The Tales of Rubberlina™: Episode #2 – Où est la bibliothèque?

Don’t you hate it when you wake up and there’s a song or phrase running willy-nilly amuck through your head and you can’t get it to stop it no matter how many times you bang your head against the wall. (Warning: Don’t try this at home. My head is rubber. Yours likely is not.) Today the phrase was a question: “Où est la bibliothèque?” Since my French is limited—actually I didn’t even know it was French—RatBlurt™ was kind enough to translate it. Well, what choice did he have given the waking up with me staring at him every morning threat hanging over his verminous noggin.

Where is the library? WTF, if you’ll pardon my…French. Where is the library? Who cares? That was my first reaction anyway, but then I took a minute to think about it. Library. Books. Nonfiction books. Nonfiction reference books. Friendly, helpful librarians. The ether was trying to tell me something here, although I’m not sure why it didn’t just say “Go to the fricking library, you twit.” It struck me then that maybe the question wasn’t meant to be instructional; maybe it was some existential-la-te-da search for meaning. But I don’t do existential because I have this permanent grin on my face and it and existential just don’t get along. Trying to force them together would be like dropping me into a vat of HCL. It would be like, you know, hasta la vista, baby, for me.

No, I’ll just stay literal here. If the universe is asking me where the library is, I must find it. How to convey that information back to the great beyond once I have it is another matter. I’ll just kick that can down the road for now.

So, the library. I must go questing for the library. As it turns out, Lyft is very handy for this. The drivers have this thing called GPS. Took about two seconds to locate it. You would think the universe would know such things. Anyway, on the way there, I formulated some PQR (parent-quest-related) questions I might ask the staff upon my arrival. My first thought was “where’s our da?” A simple enough query even if they didn’t get the obscure reference to The Singing Detective and the fact that my mechanical parents are gender-obscure. Sure. I’ll go with that.

As it turns out, librarians, unlike RB (not a compliment—I know you’re listening in, rodent-breath—don’t get a big head from this, right?), are not receptive to ESP messages. They just stare at me agog and say things like “what is that, where the hell did it come from, and why do those fricking kids always leave their playthings lying around for us to clean up?” Well, they didn’t really say “fricking” or any verbal equivalent of it. I put that in because I could see they were thinking it…okay, full confession here. I have no idea what they said because I have no ears. As always with humans, I put words in their mouths when I see their lips move. As you might guess, they rarely come off well in this respect.

Sorry. I’m blithering. So, the PQR part of my library visit was a lost cause. I did arrive, though, while some sort of gathering was going on. There were those things you see hanging on the wall behind me and humans sitting around on chairs. One by one they would get up, point to one of the things on the wall and then talk. It all looked very solemn and important. Hey, I thought. These people seem intelligent, wise, and caring. Maybe they would know. “Where’s our da?” I said. No response. Right. Maybe I’m asking the wrong thing. “Où est la bibliothèque?” I think they heard that one. They all looked perplexed and interested at the same time and then a curious thing happened. They all sat down, took out notebooks and pens or phones/tablets and styluses, and began writing furiously. Since I obviously couldn’t look over their shoulders to see what they were scribbling, I’m still in the fricking dark as to “Où est la bibliothèque?” If any of you PWWSTILs* happen to see this, please email your answers to I await your missives, not at all humbly, because, being made of inanimate bits of rubber and plastic, what the hell else can I do?

*People Who Write Serious Things in Libraries