Our Revels Now Are Ended

(I can’t take credit for that line in the title, by the way.  It’s Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act IV, Scene i.)

They say it takes two weeks to develop a habit, but two consecutive three-day workweeks is a habit I picked up quite easily and adapted to almost immediately.  Unfortunately, it won’t be a habit.  In less than 12 hours, I’ll be back in civil service mode, with such pressing concerns as typing lump sum advancements and ex parte orders, transcribing doctors’ reports, and so on.  Then, once 5 p.m. rolls around, I’m trudging the near-mile to Discovery Exchange, and facing the first-day-of-class onslaught.  Customers have arrived consistently in the few days that I have worked at Columbus State’s bookstore, but there were periods of time when I did nothing but walk around the shelves and straighten the spines of projecting books, put silver security strips someplace inconspicuous on the book covers, and re-shelve stray buybacks.  My work day will end 9 p.m.

Someone asked me why, just for this week, didn’t I end my Industrial Commission day at 4 p.m., so I’d have some “breathing room” between one job and the other.  He pretty much answered his own question when he phrased it that way.  I won’t say it’s fun to go straight from one job to the other, but it’s better because I’m still in work mode, and haven’t had time to lose the momentum and mental energy that’s geared toward work.  (The same issue arose in the summer of 2001, when I was working full time as a header entry clerk at Medco Health, and three or four evenings a week I worked in the stock room and loading dock at Sears near Westland Mall.  I insisted on going straight from one job to the other.)  A Marietta friend of mine used to be an operator for AT&T, and he often worked split shifts.  He’d work four hours, was off for four hours, and then back for another four.  That would drive me up a brick wall backwards if I ever tried a schedule like that.

Susie and I were out until 2 a.m. this morning, going to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Studio 35.  The movie is crazy enough, as we all know, but in Columbus the madness increases a thousandfold, thanks to the antics of The Fishnet Mafia, who host the show the first Saturday of every month.  Susie prevailed upon me to buy the movie kit for $1 (complete with toilet paper, a piece of toast, newspaper, a glow stick, and a noisemaker).  I was glad that The Fishnet Mafia posted prompts on the screen, as to what to throw and when, etc., because I hadn’t been to the movie since 1980.  (For years, I had always wanted to rent it from Blockbuster and watch it at home, throw my own toilet paper, wear the newspaper on my head in the privacy of my own living room, etc., but never did.)  Susie eagerly took in all the activity around her, but she wants to see the actual movie at home, so she can see what actually happens in it.  (I did see it on cable once, when I was up here visiting my mother, watching it on QUBE.)  She enjoyed it all, except she was seriously creeped when she realized that Riff Raff and Magenta were both a couple and siblings.

Sleep-deprived though we were, we both made it to church by 10:30 a.m.  Susie went to her class, and I went to the service.  The service had been going for about 10 minutes when my cell phone vibrated.  (They always ask you to turn off and/or silence electronic devices when the service begins.  As far as I know, that does not include pacemakers.)  I was receiving a text message, Look behind u.  Sure enough, it was Pat.  I went back and sat with him.  He was in the service by himself–his kids were in class, his wife was at a birth (or resting after having been at one).

My stamina collapsed once I came home.  Steph had taken her laptop and gone to a coffee house on High St., so the house was quiet.  Susie immediately went on Facebook and her blog.  I made a cursory check of my Facebook page and my email, and then around 2 p.m. went upstairs and collapsed in the bedroom.  I was asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.  I took off my glasses, cell phone, and shoes–that was it.  I only meant to sleep for an hour or so, but it was dark by the time I finally woke up.  So I don’t completely skew my body clock, I’m afraid I may have to resort to melatonin to sleep tonight.  I do this reluctantly, because I always feel hungover once I do awake.

Melatonin – the centerfold

Writing has proved to be a task so far this year (when has it not lately?), but to get myself in the mode (or mood–either word will work), I started listening to the B-52’s’ “Planet Claire” when I began typing this entry.  That’s a good typing song, as I discovered on fall afternoons in Athens when I earned a little extra beer money typesetting The Athens News.  Other than the radio, the music selections were quite limited.  The office had about three eight-track tapes, and one of them was The B-52’s.  I wished there was a way to fast forward an eight-track, because I had heard “Rock Lobster” so many times on Boston radio that I wanted to scream, but “Planet Claire” was an excellent song for typing.  I know that junior-high typing classes often typed to music, and that would be a great choice.  (Currently, Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice” is playing in my ear buds, and that is another song I’d add to the list.)  Leroy Anderson’s “The Typewriter” would be up there as well, but I’m not sure it’d occupy the top slot.
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"Some People Read Automobile Books or Rifle Magazines"

The title of this post is a line from the 1968 movie The Boston Strangler.  Attorney John Bottomly (Henry Fonda), who has been questioning the alleged Boston Strangler (Tony Curtis) for hours at a time, unwinds after these long interrogations by burning the midnight oil, burying himself in his law books.  When his wife asks why he is reading law, he says this is his way of relaxing.  “Some people read automobile books or rifle magazines,” he says.

My level of energy and motivation has been almost non-existent.  I was able to feign enough energy and activity for my first day back to work since Wednesday, but pretty much ran out of energy as soon as I came home.  I said hi to Steph and Susie, checked to see if there was any mail for me (there wasn’t), and then went up to the master bedroom and fell asleep immediately.  I didn’t remove shoes, glasses, watch, or cell phone, just collapsed in a heap on the bed.

The energy level (either mental or physical) isn’t much higher now, but nevertheless I’m going to try to stay focused long enough to type out a blog entry.  (I have my ear buds in and am alternating between the B-52s and the Alan Parsons Project right now, with no clue as to what that does for/to creativity.)

So, since I read neither automobile books or rifle magazines (having never used either an automobile or a rifle in my 47 years on earth), what am I doing to unwind?  Yesterday, I had a somewhat sustained burst of activity (it may have been a manic episode) and I spent hours communing with BookDB2, a shareware program I downloaded earlier this month from Spacejock Software.  I’ve begun cataloging my “holdings” here.

I’ve made futile efforts at this in the past.  When I took a public speaking class at St. Mary’s Middle School in the eighth grade, I gave a presentation on my book collection, and I brought in a small red and black hardbound notebook in which I had listed every book I had on my shelf (or windowsill or tucked over my bedroom door).  There was no logic or order as to where they went on the shelf–Jim Bouton’s Ball Four could be side by side with Joseph Gallagher’s To Be a Catholic, and paperback classics of American literature jostled alongside Pocket Books editions of Erle Stanley Gardner.

Most recently, I seem to have caught the bug after the evening I spent volunteering at Sporeprint, helping to organize and catalog its lending library.  (I wrote about it in an earlier entry in this blog.)  Our goal was to shelve the books by Library of Congress Classification.  Many books published in the last decade print this information after the title page, but when confronted with a book that didn’t have this, another person looked up the appropriate call number from the Library of Congress’ online card catalog.

Steph and Susie, sitting at their respective laptops in the dining room, looked up from time to time to see me carrying armloads of books from the milk crate bookshelves here in the living room and stacking them on the floor around my worktable.  Once sitting at the laptop, I’d click on BookDB2 and begin entering the specifics about the book.  At first, I was content just to enter author and title information, and maybe date of copyright, but soon I decided to enter call numbers.  Just like at Sporeprint, I kept the Library of Congress’ page up, and often found myself looking up book titles so that it would retrieve the call numbers for me.

(We’ve all heard the myth that the Library of Congress has a copy of every single book published in the United States.  It is just that, a myth.  I have encountered two books in my own collection–and I am sure there are more–that the Library of Congress doesn’t possess.  One is Sam Hedrin’s novelization of Network, based on the screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky.  The other is Robert Lomas’ The Secrets of Freemasonry.)

To make the project even more interesting, I set up the main menu to sort by call number, so it fascinated me to see the titles arrange themselves by subject matter–which they definitely are not in at the present moment.  Once the project is finished, I may consider buying the little spine stickers, marking the books, and then trying to arrange them in some semblance of order.  At least in the main menu, the sacred books are organized together (right now The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton is on the same shelf as Stephen King and James A. Michener).

I plan to be a deliberate latecomer to the world of the Kindle.  I have seen more and more people on the bus with them, especially after work, but I still like my over-the-shoulder bag bursting with actual print, from library books to the composition book in which I write my diary.  I may be more tempted once the price drops, but until then, a Kindle is nowhere on the horizon.  That is probably why my all-time favorite Star Trek character, throughout all the various series, was Captain Kirk’s attorney Samuel T. Cogley in the original series first-season episode “Court Martial.”  He eschews the use of computers and tapes, saying, “I’ve got my own system!  Books, young man, books!”  He invites himself–along with his many books–to move into Kirk’s cabin and excitedly discourses on how much he loves books before planning Kirk’s case with him.

“This is where the law is!  Not in that
homogenized, pasteurized synthesizer!”
–Samuel T. Cogley (Elisha Cook) to
Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner)
in “Court Martial,” Stardate 2947.3