Do You Hear What I Hear?

It was apparently open mic day at the library. But the librarian didn’t hear himself broadcasting the phone call through the speakers, at least not at first.

“How did a 2 become a 3? How did it do that?”

Somehow he must have left the public address microphone live when he started his phone call.

My ears perked up in case the one-sided conversation turned juicy.

I suspect it was a mundane tech support call. Probably, both the librarian and the person he was calling were just staring at their screens and clicking around the various fields as they talked.

person entering data into a computer

What I imagine a librarian’s office looks like

“I’ve got Roberta on hold now…”

Hmm, will Roberta tell him to do something infuriatingly simple, like reboot the computer?

Will the librarian, subsequently, blow his top and yell obscenities?

What if he loses data in the troubleshooting process? Will we learn that he’s failed to subvert a breach from an evil ring of scholars trying to hack into JSTOR?

database search screen

Hackers might be effing up a scholarly database–ahhh!

I look around to see how other library patrons are reacting. No one is doing anything that indicates they  hear the PA system as it rambles on.

No one is even looking up. Heads are inclined towards books, electronic tablets, newspapers. People scanning the stacks keep searching for the right Dewey Decimal number.

If we ignore the noise, it will stop. Right? Yes, that’s what everyone else must be thinking. Not just me.

Maybe we’re all secretly hoping the boring phone call will be interrupted when the librarian’s paramour darkens his doorway. That could happen.

Finally the mic clicks off. For less than a moment, giggles erupt from the stacks, from the knitters on the couch, from the accounting student at her laptop.

Then the library falls silent again as though nothing happened at all.