Thursday, December 07, 2006

a recipe for t.b.

that's basically what i'm in for at the library i work at. some nights are just particularly demoralizing: the way the entire system is designed to squash any ambition or sense of initiative you might have; the baleful, bleary eyes of a listerine-soaked rubbie; the tension and delicate ballet of navigating around said rubbie without getting them started on a yelly and occasionally violent rampage; the pervasive smell of months-unwashed bodies in the air; and finally, to put the icing on the cake of misery, lippy teenagers that i want to cuff upside the head. joy.

i really wish they'd grant me the transfer i'm begging for.

in other news, the other day we had a talk about ethics in one of my classes. we were presented with various "scenarios" and the idea was to talk in groups about how we'd respond when presented with a particular situation. the first one went something like this: "a well dressed middle-aged gentleman comes to the desk asking for information on how to make crystal meth. he says he's worried that his son might be involved in such an activity. you notice that he's carrying a bag with lots of cold medication." the responses were varied throughout the class. there were the people like me, who are staunchly for the "freedom" of information, and don't believe in profiling. then there were people who said that if they were librarians working in small communities ravaged by meth, would call the cops, or would base their decision on the age of the person asking.

at one point i raised my hand and asked the class: "how many of you have done crystal meth?" not really expecting an answer. the prof said that in the moment, we're going to be faced with situations where we won't/can't know the full extent of what we're dealing with. which is kind of my problem in the first place and is what prompted my question. our profession is predicated on this idea of "authenticity" "verifying information" and yet, we don't acknowledge our lack of critical engagement when it's a topic that hits close to home, or acknowledge our own prejeudices and biases. i'm not saying that meth labs are a good thing, but i'm kind of saying that you can't penalize people for THINKING about doing something, and that's not our job.

codes of conduct and ethics are just liminal discursive spaces, that provide a buffer for us to rest on, until such time as whatever the issue we're presented with HITS TOO CLOSE TO HOME. then it'll all go out the window. ethics conversations (in this particular discussion anyway) obfuscate the fact that they're enacted and lived through people and the decisions of people. i think this discussion also revealed (through its' invocation) the hysteria and cultural zeitgeist that rests on a surface issue. again, yes, meth labs are a problem, but the greater problem is the economic underpinnings that allow or encourage such systems to proliferate, so what do i do when someone at the library asks me to tell them more about capitalism? a reductive example but hopefully it kind of gets my point across.

pretty messy post. i'm still trying to work through what i want to say about this in a cogent fashion. i was really uncomfortable with what i said in class and it's kind of torturing me. i don't think i adequately represented myself and it's killing me.

dinner tonight is going to be pad see yew, a thai-style rice noodle dish with tofu, bok choy and shrimp in a chinese-influenced sauce with oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy, etc. i think i'm going to make some kind of cookie for dessert: at the moment it's a toss-up between the mona's mother's mother's recipe and a gingersnap. both go equally well with an ice-cold glass of milk.

fin.

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