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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Proof Librarians Can Never Shut Up (Even When They Want To)

In case you couldn't figure it out for yourself, this is a photo of me wearing my beloved "read" necklace. I frequently wear it at the library in order to send a subliminal message to the kids that READING IS COOL, SEE? I'm not sure if it works, and people young and old get confused sometimes - "Is that your name?" - but overall it gets positive, supportive comments. Yay for reading! 

I wore the necklace today, and after I left work at 8pm, I stopped by a drugstore to pick up some practical items, which included dish soap, paper towels, and milk. (Okay, I admit, I looked longingly at the fridge filled with beer, but kept on walking. I mean, I didn't NEED it, right?) 

To be completely honest, when I finish a particularly busy day of work, I often just don't feel like physically talking. To anyone. It's nothing personal, merely a side effect of having to talk all day long. I think my vocal chords actually get tired or something. However, as annoying as it can be at times, I realize that making inane chit-chat is usually inevitable if you want to be a decent member of a civil society. Life is hard, right? 

Anyway, the drugstore clerk - a perfectly nice, friendly kid who appeared to be in his early 20s - noticed my necklace as he rang up my banal, beer-less purchases. I was in one of those "don't want to talk" kind of moods, but the customer service provider in me apparently doesn't know how or when to cut a conversation short. 

Here's a rough transcription. My thoughts are in italics.

Him: "I'm going to assume the word on your necklace is not your name." 

Me: "Yes, you are correct." 

(Please don't ask me my name, please don't ask me my name.) 

Me: "But my name IS Rita, so it's kind of a funny coincidence."

(What? He didn't even ask what your name was. Stop talking.)

Him: "So you're just a big fan of reading?"

(Just nod. Do not engage any more. There's a line forming behind you.)

Me: "Yes. I'm a librarian, so it's sort of work-related." 

(Crap. Rookie mistake. Please don't say anything about me being a librarian, please don't say anything about me being a librarian.)

Him *laughing*: "YOU'RE a librarian?" 

(Aaaaaand here we go. Okay, Rita. You have the power to prevent this 
conversation from going any further. You have dishes to do at home, after all.

Me *with a weak smile*: "Yup."

(Good. A one-word answer. That's better. Keep it up.

Him: "It's just that when I think of a librarian, I think of someone...older."

(Don't take the bait. Don't take the bait. Don't take the bait.)

Me: "Well, actually, a lot of librarians are young like me. Not that I'm young, really. I just mean not oldAlthough, I am kind of old. I mean, relatively speaking." 

(God, JUST SHUT UP.)   

Him: "C'mon. You look about the same age as me." 

(Don't ask him how old he is, don't ask him how old he is.)

Me: "How old are you?" 


Him *deadpan*: "I'm 83. Don't I look good for my age?" 

(Okay, this just got kinda weird. Swipe your debit card and get the hell out out of there.) 

Me: *politely laughing while fumbling with the debit card*

(Don't wait for the receipt, don't wait for the receipt.)

Him: "Here's your receipt." 

What just happened? Was I insulted? Complimented? Did I help smash tired 
librarian stereotypes while simultaneously promoting a love of reading? I really have no idea.

What I do know for sure is that I learned three things tonight: 

1) From now on, when I leave the library, the "read" necklace comes off.

2) I am not required to engage in conversation. It's okay to NOT be 
a librarian when you're not actually being a librarian. 

3) Always, always, always get beer. (Really, who was I kidding??)


  1. Yep, I have the same "can't shut up about libraries" problem. That's why I keep a drink in my hand at all times to ensure that I can prevent myself from talking at any time. :P

  2. Hello, Rita! Your read necklace is awesome. Definitely wear it outside the library!! Maybe that guy will go to the library this weekend. Probably to find you because it sounds like you made quite an impression, but he might also pick up a book and read it! :)

  3. Rita,

    This was priceless. We have similar internal monologue voices. I always intend to shut up, but never do. hehe

    Also, I LOVE that necklace. I would wear it all the time. <3

    Great post, chica. Also, I think that kid was paying you a compliment. And you are awesome. Remember that. :-)

  4. I'm the worst at parties. I'm always encouraging people to get a library card if they don't have one and doing readers advisory. -meghancnyc

  5. so love the internal dialogue during the shopping exchange... librarian turns script writer??? yes!!!xxoo

  6. I always say far too much too! Without intending to! Made me smile!

  7. Omg, this made me laugh so much. So true! Over explaining...hey, we can't help it if we're "young" and hot librarians. ;)

  8. Where did you get the necklace?

    1. love it - I'm a librarian too, and HAVE to get one!

  9. Well, don't feel bad. I'm old AND I look like a stereotypical librarian, but without the bun. I like to think it's comforting to others. And I may need a "Read" necklace as well!

  10. The worst thing one can do is go into a bar and tell a guy you're a librarian. I stick with I work in child services or I'm an information specialist.