People seem to have a lot of assumptions about librarians. Of course everyone thinks we're all spinstery old ladies who like nothing more than to shush teenagers and gyp people out of quarters, but I don't mind that one because my beard pretty much proves I'm not a crotchety spinster. We're also assumed to be a giant pack of squares but again I'm not super worried about that one since I spent a bunch of money on tattoos and that seems to get me a little street cred. (Why this is, I have no idea. You don't have to pass any sort of Cool Guy Test to get tattoos, you just go make an appointment then spend a couple hours in pain. It's pretty much like the dentist except you'll probably hear a few more swear words.)
One that kind of bugs me is that everyone assumes that because I'm a librarian I've not only heard of whatever book they're currently reading, but I've also read it and formed an opinion of it and my opinion is probably going to be the same as their opinion. Most of the time it astonishes people when I tell them I've never read anything by whoever their favorite author is. I suppose I should take it as a compliment that people think librarians read every single book that comes into the building, but I think at least sometimes people look at me askance when I don't have a working knowledge of every book in the library. Like I haven't been doing my homework or something and they're considering telling on me. There are a lot of books in libraries, people. Can't read 'em all.
On a different subject, this past weekend we attempted to bring a bit of Americana to Finland and we convinced our friends to throw a Halloween party. Our friend Lyndsey adapted one of my wife Lyndsey's (yes, two Lyndseys, it is very confusing) old costumes and dressed up as a gnome, complete with a peaked red hat made out of posterboard and a beard made out of a sheet of cotton. Our friend Brad wrapped himself in an orange blanket and cut some pieces of felt into eyes and a mouth and went as a jack-o-lantern. I think they made quite an impression on the other bus passsengers, who were mostly dressed in what I am starting to think is the official Finnish chilly weather uniform of a black or grey jacket, a scarf thrown dashingly around the neck and an impossibly stylish haircut.
Our Finnish friends Elena and Maija hosted the Halloween party. It was very American. It included bobbing for apples, hot dogs (hot dog buns here come in packs of three with American flags on the wrapper) and Twister (which I won twice, NBD). Then we went to a fashionable tiki bar called "Kokomo," which is of course a strange juxtaposition to anyone from Indiana since Kokomo is also the name of one of the more economically depressed cities in the state and was listed in 2008 by Forbes as America's third fastest-dying town. However, the same magazine recently called Kokomo one of America's "best cities for jobs" and both unemployment and crime have fallen steeply in the last few years. Hopeful signs of economic resurgence aside though, when someone at the party told me that "we're going to Kokomo" it took me several seconds to figure out why anyone would suggest such a thing. The Wikipedia entry for Kokomo, Indiana tries hard to make the place seem fun but the section on "culture" stretches the meaning of that word to its absolute limits.
This week Lyndsey and I have plans to visit an island called Seurasaari where the birds and squirrels are tame enough to be hand fed. There are also plans to go mushroom hunting this weekend in the forest with Elena's family. Nature!