Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Beauty and Risk
Last week I took a photo of some primroses in a flower bed on the high street, and ran it through my Waterlogue app. This is what emerged. It's a little scary how easy it is to produce impressive "art" with modern technology!
Library madness continued yesterday -- a steady stream of customers. I seriously think I may be the one person in the entire school who has contact with the most other people. Parents come with their kids and see each other and wander around the building and collect belongings and those in music classes have to pick up instruments. But virtually everyone comes to the library, and winds up at my desk.
As I told one mother, it will be a freaking miracle if I don't contract this virus, based on my number of contacts alone. We were joking -- gallows humor -- but I do worry a little about it. I even took to wearing latex gloves yesterday, not only to protect me but to protect everyone from me. I mean, what if I'm one of these people who has it but isn't symptomatic? I could be Typhoid Mary sitting there.
Anyway, here are the numbers to back me up. Last Monday and Tuesday -- normal school days -- we logged 231 circulations, including 87 involving equipment (computer or phone chargers, calculators or headphones). But over the last two days, we logged 1,233 circulations -- more than five times as many as the previous week -- and they were all books, except for 32 board games.
(I'm unclear on whether "circulations," as logged by our library system, means just checkouts or both checkouts and check-ins, but never mind. We haven't checked in much this week at all.)
Obviously that doesn't mean I've dealt with 1,233 people, because one person often checks out a big stack of items. But still. I've certainly seen dozens of people, and probably more than 100.
Here's the original primrose photo, just for comparison's sake.
Anyway, I have one more day of library duty, and today I'm splitting my shift with a co-worker so I don't have to go in until 11:30 a.m.
The world has always been full of risk, though. I came across this little item online yesterday evening, a list of the things that killed people in London back in 1721:
Apparently these "bills of mortality" were published regularly in newspapers nationwide. They began as a way to keep track of plague deaths, and then continued in this form in subsequent years. They focused solely on Church of England burials in London, so they're not a comprehensive snapshot of the country as a whole, but they're still interesting. Look at all those bizarre maladies!
Here is a fascinating blog post from the University of Nottingham that explains some of the terminology. I doubt dying from "Rising of the Lights" was as nice as it sounds.