Cafe Hitch-hike


Be careful with what you say...

Words can hurt. Words can maim. Words can cut through a person like a razor. They can create hurt, bleeding, not on the body but in one's psyche.

I was humbly reminded of this at the univ.lib. There has always been stress between various service desks and finger-pointing. The technology people don't care and give lousy service. The reference desk girls don't do anything are just eye candy. The check-out desk also doesn't do anything. These are the perceptions that the desks seem to have of each other.

One of the graduate assistant joined forces to with one of our undergrad assistants to draw a cartoon. It probably happened late in the evening when time drags. The cartoon depicted a reference desk person directing a student to the technology desk, with the tech. desk person being evil, rude and telling the student "We don't care about you, you suck!" The storyline continues to the frustrated ref. desk person going to the tech. desk and getting martial art on their ass. Numb-chucks, swords, and chains were part of the storyline, including a Matrix-like kick through the air to the face.

After the interaction, the ref. desk person returns feeling much better.

The thing about the cartoon is one of the clever artists shown it to all the librarians. Our boss was pretty mad about that. Then, something happened where the ref. desk and the tech. desk had an incident. My boss got so concerned she sent an e-mail to all of us about how we needed to stop the little snipes and that we had to work together:

I am also aware of a cartoon that circulated that is inappropriate. Those of you involved will know what I'm talking about. This did end up being seen by members of the tech. desk and is very hurtful. There is not one of us who does not complain or comment about issues that are frustrating while at work. Making fun of, insulting, or generally responding in a rude way to co-workers isnot acceptable.

The boss was right about one thing, and that is how hurtful that cartoon was. The supervisor of the tech. desk had seen it and was not at all amused.

It all makes me think of how calloused we are towards one another. We don't think about how words can affect others. We are so zoned in our little worlds and little lives that we forget that there is a broader world outside of ourselves where everybody lives, and that we have to live with each other.

I thought about what I was feeling and my own frustrations. I was very angry this morning about other things that happened. I was ready and prepared to blast away not just about how I felt but how angry another person made me feel. I was ready to type all my frustrations down, right here, not just about that person but little quirks about him (or her). I was ready to also name-call and say shit, but what happened this morning really put it in perspective.

Is what I have to say about my feelings at that time and place just that important? Is it really that important that I tell the world on the internet? Will my saying this make the world a better place or make my life better, or is it just more trash littering the air like the trash on Cass Corridor? Will the words describing my inner state help me resolve what is troubling me, or will it spiral into something more severe?

I will be mindful of what I say and where I say it, as I am reminded today.

downwind | upstream