Sunday, July 03, 2005

Master of the Reading Room

Right now I'm covering the break of a colleague who mans our Reading Room on weekends--normally she has a student or casual coworker, but since our Sunday hours are truncated to 12-5 (and probably because it's Fourth of July weekend) she was left to fend for herself today. Fortunately I acquired the rudiments of training on the mysteries of the Reading Room at the end of the Fall semester, but I'm afraid that I was so frazzled at the time with multiple papers due and my archives internship to finish that I hope nothing more complicated than answering the phone comes up while the regular staff member is gone.

Someone apparently was consulting the Oxford New Concise Atlas, so right now I'm eyeing the isles of Greece with no small amount of longing. There's still a remote possibility that I will be summoned to the slopes of Mount Pelion in late August to attend a conference on the one and only E.A. Sophocles, although to be quite honest I wouldn't mind if the event were postponed until a time when I could bring Mrs. and Baby Exile as well--perhaps in the autumn, or next spring. It just doesn't seem right to go all the way to Greece without my wife, who after all is Greek on both sides of her family and 75% of whose family (whom I've yet to meet) still live there.

Speaking of the rest of the Jersey Exile family, I just spoke to the missus, and they're safe and sound with the in-laws in fair Poughkeepsie--a.k.a., "Hellas on the Hudson". I'd been a little too busy this morning after sending them off to miss them all that much, but hearing my wife's voice on the phone and my daughter entertaining her grandparents in the background made the feeling of loneliness quite acute. Ah, well...

Here at the Reading Room desk they have a box full of miniature beanbags, which are useful in keeping the pages of old books stationary (instead of murdering the binding to make them lay flat). Maybe it's the fact that it's just too damned quiet in here, but my inner hellraiser wants to start tossing them at the half-dozen library patrons who on a day like this can't think of one thing better to do than come in here and read. I mean, I know I'm studying to be a librarian, the veritable pusherman to bibliophile junkies such as these, but c'mon folks! It's a beautiful midsummer's day. There'll be time enough for scholarly toil the other nine months of the year!

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