Thursday, November 02, 2006

Feeling my age

This is another one of those situations that they never prepare you for in library school: I'm at the Circ Desk downstairs when a gaggle of young female students (all wearing matching t-shirts, no less) come running in my general direction. The leader has a piece of paper clutched in her hands that she pushes at me with a cryptic explanation...

"We're not allowed to look this up on the computer. Can you help us?"

Hmm. I glance down at the paper, which appears to be a checklist of short-answer questions -- the kind that don't generally appear on college exams.

"It's a scavenger hunt." The ladies giggle. "We need the answer to this question here."

I read the indicated question and immediately turn a bright shade of red (or, more appropriately, crimson) -- it asks the scavengees to locate a book about the time-honored act of sexual relations in the library stacks. The book they're supposed to find is none other than Michael Griffith's Bibliophilia, a book that I've actually checked out from Widener myself and read, but right then and there I'm drawing a complete blank. It's bad enough that I'm now twice the age of the average freshman, so the prospect of even beginning to find an answer to this question just feels like twenty different kinds of wrong.

All I can do is shuffle, stutter, and pray for an unannounced fire drill when one of the student desk workers takes pity on me and deftly handles the question for me. Thank God! As the young women check the item off their list and continue their scavenger hunt elsewhere, I thank the student employee, who laughs off my sheepish grin and my still-flushed face with her characteristic good humor. This helps me feel infinitesimally less mortified, but nevertheless...

Geez, I'm getting old.

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