Old year

She had a new year’s tradition. It was nothing fancy or showy, but it was important nevertheless.

What she did was, she sat down and thought about all the things that happened over the last year. In particular, those things that only ever happened because of some highly improbable set of circumstances, which nevertheless came into being. The last-minute changes of plans, the unexpected bumps-into, the serendipitous finds five seconds after having given up hope. The overheard pieces of conversation which turned out to be important. The books picked at random which now lived in her heart.

The year had not turned out as planned. And that was alright.

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Shelf spacing

Every place has an intangible, invisible sense of place. A non-trivial aspect of this sense is the ambient white noise permeating the place in question: all the audible and barely audible noises which at all times resound throughout. Take away these background sensations, and the place becomes very different indeed. Libraries do urge its patrons to keep quiet, but they would become eerie places were everyone to actually become totally silent. The miscellaneous scuffling of backpacks, turning of pages, careless footfalls, and not-so-subtle subtle whisperings serve to define where you are. Without these ever-present reminders, it would just be a place where books come to rest, a catacomb of the written word, rather than a gathering spot for the living.

Problem-oriented

She was not someone who liked it when things went as planned. In fact, it bored her. The fun stuff was all in the planning, not in the realization. Taking a piece of future and reducing all of its complexities to one, single course of action that would approximate the ideal of what was possible – that was the joy. The implementation and execution was just a formality that had to be endured.

Thus, it always came as a joyful surprise when something went wrong. That meant there was something more to do. The less intuitive the problem was, the better. Especially if it meant she got to explore the hidden systems and subsystems that lie underneath the visible surfaces of things. Something going wrong was not a problem to be solved – it was a mystery to unravel. The deeper the rabbit hole went, the better.

Needless to say, she liked cats.