Library Anxiety

Library Anxiety

This doesn’t exactly qualify as a nightmare, but this morning I had a dream about starting this new job. Though I was starting it in the wrong place. I was back at Western, and they put me in this rather spacious office with a few other people. That was okay; lots of room. But as time went on more and more people were brought into the makeshift office, until eventually the space directly in front of me was prepared for another staff member, this one with desk attachments to hold a 1970s typewriter, a large, multi-line telephone, and a computer. There wasn’t enough room left for me to open my laptop.

Then I ran into the director of the library, who, for the record, was not the actual director of the library where I did my co-op, but was instead the director of the library in the United States where I recently interviewed. She took me by the arm and led me around to a couple of places around the building.

“Perhaps you missed the orientation,” she said, “There have been complaints. This,” she gestured at a large, empty space filled by desks with fancy levers all over them, presumably to adjust the height of each section of each desk, “is the communal space where we open letters. That’s all we do there, we open letters.” She led me into another area, also large and completely empty. “This,” she explained, “is where we sort our photocopying. That’s all that we do here.” Apparently I had been sneaking out of my ridiculously overstaffed office to use completely empty communal spaces. I made “Oh, I see” noises and then the director left me on my own, having so diplomatically reprimanded me.

And then I ran into my friend Courtney, who is in fact a librarian at Western in real life. She had the mostly beautiful, glossy, chestnut brown hair I’d ever seen. She walked me back to my overcrowded office, as if to make sure I didn’t leave its confines again. It turned out that it was her who had complained to the director about my inappropriate use of communal space. She didn’t like me taking up some her of expansive letter-opening space with my laptop, trying to get some work done outside the zoo that was my own allotted space. She, of course, had an office all to herself, but it’s always best to have separate space for activities as important as photocopy-sorting and letter-opening.

“Courtney,” I said, getting teary (as I always seem to do in dreams), “why didn’t you just tell me if you weren’t happy with what I was doing?”

She shrugged, She was vaguely annoyed with me, and tossed her beautiful, glossy hair in my direction to underscore her annoyance.

And then she saw my overcrowded office. There were probably 40-odd people in there, all typing on 1970s typewriters, or sorting through large stacks of envelopes, some dealing cards with green visors on their heads. There was lots of noise and I think some smoke rising from the whole crazy mess. The small spot that had been reserved as mine was now entirely covered over by someone’s mousepad.

Courtney was shocked. Apparently the configuration of my workspace had been a secret until that moment. (How anyone can keep 40-odd people and that much 1970s office equipment a secret is beyond me.) And then she started to laugh. She laughed and laughed and laughed.

Maybe I was allowed to use the letter-opening space after that.

0 thoughts on “Library Anxiety

  1. That’s quite a dream. My offhand guess would be that you’ve got some (probably quite justifiable) concerns about being able to spread your wings in your new job.

    I’m guessing you’ll be all right, somehow.

    Grinning, though — because the library I’ll be working for is in the midst of a space shuffle, my workspace will seem a lot like your dream’s for a few months!

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