Offensive Boredom

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Of course, relating to that last post, the one perk of having a job others find boring is that it's a good way to cut short unwanted conversation. A few years ago I volunteered to work at my sister's Grad Night, which involved being locked in a gym with about 800 graduating High School seniors for a night. And, in my case, being forced to share a ticket redemption table for 9 hours with an evangelical Christian mom. After humoring her for an hour, smiling and nodding along to her discussions of Christ's love and all the sinful jeans the girls were wearing nowadays, I decided to put a stop to it.

"In many ways," I said, "That reminds me of my job at the library. Let me tell you about the 1981 India Census. About a year ago we got this call from this public interest organization in Connecticut. You might have thought they'd be affiliated with Yale, but they weren't. They were in Hartford, but Yale is in New Haven. Did you know that New Haven used to be a colony on its own, seperate from Connecticut? But they merged before the Revolution, so that's why there's only one state of Connecticut. But my point is this: These people are making these microfilms, see? Of important public documents? And I suppose they thought somebody would want a microfilm of the 1981 India Census. Why anyone would want that is beyond me. But I suppose some statisticians or demographers might find it useful. Still, though, it seems like there ought to be executive summaries that'd be just as good. In any case, they needed a copy of this census, so that they could make a microfilm of it. Well, they looked around and apparently our library at Berkeley has the most complete set of the 1981 India census in the country. So they made a deal where we'd ship them the census, and they would microfilm it, and then ship it back to us. And eventually the job fell to me to handle this whole mess. Well, shipping that census out was no walk in the park, let me tell you. The first thing that needed to be done was that the books had to get put in their proper order. Now, the library of congress call number system..."

And so on for about twenty minutes. By the time I finished that one story she looked anxious and slightly mortified. "Oh," she said, "That's interesting."

"Well, if you think that was interesting, wait'll I tell you about six months later when the same people requested the 1991 India census!"

"Um, maybe you could tell me later. I've got this book I'm reading for my book club and I wanted to make some progress tonight..."

"A book, eh? I wonder what the Library of Congress call number would be..."

"No need! Let's just sit silently and read."


And I think we shared about 10 words the rest of the evening.

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That is the best rhetorical question EVER.

"Boy, has your ticket been REDEEMED??!?"

You have to have a real twisted john Huston on boilermakers kind of southern old testament accent when you ask it.


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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on January 25, 2006 4:47 PM.

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