"A library doesn't need windows. A library is a window." – Stewart Brand

Jul 25, 2010

The Tall One Knows!

There’s a semi-regular patron at the library where I intern. She is learning English and is usually in search of books with very short stories or essays to read, so that she can work on her comprehension without having to follow a long, complex series of thoughts. The last time I conversed with her was probably two or three weeks ago, at least; I don’t remember much of the conversation other than that she didn’t like the last book we’d found for her, and I helped her find another.
When I was at the library last week, a colleague asked me about this patron. Apparently she’d come to the desk with a question about something relating to writing. Unfortunately, because the patron's English is still fairly basic and her accent is pretty strong, my colleague couldn’t understand what the something was; only that it was a three-syllable word. The patron couldn’t write it down or spell it, but just kept repeating the word more loudly. As my colleague admitted defeat, the patron said, “The tall one knows! The tall one knows!”
I stand four to six inches above almost all of the other reference staff, and I’ve begun to develop a relationship with this patron, so the referent of this statement was fairly clear. Thus my colleague approached me.
…and I have no idea what on earth the patron was talking about! Admittedly I don’t have much to go on; if I’d actually been there I might have been able to suss it out. But I honestly don’t remember our previous interaction in great detail. I don’t remember precisely what we talked about. I’m now a little petrified of the next time I encounter this patron, because I really do want to help her but I’m not sure I’ll be able to! I joked that they say wisdom is knowing what you don’t know...
Above all, however, I am highly amused at my new appellation. It has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? I am… The Tall One. She Who Knows.

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