Contemporary Creative Nonfiction Speculative

   “I was wondering if you’d have any suggestions.”

    Being a Librarian, although stimulating, challenging, and sometimes beyond the pale of reason, does not make one a mind reader.

    Everyday I am asked to recommend something that will cure or kill an ambition or lack of one, with little to no knowledge of the person or their needs or wants.

    “Suggestions about what precisely?”

    “ I just left the clinic and they told me I had…here you look. I can’t say the words, let alone read them. Something to do with my state of mind. That is why I went. Something to do with everything lately being in a hyper type state of race.

    “Sorry, did you say state of grace?”

    “No, state of race. You know how when everything is speeded up and people begin to talk like those chipmunk characters that sound like they are on helium, that’s how I feel. I don’t talk like that, you may have noticed, but I hear things like that. That is why I went to the clinic, to see if they could help slow things down.”

    “I’m sorry Mam, but I’m just a librarian. I’m not authorized to give medical advice. If you would like to research your issues I can suggest you look in isle M, that’s where all the journals, books, and articles pertaining to medical questions are.”

    “M, Oh I see, for medical. I should have known that. Lately though I find my mind has begun to misplace things. I was asked just the other day what my name was, and do you know I couldn’t for the life of me remember. I was so embarrassed. I finally looked at my drivers license and it told me my name was… well you don’t need to know that. You’ve got my library card; I would imagine my name is on the card.

    You see I have grown with age to dislike redundancy. We have so little time, and to waste it by repeatedly duplicating the obvious, to tell you the truth it drives me crazy.

    As a matter of fact I have come to the conclusion that redundancy may be the root cause of my Daytona problem.”

    “Daytona Problem? What exactly is a Daytona problem? I don’t mean to be redundant and add to your problem, but I’ve never heard that exact combination of words previously and I am rather a connoisseur of words, so when I hear something unusual I can’t help but try and find out their origin.”

    “Well, you don’t appear to be too busy for a city employee, so I’ll tell you. If there were people in line I’d have to decline, but being as you are simply killing time, I’ll acquiesce.

     Daytona of course is where the Five Hundred is held. It is a stock car race, which because of technological innovation only resembles a “stock car” in name only, but I suppose you knew that being a librarian. Anyway ,when the race first began cars were stock. They came right off the show room floor. That’s how they got the name stock. You weren’t allowed to make a silk purse out of a pigs ear back then, if you know what I mean. But now, they look like cars, but that is all the resemblance to an off the assembly line vehicle you are likely to find. 

    It is real shame. We used to be able to depend upon on how the cars did in the race to project not only speed, but reliability in case we was considering buying one. 

    Anyway, being that I’m the only one here, and not taking another’s place, I will explain the problem being a Daytona one. It is a term I coined myself, being that you wanted to know the origin of words. You happen to notice my mentioning the speed of the cars? Well that is why I use those particular set of words together as an example; everything for me, is as if I’m watching a race that I am loosing.”

    My guidance counselor suggested, based on my aptitude tests that I consider being a psychoanalyst, or possibly a psychiatrist if my parents didn’t mind mortgaging their futures for my education; they did. That, and the fact that I have a problem with winy people. Something about the lack of self-assurance that gives me a headache, or makes me wish I had one. 

    People seem to think because I’m a public servant, which when analyzed is a stupid sentiment in its own right. Believe me if I wasn’t being paid I’d be in the park feeding pigeons and if someone tells you something different, they are deluding themselves.  

    Delusion I’m afraid is a condiment of the human condition I hadn’t realized had spilled into the public service realm. I can only imagine dog catchers, or I guess animal control service people, or mail persons, are subject to the same requests for free mental analysis, but they at least are in a position to run. I’m stuck here. Sure I can excuse myself, get lost in the endless isles of unread books, or pretend I’m replacing returned materials to their proper position on the shelves, but I can’t disappear like a meter maid. 

    “Do you see why I refer to my circumstance as a Daytona problem? You asked about the origin so I hope I was able to provide you with what you need. I can’t help but thinking if you were busier, you wouldn’t have been able to find the origins of my homemade phrase. Can you even call it a phrase if its only two words? I’m not good at things like that.”

     I asked my father once what he disliked the most about work. He had told me that he enjoyed the work he had now. “But there has to be something you don’t like about it?

     “It’s like this,” he said, “I was a roofer for a while. This one day I get up on the roof and this guy who lives in the house comes out, sets up a lawn chair, and just sits there watching me work. I don’t know why it bothered me, but it did. I quit and found the job I got now. Being a toll booth custodian, it’s just you and nobody, unless they want to take a good chance of getting killed coming to watch me.”

    I could see his point. Having a job to do and not being interrupted by people who think you should be doing something or being someone would be a blessing. But then I wouldn’t have found out what a Daytona problem was.

     “Just go down the aisle until you get to M, turn right and you’ll find whatever you need, or it doesn’t exist.”

     “You mean the M that stands for Medical, that one?”

    Dad would have been 52 years old today. They say he got confused that day, or that’s what they think. They put in these electronic lanes where people don’t need to pay like they used to. They just scoot through and a camera charges them. 

    He had said it was a darn shame, cameras watching people. Anyway he got run over trying to get to the porta potty they keep on the side of the road for emergencies. Dad had always said, “no body watching you in there; cameras neither; but then you never really know now a days.” He was a very private type person, suspicious though.    

April 15, 2022 18:47

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