“What’s going on?” I asked the guard with caution, expecting him to tell me to leave the premises (the gate I had entered through was only ajar for the passing of one of the other guards).
“The library workers are on strike for a few days. They’re still in talks, but things should be back to normal on Thursday or Friday”
Just a typical day in my attempt to actually get any work done.
As I walked home, I tried to think of the situation positively. Maybe it could be an opportunity for me to get some “e-research” done. The material on the library’s website has been more useful than anything I have been able to access in person, if at all. When I got home, I plopped on the couch, got out my computer, and went to their website.
The site was down. Sigh.
I had had enough. It was time for my own strike. I had been working really hard for the past few weeks and recently found myself under the weather. It’s possible that the universe was sending me a sign to stop stressing about all the atrapalhaçao and to just relax. Maybe it was time to cuidar de mim mesma! So I spent the rest of the day at home and dedicated my time to a mini-marathon of the Real Housewives of New York, all the while gingerly snacking on the Mexican food I had made entirely from scratch the day before out of desperate cravings for something spicy. And I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty.
As someone conducting archival research, I go through periods in which I feel alienated. I’m in a room, working in silence, for hours at a time, surrounded by other people doing the exact same thing, but with whom I cannot interact. It can be time-consuming, exhausting, and at times incredibly boring. Even writing about the experience can be dull (though I am lucky that these adventures provide a laugh or a sigh here and there). But with the library closed for this short time, I am reminded thoroughly of its significance. The workers had succeeded. With culture on strike, my work was too.
I hope to go back to work tomorrow. The website is functioning now, which I interpret as a positive sign. But in the meantime, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and my registered computer charging. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long day…
Posted by Wendi Muse – MA Candidate at CLACS at NYU