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international librarian of mystery

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Day After

I sidled into the librarian's staff-room to drop off my bag. It was about two minutes before my shift started. I hadn't seen the paper. There was one strewn over the table in the centre of the room. I took a glance. And froze.

There it was, bang at foot of the front page, a two-photo story about my blogging victory from the night before. The big photo was of the anonymous librarian's photo that had replaced my old profile pic, with another thankfully unrecognisable mug-shot of me they must have found over at noizy's site.

I quickly scanned the article. Hah! A Bridget Jones comparison - classic. I went to the Children's section, where I was filling in for the morning. Bella was the other librarian on the shift. Her eyes widened when she spotted me. She ditched her shelving and made a beeline for me...

"Um, thanks."
"So is Mrs Kambaa actually Mrs Kambaa?"
"Err, no."
"What about Mrs Oolong? Is that Mrs Oolong? It is sooo Mrs Oolong, isn't it?"
"Uh, no, actually. It's all made up."
"But it's so not, isn't it?"

Ah, to hell with it, I thought. I told her the truth. It was bound to come out eventually. I figured rather than being the person everyone came to for the full story, I could tell Bella and let the usual information-dissemination that librarians are so good at run its course. A distributed peer-to-peer networking paradigm, as opposed to overloading a single central server, as such.

I laid low for most of my shift, slowly shelving in the most distant corners, squatting between the book-stacks, out of sight. A couple of colleagues still managed to track me down so I could tell the 'Why?' story again. All the while, at the back of my mind, a vision was fermenting - of senior management trawling the site, spotting their characters, making notes.

Cataloguing is deserted on a Saturday, so I headed there after my shift, Dominion in hand, to have a proper read in peace and quiet. It was all there - the whole story of last night and of the blog. I logged on to a PC to check out what was going on online.

Site traffic was going through the roof. I checked the referrers. People were pouring in from the two big NZ newspaper sites: nzherald and stuff.

So there was a story it was in the Herald too!

Before my eyes another stream of traffic opened up from bookslut, and my visitor pinger started going off every couple of seconds.

I was too frightened to look at the comments. I turned off the computer and vowed to not look at the web again until Monday.

It was another beautiful day in Wellington. I caught the bus, bought a bottle of champagne at the supermarket on my walk home, took the phone off the hook, then went and sat in the shade of my wonderfully overgrown backyard, read some Vonnegut, listened to some Groove Armada, drank the bubbly, and dozed the day away.

Elsewhere, people were reading...