Friday, April 22, 2005

Don't feed the Archivists

stop please! If I can impart any valuable lessons to my dear gentle readers, it will be this: do not go on specially arranged, after-hours tours of archives.

It seems that the well intentioned archivists have jobs that do not require them to communicate often with other beings that utter responsive sounds. The same sort of effect occurs to puppies, who are left home alone all day, and upon the arrival of their masters...express all pent up excitement in the form of constant play.

While the archivists that gave us the tour weren't so excited they wet on the floor, they did go on. You can only talk about how many state, regional, and local legislative records you have for so long before your crowd starts to think of things like "Did I leave the coffee pot on?" "I never noticed that the buttons on my shirt had 4 holes in them" "There are 646 ceiling tiles in this room" "I wonder if you can smoke in here""I want to gouge my eyes out, and then poke my minds eye out". Its awful but its true.

And for G-d's sake, if they ask if you have any questions at the end of their segment, do not say yes. Just smile and nod, the way you do to old ladies in the grocery store when you pass by them. Or the way I do, rather. It was sort of sad and endearing at the same time. I wanted to ask questions, but I didn't want to know more about archival quality boxes, and how many sizes they come in. I figured if I got to curious about something, I could always send off a quick letter on my monogrammed stationery.

Astonishingly, both of the archivists were fabulously dressed, I was particularly taken with the wide leg, cuffed caramel color trousers that the second archivist was wearing. They looked tailored. Impressive. And she charmed us with a warm anecdote about phrenology. Enjoyable.

So there you have it. Approach archivists with extreme caution. They love company, you may never leave.

moral of this blog: Send an archivist a letter. You know they will both appreciate it and take care of it properly.

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