Betsy and I were having a conversation about the way that librarians used to go out to local community organizations to conduct interviews to update  the library’s records of each organization.  I was telling her about this to share the story about how when I was a trainee, the young single librarians would fight over which of them would get to visit the local firehouse (and check out the handsome firemen!)  But then the conversation took a direction I didn’t expect,when Betsy’s reaction to the idea of us updating our community information by conducting in-person interviews was, “Yeah, but now we have the internet!”  And then, Dear Readers, I felt very very OLD.

I was covering the information desk in the Children’s Room during the last hour of the day.  I noticed a boy crawling around on the floor near a group of girls that was working on a group project.  I spent the next twenty minutes trying to keep him away from them because they complained that he was bothering them.  He went back and forth running, crawling, and hiding in different parts of the room.  He went up the elevator.  He crept down the stairs.  He LAY DOWN ON THE STAIRS in order to lie in wait for them.  That kid took what should have been a comparatively calm hour and turned it into a high-stress hellish experience for me.  Oh, and FWIW, they were all friends and ended up leaving the library together.  *SIGH*

I let my professional guard down the tiniest fraction and regretted it soon afterwards.  I was working at the Public Service Desk and there was a short line of people in front of me.  First was a little old lady, a woman who was very nice and complimentary and who started cracking my facade with her positive outlook.  Next came a woman about my age who was also complimentary and made a nice remark about my sense of humor.  NEXT came a man who had been in earshot of the other two conversations … and who then proceeded to say that he wanted to tell me a joke.  You know, because he heard that I had a great sense of humor?  GAH!!!!!  So, then I had to sit there nodding and listening politely while he told his joke and I felt my life gradually slipping away from me.

We were walking out of the library just after it had closed, and we saw a man and a woman barrelling towards the door.  We explained that the library was closed and that they could return any items in the drop box.  The woman started yelling at the man, “WHERE’S THE BOOK?  WHERE’S THE BOOK?  WHERE’S THE BOOK?”  She then turned to us and yelled, “MY FATHER HAS ALZHEIMER’S!  HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND!”  We stood there for a moment, stunned into silence, as she yelled, “AND HE’S DEAF, TOO!”  We explained about the drop box again and showed the man how to return his book.  My mind was reeling as I walked to the bus stop.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how stressful that relationship must be.  I mean, the woman tells total strangers about her father’s medical conditions within a minute of meeting them?  And how stressful must their conversation have been up until that point?

I spent some time today thinking about some This Is Your Life moments I’ve had at the library over the last two decades.  I was telling these stories to support my policy of NOT having a Facebook account.  I said that I would only get one if I left public library service.  And on a related note, I’ve had not one but two different guys from my past try to contact me in the last two months, one through LinkedIn (my only concession to social networking) and one through my library’s website.  I mean, what are the odds of two different people I haven’t seen in over 20 years trying to look me up at the same time?  Could they all be going through midlife crises at the same time?

Over dinner tonight, I was talking to my boyfriend about some ideas for future podcast episodes.  I have an idea percolating in my brain right now that will use my allergic reaction to romance novels as a starting point.  I’m thinking of sharing a story that took place in my late teens that reveals something of my character, ties into romance novels, and is quite entertaining.  But hang on … why am I thinking about this now?  Am *I* going through a midlife crisis???

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