“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” ― Carl Sagan
After being demoted and losing my job to my mother, I found myself back in touch with the public. Mom came straight in and took over her old office (and now my old office) and I am now relegated to the reference desk upstairs. The position is not all bad, but being back in touch with the common man seems to bring out all my old ticks about being a public librarian.
See, there’s a thing about getting asked questions all day where you kinda shut down emotionally. You almost have to. I cannot accurately help the woman who wants to know about how to file for divorce all by herself if I get wrapped up in the hows, wheres, whos, and positions her husband cheated on her with. I cannot find the information about a sunken navy vessel if the old man in front of me is crying about how he watched his best friend Jimmy get thrown overboard and eaten by an orca. I just can not do it.
No matter how entertaining it is.
Even the other side of the public coin invites the emotionlessness. Yell to the rafters at me all day, guess how many other people have stood exactly where you have and wondered why they got that fine? Cry in frustration that I am not helping you remember your personal password to your random corner of the internet website. Flip out for any little reason. You may have gotten a response from me 10 years ago. I may have gone home and bitched about it 5 years ago. Now? I have a battle hardened exoskeleton of indifference wrapped in the crying of babies, the gnashing of teeth and the blood of “I’m not paying for those copies.” Try me and you know what I am going to say?
This is my phrase. My phrase of deflection. My phrase of place-holding kindness that I say automatically when I do not have an opinion one way or another about how to proceed in a conversation.
“I just don’t know how muffins can taste so good!” That’s understandable, did you want to look at cookbooks about muffins or human physiology?
“My dog Mr. Popsicle is going to get himself killed if he keeps running out in the street and eating poison.” That’s understandable, do you want the number of the local veterinarian or psychiatrist?
“I’m a silver dragon trapped in the body of a man and when I expire from this world I will erupt and devour the souls of the unclean.” That’s understandable, here’s your copies.
I say this phrase so often that it has bled into my own life. Girlfriends and family alike have commented that when I say this phrase I am not listening or care about what they want. This is not true, I have just been trained over time to hear complaints and opinions and plain psychosis and respond in a way that is both soothing and final. Disinterest on my part? Maybe, probably. But also a reaction to the job I have, a buffer between myself and everybody else. A way to stay clean among all the silver dragons out there.
So, what does it all mean? Am I a jerk? Should I not be so disconnected? Should I attempt to empathize with everyone that comes up here? That way lies madness. There has to be a separation or everything goes home with me at night and I can not let that happen.
I can not take what happened with Dave or Ava home with me. I just won’t do it.
I miss Natalie. I need someone to talk to.
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