Yesterday, families and communities across North America came together to hold hands and stare at the sun. Normally, this would be a dangerous activity, but yesterday was the first solar eclipse in 38 years.
I had been anticipating my library’s solar eclipse party since May, but nothing could have prepared me for the characters I encountered yesterday. The following list includes people that, had you attended a public event to view the solar eclipse, you may have come into contact with, as well. These people live among us.
The Solar Eclipse Fanboy. This library regular is way too old to be THIS obsessed with the path the moon takes. He thinks he’s being nonchalant about how fast he is walking up those stairs to get in line for the solar eclipse glasses, but little does he know: I’ve studied his gait. I’ve become familiar with the speed at which he normally walks. His strides, usually short and relaxed, are now long and a little too quick. He wants eclipse glasses, and he doesn’t care how many kids he has to mow down to get them. He’s also found a website that shows the path of the moon with the time. He wants everyone to know. He wants me to tell everyone. He also wants to watch the live stream of the eclipse in peace, but cannot fathom why the TV is next to the children’s books. He gazes longingly at the TV, wishing he could hear about his current reason for existing over the shrieks of excited, rascally youngsters. But what else can he do? Yell at someone else’s children? No way. Their mothers could snap his scrawny self in half.
The Tourist. Enthusiastic. Excited. Bright-eyed. Everything I’m not. Uses hand gestures. Waited 38 years for this. Dressed like she is ready for a safari. Camera around the neck, floppy circle-brimmed hat, the North American equivalent of a tropical shirt. This woman wanted to be at our party. Who cares if it was meant for children? She could bring her grandson as a cover. She NEEDED this.
Mrs. I-Was-Here-First. She showed up with her granddaughter 45 minutes before the party even started. She wanted to ensure her admittance into the party along with her attainment of solar eclipse glasses. So where were they? When the library’s director was passing out the coveted eye wear, why did she not first seek out Mrs. I-Was-Here-First? She WAS here first, after all. Why did our director not ask her permission to pass out the glasses? Nothing was adding up. The fabric of reality was tearing apart. She MUST take this issue up with the girl at the front desk. SURELY, this delightful young lady would offer her sympathy, along with a pair of glasses. Little did she know, the girl at the desk was me. Once she approached me with her “I was first in line” speech, I had nothing to offer but a heartless “Apparently, you weren’t.”
The Millionth Phone Call. “Hi! I know the solar eclipse is ongoing, and I’m a colossal tool, but do you have any solar eclipse glasses that I could swing by and grab? Yes, I think I’m the most important person on the planet and I never take anyone but myself into consideration, why do you ask? So, that’s a firm no on the glasses then? Hello? Are you still there?” –To other colossal tool in room- “I think she hung up on me!”
The Babysitter. Pardon me and my six kids all under the age of 5. We know that the 2 minutes and 40 seconds of semi-totality that we will be able to see from here is happening in less than 15 minutes, but could you spare seven pairs of glasses for us?
The Punks. These are all the kids I have to yell at on a weekly basis. Whether they park their bikes right outside my door, take an obnoxious ride on our elevator, or try to put one of their friends in our dumpster, I always have to stifle my laughter long enough to make them understand that, though barely older than them, I AM AN ADULT and I am in charge. Today’s fun: throwing cherry tomatoes at each other in my parking lot. Fortunately for them, they were spared my silent wrath because I was far too busy being bothered by everyone in the county to tell them to stop being themselves.
The Ordinary Library Patron. Just here to return a book. Then check another one out. They will ask no favors of anyone. They don’t care about the phenomenon in the sky. The total amount of time they were in the library equates approximately 5 minutes. YOU are my people, dear library patron. Thank you.