One of the things about being a graduate student that they don’t really warn you about is a tendency to accumulate library books. Seriously. These things breed like rabbits. I’m thinking of investing in little book-prophylactics to see if it doesn’t alleviate the problem. Just the other day, my desk was clear and devoid of books. Today? Oh, today.
I woke up this morning and there they are, staring at me. I don’t really know how they got
there. I don’t remember taking that many home. Maybe they followed me? I’d like to think that I don’t look like that much of a sucker… that I don’t look like the kind of girl who would open her home to strange drifters… but maybe I’m wrong about myself. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Past experience has dictated to me that once they start, you simply can’t stop them. They continue to pile up, continue to build, continue to wait for their moment. And it’s nearly futile to resist. You go to return one or two and realize no, you need those books, you require those books, those books are your new friends.
And that is how they infiltrate their way into your life, your home, your family. That is the insidious workings of their minds. That is how they ingratiate themselves into your research, indoctrinating themselves into your way of life.
And soon, you can’t do without them. The more you try, the more you realize that you are utterly dependent upon them. They have you in the palm of their hand and you just don’t know if there’s any way to escape. They’re so dependable, so trustworthy. Always waiting obediently by your desk, always willing to provide some tidbit of information vital to what you are doing. And if you got rid of them, you would need that tid bit sure as an actor needs work.
So you wait. And they wait. And one day you find yourself stepping over towers of them on your way to your desk. And one day you realize that you can’t work at your desk anymore because they’ve covered every available surface. And one day you realize that you’ve just got to do something about this because you can’t find anything anyway and what’s the point in having books when you can’t get to the information you needed in the first place?
So you pack them in a rolling suitcase and you bring them to the library, the whole while feeling sick as you hear their helpless little cries erupt from your trunk. “But we were so HELPFUL. Don’t you want us anymore? Don’t you need us anymore?”
And you drop them off, waving a bittersweet goodbye as you try not to look over your shoulder that last time. Trying not to care. Tying to harden yourself against the inevitable.
Because you know. It comes in cycles. You’ll be back. Oh yes, you’ll be back. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not for those books, you’ll likely never see them again. But you can’t escape it. This is the nature of your job. This is the nature of your life.
You, the books. The books, you. Clung together in a downward spiral. Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.