Circumnavigation of the Soul (Hug a librarian)
Have you ever had one of those experiences that brings everything full circle and ultimately brings closure? You know, a true circumnavigation of the soul. This morning I had one those life defining moments and the only set of words that could possibly explain my emotions is pure unadulterated bliss. In a very uncharacteristic move, I made the decision to run to the library. This excursion is something I used to do almost daily until I sold my soul to schoolwork and Sister Act Two: Back in the Habit. Since school is officially out and I wore out the VHS tape, I jogged to my local library. Like any self-respecting book work I live within two miles of a library and waited with true enthusiasm for ten minutes until the door opened. Ecstasy finally set in. I grabbed two Shonen Jumps, a copy of Nightmare inspector, and a cup of nostalgia. Pretty sweet, right? That was not the full circle.
While I was reading, my favorite librarian popped up and began to talk to me. Yes, I have a favorite librarian. Yes, I have a list of librarians from varying branches and schools across the nation listed from preferred to least favored. No, I have not chosen a life as a lonely cat lady man. Any who, I was asked to give a small pep talk to the new summer program recruits. Since I have been in the program for about four/five years, it made sense that I would be able to give a somewhat eloquent speech on the joys of volunteering.
So I spoke.
I spoke about my high school experience, about the joys of volunteering and how it can help you, and why it is best to start young. I spoke about how the library shaped me and about how it impacted my decision on what to major in. I spoke about the benefits of befriending librarians ( If you are as forgetful as I am, it smart to be friends with the person who can sign out library books to you) and why 100+ volunteering hours will make colleges look at you a bit closer. I only spoke for a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity to me. I reveled in moment, seeing those four kids in the same seat that I sat in for my first orientation. If I had more time to think, to speak, I would have told them to talk to the kids they would be seeing daily. Not just to the ones who shared that passion for reading that brought us all into that room on a Saturday morning, but to the children who were dragged to the summer reading program. It is easy to identify with the kids who choose to read on their own accord. This is because we all once hid under the Pokémon plastered covers at ten P.M. (way past the barbaric bed time placed upon us by the parental unit) and read novels by the light of a Gameboy SP while the rest of the household slept away, blissfully unaware that a new universe was being born. No, those kids flock to books like mice to cheese. Engaging the children who found no solace in a Borders (R.I.P.) gift card is the real job of a summer reading volunteer. Who knows, maybe suggesting that the baseball player read a book by Dan Gutman changes his/her entire outlook on reading. There was a lot I wish I could have said. What I said did suffice.
I am not a huge fan of the idea of everything happening for a reason. Existential nihilism is a concept that I am quite fond of. However, something compelled me to get off of my ass to jog to that library. Something compelled me to stay in the library and read, despite the fact that I had things to do at home. Something compelled me to speak. That something gave me closure. The summer reading program was one of the few constants in my life from middle school to high school graduation. As I transformed from an introverted preteen with a lot of South Jersey angst to a young adult ready to take on the world, the summer reading program at the library was always there. I am not one hundred percent sure of anything in this world. Anybody who is, is simply kidding themselves. People are changing, right and wrong is transposable, and moments are never exactly the same. Still, I am grateful for the thing (or not thing) that allowed me to speak this morning at the library. In a time where old doors are shut and new gates are being formed, it is nice to know that some things wrap up nicely. Thank you to all the librarians who have helped me thus far, and thank you to all the ones who I will soon meet.
Sorry for the rambling. I’m a sucker for these kind of things.