Remember when we used to get on an elevator and everyone stared straight ahead? In awkward, uncomfortable silence? I do. I miss those days, they were good times. Quiet, peaceful, we all minded our own business then.
Or pretended to. Sure, there was an occasional sneer. A heavy sigh or two of impatient disgust. A condescending sniff of disapproval now and again. But, on the whole, people kept strictly to themselves. Confrontations were rare, outbursts were rarer, and civility was still a thing.
No one told me the rules had changed.
I found out when I boarded the elevator loaded down with groceries. They quickly became the center of attention, a hot topic of conversation, my groceries did. People were fascinated, scanning the contents, voicing opinions, commenting on brands. I was being judged for the contents of my shopping cart. And harshly. Coca-Cola, I was told, is no match for Mountain Dew. Lays potato chips are too salty. Bananas get ripe too fast. Pepperidge Farm is too fancy. A carton of milk unleashed gagging sounds.
Is it just me or does venturing into public feel like a never-ending episode of The Jerry Springer Show? Even libraries, thoughtful sanctuaries of knowledge staffed by the brightest, kindest, most helpful people on the planet, are under assault. In that fight, however, my money is on librarians. Mark my words, librarians will save the world.
Okay, before I go off on another long-winded rant, I’m going to stop there. I’ll grab myself a Coke, put my feet up, and think about penguins. Have a good week.
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