Monday, August 09, 2004


The other day I was woolgathering during a lull at the reference desk when I heard a patron call for her child. The little girl’s name was Annabel (Asian, of course) and I was reminded of that sick Edgar Allen Poe poem Annabel Lee. Even though I’ve had enough horror in my life lately due to Moleman I thought it might be fun to revisit the work of Poe since I haven’t read any since high school and I enjoy a good scare from time to time. All my branch’s Poe books were checked out so I ordered one to be sent from another branch.

The next day I came in and my manager had left a stack of donated paperbacks for me to consider for the collection and what do you know was on top, The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings. I didn’t get a chance to look through much of it but then the next day I went to substitute at a branch and there was The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe propped up on the keyboard waiting for me like some eerie reading advisory from the universe. And then I saw that someone was doing a Edgar Allen Poe reading another one of the branches and then I turned on the TV and there was The Raven starring Vincent Price. The hateful, aggressive mockingbirds who are nesting in our back yard have also been doing a lot of tap tap tapping on our office window as if they have something important to say, which I think, instead of "Nevermore," is "Get the hell out - this is our place now." And I pondered, “What is up with this creepy synchronicity and what does it all mean?” Then I remembered from my DSM IV (my favorite new indispensable resource) that one of the signs of the onset of psychotic breakdown is becoming obsessed with connections and finding patterns in meaningless repetitions and events, and so I decided to chalk all the Poe up to a strange coincidence and not think about it anymore before I ended up jabbering incessantly about it and sounding like some of my more deranged patrons.

Today I had to tell a woman screaming on a cell phone while she was browsing the videos to keep it down. She was wearing flannel pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt turned inside out AND backwards. Not that I want a return to the oppressively formal days of girdles, pantyhose and matching pocketbooks and shoes, but can we not find a middle ground?

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