Disparity

There are times when I closely resemble Marvin the Paranoid Android, and this is one of them.

I am *so* depressed.

I have quite simply avoided reality for the last 4 years or so. I work in Western Massachusetts, where the grass really is greener than New York. I pick up in the morning, say nice things to the absolute lunatic living across the street so that when he finally snaps, I'm safe, and drive to my Library. This is a magical process. I leave behind the brownfields of Library Science for greener pasture. (I can only liken the effect to a nuclear fallout. One can escape the fallout of vapid ideas if only one is willing to drive away from the hotspot of banality. For example, Albany Public is a depressing place to go to for deep conversation. However, if you visit Bethlehem, Guilderland or Colonie or even dig up the courage to venture across the river to East Greenbush, you're grand.)

It's not everyone and everything in New York, mind you. There are great people here, like the Librarian that lives up the block. Alright, that's cheating since she came from Massachusetts. But for whatever reason, the relationship of folks I can have an intelligent field conversation with here is inverse to the favourable number that I can have in Massachusetts.

The conversation in Massachusetts is so much more alive and relevant. I get to use big Library words and concepts there, and a lot of folks know what I mean. At very least, if someone has no idea about the concept I refer to, they (and I'm totally not joking here) actually look it up. The very next time I see them, they question me about it. Lively discussion ensues, and yea, it is good. This is precisely the way things are meant to work in the field. If we don't know something, that's cool. We learn, we come back to it, we move on. That's mostly busted in New York. But why?

I note this same disparity in relationship to *cough* officially sanctioned professional activities. If I shell out (or more likely gatecrash or have me ticket paid by a grant) for a conference, the _smaller_ that conference is, the more likely I am to find good professional conversation. This makes me shell out for Hudson Mohawk Library Association dinners and the like all the bloddy time, yet hesitate on whipping out the money for a national jobby. In the words of Don Covay and Steve Cropper "That ain't right!" The more folks you have someplace, the easier it ought to be for a chance encounter to produce what you want it to. This is the More is Different of Johnson's principles of Emergent systems. How does this happen?

No matter where I roam, I'm getting to the end of the road. When you do things like mash Ranganathan's Laws with Johnson's Principles of Emergence together in yer brain and want to talk about the effects, I realise this is a lot to ask.

And so here I am. The hell with disparity and mediocrity. I've had all I can stands of it, and I can't stands no more. Rescue me, gentle reader. Engage with us all in conversation. Let your inner dork mingle. Feel free to let your geek out to play without the constraints of citing large tracts of field literature (though that of course would be both welcome and cool.)