How are you doing? Ok? Hanging in there? Are you friggin’ sick of people asking you? Yeah, me too, and yet I’m still glad they ask. I think I’m sick of saying “hanging in there” or “ok.” Although generally, I reply with “ok” and have since 2017. If I have a good moment, I let you know but so often people are not asking me during my good moments.
Speaking of good moments, did you have many this week? I hope so. I had a few, but most of my week was filled with bad news, rage and vitriol from others–not just others but other librarians. Wanna hear about it?
My version of the “incident” is that I voiced my opinion on a library listserv about some of the protocols libraries have been following and backed it up with science. But it was still my opinion and said as much. The shit that came at me and another librarian who backed me up was absolutely ridiculous. I was completely discounted by someone because I think they thought I was politically conservative–which is far from the truth but it did make my conservative husband howl with laughter. But another librarian accused myself and my colleague of not caring about our patrons–I am sure if we were in person she would have jabbed her index finger into my chest. If I hadn’t been in a rage before then, I was full fledged into it then. My patrons are why I’m a librarian. I long for the day I can hug many of them. I send cards to them when they’re hurting, I cry and attend funerals when they die, I help them as much as I can while they’re in my library–and even when they’re not. I love them. To say that I don’t care about them was a lie. Period. I responded to the nastiness with civility (mostly) and that was that. I felt betrayed and disillusioned. It’s like when you realize that your parents are not super human, just human. The library community is not entirely filled with kind people. Or if they are typically kind, they’re lashing out because they’re afraid…yet they didn’t have to hit send on that email. They chose to be an asshole.
But at the end of the day–by the way this was Monday (!)–I helped 2 local folks get appointments for their COVID-19 vaccinations. We had been trying to help them for 3 weeks to no avail, but on Monday the system finally worked. This couple was so happy and wanted to send the library a check. I told them no, but if they could come visit after their 2nd vaccination, then that would be the thanks we needed.
Each day for the rest of the week, something shitty happened. Difficult phone calls, tense meetings, sick friends or parents of friends. Most events were not extraordinary, but I cried or lost my cool nearly every time. I feel like I’m only “hanging in there” by an invisible thread and wonder if it’s really hanging ME.
Throughout this week, I have wished for nothing more than to talk with my brother. I do have a sister and great friends and a husband, but Phil was the one I wanted to talk with. He would understand my rage and would agree with me but then make light of it all to make me laugh and to show me that it doesn’t really matter. In the grand scheme of things, it didn’t matter that the eye doctor said you weren’t covered by insurance when you were (yeah, I blew up a bit at that office, too) or that your house is an absolute mess, or that some librarians really are dicks. You just keep going and you don’t worry about that stuff or those people. Just try to laugh at what you can and forget the rest. He would also say something nasty or snarky about the librarians because sometimes it feels good to do that. 🙂
I’m drinking tea at my kitchen counter as I type this, which is where my brother should be. We sat right here for the last meal we ate together. He often sat here drinking tea while I baked and we talked with my boy and would just shoot the shit. I miss those days.
I miss Phil. I miss him so damn much.