A mostly cynical, but always sincere, take on balancing the two hemispheres of my life: Circus and Libraries.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

In an attempt to surmount the acute case of "compassion fatigue" that I've been harboring recently, I made a resolution to be more attentive and well, compassionate, to the loonies at the library. I realized that a shift in my way of thinking about the library professions would help me with this goal. So now, instead of identifying myself as a "librarian", I am now a "library counselor and pseudo social worker". Of course, the day I pick to start this mission is a Sunday (which is normally insane to begin with) following a Saturday on which we were closed. woo-hoo.

I guess what I want to say is: A very verbally abusive and agressively mentally ill woman crapped in her pants and sat in 5 or 6 chairs before we could get her outside and even then she pulled the race card on me--as if I were accusing black people in general of not being able to control their bowels. There is supposed to be a real, live social worker in building to get this woman someplace to clean herself up and get some clean pants, but I it appears he wasn't here today. Not only that, we probably have our own bathrooms listed on our handout for "Homeless Shelters and Other Emergency Services" judging from the sense of entitlement with which most indigents use our facilities. This is just fucking frustrating. I am most certainly an advocate for EVERYBODY's right to use the public library--but not to use it as a bathroom, a shooting gallery, a whorehouse, or a porno arcade. When and how did people begin to assume that just because it's 'free' and 'public' that all social decorum and manners fly out the window? No one acts like this at in other public buildings in the city.

You know why? Because we are the only organization that puts up with it. Our administration if a bunch of fucking pussies that can't say no to anyone because they are afraid of lawsuits and rights organizations shitting down their necks when they try to uphold any sort of standards. And they should be afraid. Pretty soon, everyone in San Francisco will have their own community interest organization. Everyone will have at least one rights advocate appointed to them and their particular sphere of existense. I would like a full team and a board of directors for mine: The Anne Weshinskey Association for the Advancement of Anne's Personal Wishes and Goals. I DEMAND EQUAL RIGHTS! And I want equal access for me to all the entertainment venues I deam entertaining for free, I'd like to take a crap in the Mayor's office, and then I want to set up a circus tent outside the ferry building and force every resident of San Francisco to watch me perform--at least once. It should be possible. In a city where we try to hard to cater to everyone, can't we at least cater to people that want free and open access to information and a safe and quiet place to study this information? I want to start a coalition of people who are not rich enough to have their own computers, own libraries, or personal assitants (people that have to use the library for information) but not so insane that they are distupting the well being of researchers. With all the money the city spends in programs, the insane should have their own places to go. I think they are called 'asylums'.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Although my recent travels have been confined to my very own United States of America, it doesn't make them any less fun or interesting. In fact, they have greatly outranked China in the 'fun' department. But then, so does eating oatmeal in a bathtub full of lukewarm water. And what could be more interesting than almost dying on Interstate 40 in a thunderstorm? Nothing, that's what.

My dear friend (a description which, while being concise, doesn't really
elucidate my particular relationship with this person in any sort of simplistic way) decided to move from San Francisco to New Orleans. Because the mere thought of this person leaving my side, much less the city, makes me blind with despair, I decided to make the drive with him. Plus, it gives me an excuse to eat fried road food without guilt. Our first taste of said guilt-free livin' took place before we even crossed the California state line. We made up for $3 gallons of gasoline by eating food prepared for its quantitative properties. Not that In and Out Burger lacks quality, but we did fill up on burgers, fries and shakes for barely any money. Yum. There were also some Cheetos, ice cream bars, sodas and other delectables before we finally reached the end of the road for the night in Needles, CA.

Taking a little detour onto Historic Route 66, we drove (in 15 seconds) through
the town of Needles and found the white A-frame that announced the Needles Inn. "High-speed internet. Cable," they bragged. Hell, we just needed a place to sleep and to allow my road acne to incubate. This little touch of the Alps near the Arizona border seemed like just the place. After a dinner of potato skins, french dip, and Budwiser, we drove the 100 feet back to our "chalet" and crashed out
on the world's most comfortable mattress.

I have now come to believe that this perfect mattress contained small amounts of sedatives which were absorbed through the skin and that, in tandem with the mattress's insanely perfect loft, allowed us to slumber blissfully while someone made off with the gas from our gas tank. And that bright white smile from our Indian host upon check-out--was it a knowing one? Like, "wink wink. . . my friend, in approximately 10.2 miles you will run out of gas, even though you fueled up last night before retiring. . . thank you, come again!"?

In any event, that is exactly what happened, only it took us awhile to figure out what had transpired. Under a clear morning sky, we crossed over the Arizona border. As we were enjoying the pinks, purples,oranges, grays, and greens of the desert, the truck began to lose power. The depression of the gas pedal did nothing to accelerate us, and we heard some sputtering and spitting. "Didn't we just get gas last night before we got to Needles?" "Maybe it was bad gas." "Maybe it's the fuel pump." "Maybe someone stole our gas." Fuckers. We pulled over, hazards on, and drove slowly on the shoulder, trying to make it to the next exit on fumes, giving up about a mile from Shinarump Drive. When I speak of "fun", I'm speaking of the pure delight I get from hearing a very masculine grown man first say, then spell, 'Shinarump' to the AAA dispatcher. The guys showed up with the gas in 1/2 hour and chuckled knowingly when we told them where we had stayed the night before. It was a pleasant half hour in which I ate Bulgarian cheese, Stephen smoked a cigar and drank Gatorade, and we tried to identify the desert foliage and the desert debris, the most curious being a water bottle full of what looked like turds. Oh, and we named the enormous manitou that had erupted on the left side of my face. Needles the Zit is not with us anymore, but she accompanied us on the rest of our journey southeast.

Then we got back on the road in time to eat breakfast at IHOP. Some egg and beef torpedo for me, and in the spirit of the Big Lebowski, lingonberry pancakes for the man. Our portly, stain-covered, and amazingly friendly waitress asked us where we were from and going to. We mentioned we were heading to the Grand Canyon, and she ohhed and ahhhed, and advised us to definitely check out the watchtower. That makes the third person to recommend it, so we headed for the south rim. Two hours and a 20-degree drop in temperature later, we were in Tusayan, getting our bearings on the Grand Canyon. Rain looked certain in the future, but we got our passes into the park and took a drive to a couple of overlooks into the Canyon. Who would have thought a big hole in the ground could be so majestic? Still, the clouds were obscuring its full glory, and we opted to come back the next day to hike around in there when it was lighter.

In the morning, I went running into some residential neighborhood, and then out the other side of it to a logging road inhabited by rabid crows. Well, just one crow in particular who turned what was a beautiful and insipiring run into a fearful sprint for cover. Not only was it huge, but was intent on dive bombing me in order to gouge my eyes out. Or at least pull my sweaty hair out with his razor sharp talons. Alright, I'm exaggerating, but I booked it back to the hotel, where we ate instant oatmeal (way too healthy for this trip) and checked the weather report. It called for rain, but if we moved quickly we could see some of the Canyon before it hit.

We got out at the head of the Grandview Trail, where if you closed your eyes you could pretend that you were in Germany and the locals were giving directions to French visitors. Or vice versa. That is to say, we were outnumbered by Europeans. After an arduous and exhausting trip halfway into the canyon, we were forced to turn back because of some sort of sore vagina problem. At least that..s the official line. I never even felt my vagina, but that..s the excuse I..m supposed to give for not going all the way down. Someone else..s knee hurt, but you know, he could have kept going. . . Anyway, it was, gorgeous and smelled nice like burning mesquite and sage (the canyon, not his knee.) We were so overwhelmed with all the natural beauty, that we headed towards the watchtower and the gift shop. In the watchtower we looked through binoculars to the Colorado River where people with more planning skills than us were rafting or canoeing. To think that one must actually make plans months to a year in advance to partake in canyon adventures. I can't travel that way. I was satisfied with just touching the canyon and then buying a Christmas tree ornament in the gift shop. I was just satisfied that the Grand Canyon is not in China.

After we had had our fill of nature, we decided to try to make it to Amarillo for the night. Not that there is anything worth seeing in Amarillo, but it's good to have goals. The problem was that our goal, while realistic, was to challenge us as a result of bad weather. Somewhere outside of the Grand Canyon it began raining enormous, smooshy, heavy raindrops. Our excitement crested at around the time we spotted the billboard for "Knife City". It was there we hoped to fill a gift request for a switchblade. Imagine our disappointment upon seeing the decayed ruins and grass-infested parking lot of what was once a glorious weapons outlet. No switchblades on this trip. On we pressed into New Mexico, and then Texas, still with the same unrelenting rain. I was fortunately not driving during the worst of it, though I would have if asked, and I..m grateful for Stephen..s excellent handling of the truck under these circumstances. Especially when we nearly hydroplaned into a semi. It was either skill, or a miracle, or both that kept us from flipping the car and dying together on I-40. We had been debating over whether a beautiful old orange car being hauled by the semi was indeed an Impala or a GTO. We almost had to die to find out it was an Impala. Not worth it. But we did finally make it to Amarillo around 2am. Mission accomplished.

Why hang out in Texas when we can drive 14 hours straight to New Orleans? which is what we did. We stopped along the way to eat Tex Mex food outside of Dallas. Good God! It was so cheap and had the best melon aqua fresca on the planet. The entire way through Texas I was feeling nostalgic, and while everyone else in the world bitches and moans about driving through Texas, I love it. I am supremely comfortable in Texas and often have a little voice telling me to move back. That, and "Kill for Satan" I usually ignore both. We pulled into Hammond, LA around midnight and went directly to the Tasty Donut (Krystal burger was closed) for some sliders. So I..m thinking about 10,000 calories per day? By the time we arrived at Stephen..s mom..s house, I couldn..t fit into my jeans anymore.

The next night we went to Decatur street to do some drinking, and it was my first New Orleans experience in which I maintained my sanity and wasn't injured, robbed or drugged. I know it doesn't as sound as exciting as if we'd been knifed or something, but it restored my ability to enjoy that city, and made it all the more heartbreaking to see what has become of it. It's terrifying to think that the only people that have the money to build upon its ruins are fucking multinational corporations and chains. I only wish there was something I was able to do. Is there?

So 100 pounds of fried food, 100 milller high lifes, and only 20 minutes of chalga later (aren't I accommodating) I am back in San Francisco..alone..and wishing I lived in the south again. Or wishing that Stephen came back with me. Or wishing that we could keep driving to somewhere together. Only next time, I'll pack jeans a size larger.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's amazing how a little pre-work cunnilingus will nudge those clock-hands forward so much more quickly! I've been at the reference desk for and hour and a half, but it feels like 5 minutes. Not only that, but I've managed to answer each and every question with a smile on my face and not a trace of distracted annoyance. The thing is, I was a a tad worried that what with all the after-lunch pussy-licking that was happening at home, I might be late to work again.
Normally, I don't worry too much about punctuality for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have had this job off and on for twelve years and have never been reviewed or reprimanded. Secondly, it is my opinion that since I am a "floater" librarian who fills in where I'm needed, that they are lucky that I show up at all. And most importantly, most of my coworkers realize that I have another career on which most of my energy is spent and they are incredulous that I even have the stamina to juggle the two. In other words, I've been cut some slack.
That is, until yesterday, when I found out my supervisor has been doing her job! She is the first to actually care what is going on with the pool of "as-needed" librarians. She checked with all of the reference desks and asked them to review our performance and then scheduled appointments with us in which she filled us in on what they've been saying behind our backs. It is no surprise to me that my two main criticisms were tardiness and conducting personal business on the desk. Where else am I supposed to do it? The patrons are allowed to conduct their personal hygiene and bathroom business all over the library, so why can't I write a blog or two? But the punctuality thing made me want to try harder. That is, until my BF insisted there was enough time to go downtown before I had to be at work. I had an excuse in case I was caught. He made me blow him in exchange for a ride to work. We're even.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Often on the job, I experience paranoid delusions not unlike those of our patrons. Only instead of insisting that the librarians are in on a plot to either a)foil their attempts at internet usage b)read their minds or c)cover up for bigger government conspiracies (as if. . .) my paranoia stems from the absolutely inane or unphathomably clueless questions I'm sometimes asked. When moments like this arise, I think my collegues are playing a "Candid Camera"-style prank on me to see how I'll react. Case in point, my last reference question: "Where is poetry?" How does one answer that satisfactorily? I inquired as to preference, which elicited, "These Beat poets guys, one's name is Ginseng, and the other is like Kurotow, or maybe Krakatoa." I hope I passed whatever test I was being put through when I nudged the patron into agreeing to read poems by Ginsberg and Kerouac. Which one of you boogers put that young thing up to it?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Boo Hoo, poor me. Allow me to feel sorry for myself for a moment, I'm having a shitty week. I guess I've spent the last year and a half trying to get over Shitty Week '04. That 'week' was actually closer to a month, and in it I pretty much covered all the bases in terms of traumatic experience: The end of a long-term relationship, eviction, loss of a job, deaths of loved ones, the theft of a brand new bike, a broken leg and other health problems. I guess I was hoping for some sort of free pass for awhile, but I suppose I was due. In any event, there is only one incidence this week that I care to discuss in any detail,and it has to do with the library.
More specifically, it has to do with a certain computer terminal in a certain department with a certain sometime co-worker looking at certain photos of me that should have been private. As I was leaving work yesterday, one of my coworkers, a congenial, hip, and calm woman a few years older than me approached me, smiling, and slyly informed me "**** was sitting at that terminal over there, and he came across some photos. . ."
"Of me? Was I naked?" That I would immediately assume the worst is indicative of my state of mind right now. She said, chuckling, "I was standing on the other side of the room and he let out a, 'Oh, Shit! It's Weshinskey' [ that's what they call me professionally.] So I went over to check it out and there you were!"
"But was I naked?" She told me I was and I acted cool, but inside I was freaking out. How are there naked pictures of me on the computer at work? When did I take naked photos of myself and where are they now? Since we were closed for the day, and the computer was turned off I elected to sort it out today, arriving a little early for my shift to figure out what was going on. I spent the evening alternately throwing the focus of my stress from these supposed incriminating photos, to the other two major problems in my life right now, waking up throughout the night either crying or sweating. I called the Foxy Librarian, hoping she could explain to me how this was possible. Was my very distant past career as an "adult" entertainer coming back to haunt me? Am I the target of the anger of someone who can use photoshop? Help! But I couldn't reach her.
When I arrived at work, I headed directly to the offending terminal, found the picture file in MyDocuments, and right there in a big, colorful box it said "WESHER" (my work nickname.) Gritting my teeth, I clicked on it, and out spewed thousands of beautiful and captivating photos of my last trip to Turkey. As I scrolled through the thumbnails, I kept thinking, "Is there something I forgot about my last trip to Turkey?" Finally--I landed on it. A couple of simple photos of me technically topless under a waterspout. I'm turned to the side enough in all of them, that one cannot even discern so much as a nipple! So I spent a sleepless night, worrying about my coworkers getting a steamy, hot, shot of my back and a tad bit of side boob cleavage. I've seen people in office attire more revealing than those photos.
The moral of the story is, I don't know. But I was thankful that I had that to distract me from other, more disturbing issues in my life, even momentarily. And I'm also thankful that I have built a friendly rapport with most of my library coworkers to the extent that they felt (they told me this morning) that it would have been funny to have made those photos the screensavers on all the departments computers. Ha ha ha.