parting gift.
Contemplate where the others have gone. Defectors, traitors, losers. The ones who couldn’t cut life among the stacks. The misconceptions exhaust you. Sick to death of “You don’t look like a librarian!” Tired of “You look like a librarian!” Ah, you know why they left.
Embrace your inner solipsist because it really is all about you. You won’t mourn what was. It will simply cease to exist. All of it. You will go back to a time before your MSLS, the memory of which you will need to recover since your institutional memory is gone. You will, however, retain a sense of loss, something difficult to pinpoint. In its place, something else will arise.
Experience a deep arousal when encountering closed quarters. Dustiness. The lilt of a foreign accent. Girls with unshaven underarms and waxy ears. Sequins and such. The past is another country. They do things differently there. Who said that? Look it up? But you can’t. You are already out the door.
The rest? Pure gold, baby. Pure gold.
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/realelib.html]
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