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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Library angst

 I made it to Jersey last night – today, I’m at a small branch library. I approach the desk. A 30-something white librarian looks up as I approach. When I ask to use a computer, she glances around,  lowers her head and whispers: "I agree with you".
At first I’m clueless – I haven't uttered a word and she couldn’t possibly have seen me drive up and park. But I have forgotten, I’m wearing an old "pink slip bush" tee-shirt. As soon as I realize what she's talking about, I grin happily, after all I do love librarians, and open my mouth to respond, but she frowns deeply, moves closer and covertly says so softly I can barely hear: "I can't talk about it, I’ll lose my job."
I feel so sad  and silenced. Does this mean I can't talk about 'it'? Will she lose her job if  I’m  talking about ‘it’? Will someone ask me to take off my shirt while in the library? In New York  I was gruffly ordered to put away any 'propaganda' (I was carrying flyers) before I was allowed to gain entrance into the library.
“Well, this is the united states of america,” I say. “Freedom of speech and all that.”
She bitterly snorts, sits back down, her eyes glued on me, pulling me. “I have a 15 year old son,” she continues so intensely and quietly, I wonder if I’m  reading lips. Tears spring to both our eyes as I make the connection and say “I’m so sorry.”
Fiercely she mutters: “I won't allow it to happen. I’ll take us north. I’m  so scared. What if this goes on for another two years?”
Two white male librarians appear and take their seats down the counter. They're talking about some movie they both have seen – but not together. Some sci-fi.
My librarian has moved up the counter to give me a sign-on card. “I need this job,” she pleads, her voice low, desperate. “My husband's been laid-off for two years, I have to work.”
I tell her I understand. I want to tell her so much more. I urge her to check out the truck in the parking lot later.
The whole time I’m at the computer, the men keep discussing movies –  but my librarian can't talk.