Fri. Jun 21st, 2024
Lost Soul

There’s this guy who comes into the library nearly every day to do research on our computers. He always wears a mask and a hat and his mannerisms are somewhat eccentric. Today he came up and asked me for help. I went over to the computer with him and he showed me his problem. Turns out he was doing some research about Karl Marx (he had a notebook spread out with copious notes included) and was worried about some citation anomalies. Could I, with my great librarian/archivist expertise reassure him the citations were correct? Hell no, I had no idea! But I was fascinated by the guy’s research. He was actually using references about Marx in the original Russian, and he could read them. Impressive! Another guy sitting near him, a young dude with a wild hippy look about him, was playing computer games and reading manga at the same time. I see him at different libraries doing the same thing on different days. He stays all day, just playing games and reading manga. I guess he figures we won’t notice him so much if he keeps moving from library to library, but we do. Both guys will often finish at days end and come up and say something fairly incomprehensible with little context, a final bid to make sense of the mixed thoughts in their heads, then leave. The library is sometimes a home for us lost souls.

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Still at the library, one of the books that came through my hands was a book by Murakami (he of Norwegian Wood) simply called T. Flicking through it I saw it was a book about the many t-shirts he owns, with photos and commentary about them. A really interesting idea. Later, my colleague Belinda and I happened to be talking about t-shirts (completely unrelated to the Murakami) when she told me about the days when this library system didn’t require us to wear a uniform, just as long as our clothes weren’t branded. Back then she often used to wear here favourite Dr Who T, or a Harry Potter or Buffy t-shirt (she’s obviously very cool) and could justify it as non-branded because they were ‘library themed’. And they often sparked library conversations about books and other pop culture. I enthusiastically embraced the idea and suggested we should try to get this reinstated. I wondered if I could then justify wearing my many band t-shirts because we offer CDs to borrow. And imagine the conversations they would spark: ‘Cool Black Sabbath t-shirt, I saw them back in ‘75’. Belinda thought it would probably be a stretch. But, oh man, I love this idea. I could wear my Twice t-shirt, my Urusei Yatsura! Lamu!

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I did some more reading about my Buffy Tarot deck. Each of the cards represents an idea or an attitude, or a way of looking at things, a suggested direction. It suggested some of the many Buffy-themed ‘spreads’ you could do for your Tarot readings with the deck, like ‘Five By Five’, and ‘A World Without Shrimp’ (a Buffy in-joke). I can feel myself getting sucked in to this. It reminds me of the I Ching and throwing the coins, which I have done, and which was inspired by my reading of Philip K Dick’s Man In the High Castle. I suppose a lot of people will think the Tarot is just unscientific hocus-pocus nonsense, but I think it’s not about belief, it’s about coming up with suggestions or directions you might not have thought about. It’s about loosening up your thought processes and making inspired connections.

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