Thursday, November 13, 2008

With A Wave Of Her Magical Scanner Thingie...

I sometimes think that librarians have just a touch of Sorcerer's Blood running through their veins.  Maybe not a lot.  Could be only the tiniest bit.  But it must be there.  I can think of no other logical explanation for their magical abilities.

For what it's worth, I also think the nice lady who works at the Used Book Store has a little bit of those mystical corpuscles, too.  She is a warrior fighting for all readers.  She sold me a book for a dollar last weekend rather than the price her boss had marked upon it because she felt that it was simply too tattered and well-read to go at the latter amount.  Not to disparage the boss, mind you.  He didn't laugh once when I bought those cross stitch books last year and told him that they'd been sitting there for so long and were making me sad.  He just smiled approvingly and put them in the bag.  

But, librarians have The Touch.  Even more than the Used Bookstore People.  I offer up the following as an example.  However, I urge you to consider this to be purely hypothetical.  Parts and pieces of it represent behavior at its most stupid and I shouldn't like for you to think that anyone you or I might know could be capable of such acts.  This is just for funsies, 'kay?

Perhaps the hypothetical subject of this example was knitting a dishcloth (with sleeves) and got all the way to the neckline when she realized that there is no way the designated head would pass through it.  (assuming, of course that heads needed to pass through dishcloths...)  This knitter (let's call her Fannie just to give the whole thing a sense of realism) may have even spent a great deal of time thinking about how to go about this part of the "dishcloth" and done actual math.  All to no avail.  Fannie will go to bed on Wednesday night resigned to the fact that she must tink back.

Note:  Fannie will swear to herself that she will not rip.  Fannie knows better.  This knowledge, however, will not stop Fannie from believing that ripping is faster come Thursday night when the deed must be done.  Fannie thinks she is so smart and efficient.  Fanny fails to remember that she has to factor in the time spent figuring out where the beginning of the round is after the marker falls out and that she will have to pick up three million dropped stitches because she can't seem to get her head around the concept of K2Tog's.

Fannie has also learned a little something about The Dark Forces That Do Not Like It When She Knits Things With Sleeves.  It seems that calling something a "dishcloth" will not necessarily keep those forces at bay forever...

Of course it would be silly to assume that this hapless soul has naught in her life but knitting.  There are many other things in her imaginary (and so totally not belonging to anyone we know) life.  Perhaps she almost drove off the road on the way to work because she couldn't remember whether she had the keys to her classroom with her and simply had to search her bag for them at fifty miles per hour.  It is not outside the realm of possibility to think that she is short-staffed this week and that the only remaining Teaching Assistant left to her is so sick that she can barely function.  She might even be forced to accept that the student with whom she spent much time in order that he could finish his math quiz is not coming to school today.  By 10:00, she will know in her heart of hearts that he won't be turning in that very important piece of paper on the due date no matter how much she would like for him to pass math class.  

Now let's really stretch this example.  No one would ever really forget that a student was in the library for an hour and a half.  And even our silly old Fannie wouldn't lose track of a kid who is a foot taller than she and and least two of her wide.  That would be ridiculous.  No one would do that, for heaven's sake!  That would mean that the poor kid would miss lunch.  But let's say that this did happen...just to make the point.  Fannie would need to race down to the library to retrieve the kid and maybe one or two tattered shreds of her remaining dignity.  

After having skidded into the library, Fannie would most likely have to offer up any number of breathless apologies to the librarian for her thoughtlessness.  At least I'd assume that would be the case.  I, being a responsible educator and nothing like Crazy Fannie, would have no firsthand knowledge of such things.  While leaning on the counter, gasping for breath after her frantic race towards student retrieval, Fannie might notice a book on display.  She might comment that she'd just read that one and that she was a little disappointed.  She's really just making conversation, trying to get past the awkwardness of forgetting a kid and all.  She would probably blather on about how she doesn't know what to read next.  She'd possibly even say something about just accepting that she can no longer wait for that book she really wants to come out in paperback and that she should just purchase it and be done with it.

And here's where the magic happens.  The librarian, being a mystical creature who, no doubt, suspects that Fannie is in need of some good news might say, "Oh, I just got that one with our Book Fair order.  It's on the shelf you want it?"

Fannie will come perilously close to breaking down utterly and flinging her pathetic self into the librarian's arms, forever marking her as the school's resident Crazy Lady.  She will hold it together, though.  Her excitement will be visible only in the slight tremble of her lower lip and her inability to navigate her way to the shelf that has been clearly indicated by the librarian.  She might need a little help at that point and require that the librarian hasten after her before she takes out the graphic novel display.

Then, just like that, the librarian will wave her magical scanner thingie over the bar code, push the button that tells the computer to ignore the fact that Fannie already has three thousand books on the human brain out right now because the kids need them for their science projects and hand her a very shiny and never-before-read copy of InkDeath.  

She will then smile in the way of all librarians who maybe know of their magical powers but don't like to flaunt them and say, "There.  Now you'll have a nice weekend, won't you?"

Fannie will skip out of the library, light of heart and forgetting all about such things as neck holes, math and missing keys.  She will also forget the student that she came down to rescue.  Having to go back will probably ruin her exit just a bit.  But she doesn't care about that so much either.

Even for a so-totally-not-true-and-completely-not-about-me story, I think it is a wonderful illustration of the power these men and women wield.  In fact, I think you should all rush out and go hug a librarian right now.  

Well...maybe not.  That might scare them and it seems kind of creepy now that I think about it.  I take it back.  Do not, under any circumstances, go out and hug any librarians with whom you are not already acquainted and on hugging terms.  

You could maybe smile at them, though.  Or thank them for the kindly use of their magical powers.  I think they would be OK with that.  

I know one school librarian who will be getting some nice cookies or a handknit scarf come the holidays, that's for sure...



trek said...

Librarians appreciate cookies - as long as you wash you hands after eating them and do not leave crumbs in the books.

And I didn't know that book even existed. Off to visit the library's web site now.

kthxbai, sez the loltrek.

April said...

Librarians are truly magical people. I think it has something to do with being surrounded by books all day.

Knitting Linguist said...

Hooray for librarians. Younger Daughter decided just the other day that she wants to be a librarian when she grows up. How cool would that be? (assuming that it give me an inside scoop, of course)

Anonymous said...

I toiled for 2 or 3 years in the library in my teeny tiny village. It is a wonderful job that pays practically nothing. (What other job requiring a master's degree tops out at <$40,000/year?) Librarians truly are wonderful, as are library patrons :-)

Mizzle said...

I had to post a comment, because my verification word is 'squared'. Just like that.

Maybe it's a suggestion for the dishcloth neckline?

Mia said...

Whoa.. i just read the summary of that book.. I'm skeered already!

You're a brave little Sheep :)

Anne said...

Ok - I can't help Fannie with much, but I can offer a suggestion on the round marker. BEFORE you pull it off the needles, trace the first stitch of the round down to wherever you think you'll be ripping back to. Put a coil-less safety pin in that stitch. Then you'll know where to put the sliding stitch marker when all the stitches are back on the needles.

(I just figgered this helpful thing out this weekend on the tea cozy I'm working on. Only been knitting 30 years. Some of us are slow.)

Karen said...

The dishcloth will be fine. Sometimes necks are tricky.

Bridget said...

As a librarian in a place where we get no hugs ever, thanks for this post!

Oh - and I hope your dishcloth problem resolves itself without too much trauma - you've gotten to far to give up now.

Quilting Mama said...

Thanks for the credit to librarians. Working in a not so pleasant institution - currently - I loved the credit and compliments from a user.

May you continue to enjoy the magic!

Donna Lee said...

Librarians are some of my favorite people! Along with bookstore employees, those enablers! I think librarians are not appreciated and I'm sure yours would love some cookies. I mean, Fannie's librarian, of course since I know that that story was not autobiographical, not at all.

Cursing Mama said...

Do you think, when no body is looking, that librarians dance around in the book stacks & sing out loud? I do. Really, other than maybe a knitting shop or maybe a good dollar store, can you think of a more magical place?

Lynne said...

I think libraries and librarians are wonderful.
Could you steek the neckline?