Upfront or Pushed Back?
By ice rivers
My first job was the most appropriately job titled of all possible jobs. I was hired as a page at the Sully branch library.
A page in the library, yeah that was me.
I loved the librarian at the library up until my first day of work when she became a bossy pain in the ass, contemptuous of her pages and very, very convinced of the way things should be in her domain.
I learned this on my very first day when I was assigned to stack some returned books. Almost as soon as I began, Mrs Freeman got all over me for pushing the books to the back of the stack.
"Books do not belong in the back. Books belong on the ledge. Books need to look like they are getting ready to leap out into the hands of readers, not like they're hiding in the back trying to be overlooked and ignored. Never push books back again. Do you understand?"
I'm pretty sure I overstood as not only did I learn something about library etiquette but also something about Mrs. Freeman and bosses in general.
So anyways, I did pay attention and from that moment on I have always noticed whether books were stacked on the edge of the shelf or pushed to the back. If I noticed that someone had pushed their books to the back, I tended to evaluate them as unsophisticated in regards to library etiquette.
Over the years, I have seen a decline in personal libraries until this Covid year.
Now, many of the remote talking heads are zooming in from their libraries, I try to figure out if their books are on edge or pushed to the back. I've noticed that many of my favorite talking heads have the books in their libraries positioned on the edge. I like that.
Of course, if you're a fastidious person, you might like the books pushed back so that you can dust in front of the books. However, if the books are on the edge, you can't see the dust because the books are where the dust would be.
Oh yeah, well that just means that the dust is gathering behind the books. Ignoring dust is no way to be tidy. Ya can't pretend that something isn't there just because you can't see it etc.
Every coin has two sides.
I've made it clear what side I'm on which is basically the side Mrs. Freeman was on when she suddenly turned asshole so exxxxcccuuuusse me.
Sometimes it's a relief then, when a talking head appears on teevee and is not speaking from in front of their books.
Our favorite member of this club is Lisa Dejardins on PBS. Lisa is a forty somethng who looks like a 30 something. She's very thin and has a remarkable nose. At first glance, Lisa's nose can be distracting but after a month or two it ceases to amaze. Lisa is a great reporter.
Behind Lisa, rather than her library, is a China cabinet with eight dinner plates, a martini shaker and a half-dozen crystal glasses. Over Lisa's left shoulder, the viewer can see what apparently is the living room of her apartment. In her living room, there is a canvas of a woman in a bathing suit suspended in mid-air...apparently diving into a pool. Is this a picture of Lisa in her younger days? Who's in this picture and what would make someone like Lisa have a canvas of a woman suspened in blue air in her lving room? What does this tell us about Lisa?
Beneath the canvas, there is a sofa and footstool. Easy to imagine Lisa after her broadcast, making a martini sitting down on the sofa in front of the diving woman, kicking off her shoes and resting her feet on the footstool while sipping her cocktail from a crystal glass after another job well done.
But wait, every so often her cat shows up in the background. It's a black and white feline that usually ends up on the footstool. Whenever the cat comes on, we always go "hey, there's the cat.".
Sometimes when the cat is not on the footstool, Lisa has a towel on the stool which gives the impression that the woman diving in the canvas is heading for the towel which I suppose is better than heading for the cat although, unlike the towel, the cat would be quick enough to get out of the way.
Once, we thought we saw moisture on the footstool which led us to believe that the cat might have pissed on the stool before Lisa had a chance to towel it as she was giving her report. On that day, it looked as if the woman in the canvas diving through blue air was heading towards a soft, shallow pool of cat piss.
All the while Lisa is jabbering away to Judy Woodruff, the anchorperson.. Judy is in front of her books and as closely as I can ascertain, Judy's books are not pushed back. Also, Judy always has a fresh group of beautiful flowers next to her books.
Judy knows what's happening.
She's my age.
Probably worked in a library.