Monday, August 01, 2005

Old white ladies considered harmless

The London Evening Standard reports an unfortunate choice of words by British Transport Police Constable Ian Johnston who remarked that his officers would not "waste time searching old white ladies". Hmmm. What about old Chinese ladies, old Siamese ladies or, most dangerous of all, old African American ladies working at the public library when I was in high school? She lurked around assuring that we didn't spend an inordinate amount of time researching 18th century erotica. I learned to read (or look at pictures, as it were) with one eye on the book and one eye scanning for her. Parents loved her, but then parents never did know too much. Truly a frightening and dangerous person. Frightening because it wouldn't do to get tossed out of the library in mid- project when said project was due at 8:00 the next morning. And dangerous because she was known to have demanded a telephone number and called a young scholar's home to complain about the youth's activities in the book stacks. This never happened to me but did befall a couple of young researchers of my acquaintance.


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