custom gadget

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Librarian's Snow Day

Like the Yeti, a snow day for a librarian is a very rare thing. Public libraries usually pride themselves on staying open no matter what. After a snowstorm last year, Mayor Bloomberg told NYCers to send their kids to libraries while the rest of the city was shut down. We're hardcore like that.

However, yesterday's unprecedented blizzard left libraries (and most other agencies) closed today and I found myself with an unexpected day off. Conveniently ignoring piles of laundry and a deadline for my as-yet-unsubmitted book reviews, I tried to figure out what to do with my morning. So, like every other jerk in NYC, I decided to take some pictures of the snow.

Image 1: Obligatory Exposition Shot

My street. Fascinating, right? (Whatever, I never claimed to be Ansel Adams.) In the background you can sort of see the water (the Narrows). It's a pretty view, and I thought it would look prettier in the snow, so I attempted to walk a bit closer.

Image 2: Action Shot

Because of the gale force winds blowing tiny daggers of snow into my eyes, this was about as close as I could get to the water. Failure. (However, you might be able to see how the wind was whipping the snow around and creating interesting peaks in the snow drifts. An example of winter's majestic, painful beauty.)

Image 3: Post-Apocalyptic Shot

The lone snow-shoveler steadfastly makes his way down a deserted road. What twisted, warped snow creatures will he meet on the way to his unknown destination? (Answer: me, in a wool hat and down parka, taking his picture in the middle of the street like a weirdo.)

Image 4: Cue-The-Sad-Music Shot

My poor car buried in a snowdrift. As far as I'm concerned, it's a lost cause. In 200 years, archaeologists will find it, dig it out, and study it. (My apologies to future generations for all the bird crap on the windshield.)

And that, my friends, is how you waste a snow day. Bring on the hot toddies.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our Faceless Founding Father

Look, if anyone understands the difficult times we're facing in this city, it's me. I get it. There's a recession, baby, and everyone is cutting corners wherever possible. So I totally understand someone not wanting to spend the ten cents it costs to photocopy a page out of a library book.

But when book vandals took their safety scissors to a children's biography of our nation's first president, my patience wore thin. Honestly, is nothing sacred anymore? Just look at this:

I'm not sure if you can read the caption, but it says that George Washington's family considered this sculpture to be "the most accurate depiction of him." Do you understand the significance of this? The most accurate depiction. And now it's gone. Subsequently, students of history will never REALLY know what Washington's face looked like. All we can see now behind the sad crater that once was George's majestic visage is (somewhat coincidentally) a map of old New York. Shameful.

Later, in the same book, the de-facers ruthlessly de-faced once more. In the following picture, Washington appears to be in the middle of what was surely a great speech. Or maybe he was proofreading the Bill of Rights. It doesn't matter. What matters is that we can't see George's face. Was his expression thoughtful? Were his brows furrowed in concentration? Was he laughing? Was he shouting with raw, masculine, presidential fervor? We'll never know.

They say that George Washington could not tell a lie. Now we know the true reason for this: he had no mouth with which to tell one. (My apologies, Mr. President. I'd tape your face back on for you if it wasn't stuck to some kid's social studies project somewhere.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How to Cheer Up a Grumpy Librarian

I got into work today - a beautiful, cold, sunny Saturday - prepared to be completely disgruntled and cranky. In fact, I was kind of looking forward to it. It's my seventh day of work in row and I had a very bad day yesterday (one of those days where everything went wrong, I had awful things to deal with, I felt run-down and frustrated, and on top of all that, I had bad hair). Also, I got very little sleep last night. When I don't get a lot of sleep, I usually have the disposition of Mike Tyson the next morning (you know, before he found God).

I was also running late this morning, and an embarrassingly frivolous reason was partly to blame for this - I was trying to do something with my aforementioned bad hair. (Note to self: don't get your bangs trimmed when your hair stylist has three other clients impatiently waiting for him). I arrived at my desk, flustered, anxious, slightly out of breath. As I put down my bag and took off my coat, I noticed a piece of paper resting on my keyboard. I figured at first that it was a telephone message, a note from my boss asking me to change my schedule, or something equally mundane. I looked at the piece of paper more closely and saw that it was a note from two young girls (about nine years old) who regularly come into the library.

They had been hanging around the reference desk yesterday while I was on duty, being their silly cheerful selves, chatting with me and asking me endless questions, as they always do. They hugged me when my co-worker came to relieve me, and as I walked away, I could hear them start chatting enthusiastically with my co-worker (who must have been the one to place the note on my keyboard. She's a co-conspirator). I don't know what exactly prompted the girls to write it after I left, but maybe they somehow sensed that I had been having a bad day. Kids just seem to pick up on these things. And the note, with its playful Eric Carle-esque illustration, its random literary advice, and its “beyond-their-years” wisdom, made me smile this morning. Thank you, silly girls.