must dash

wooden library shelving cart with a stenciled 18 and a taped-on printout of the alphabet in capital letters

I concluded that the alphabet is laminated and staff mark it up… but for awhile I pictured people shelving until all the letters looked weird and they forgot the alphabet and needed a cheat sheet.

—————————————————————-

Happy Labor Day! Being a little bit active in the AAUP is one of the few things I’ve done that’s felt usefully political in the Trump years—when elected representatives seem unlikely to keep or change their positions in response to my phone calls, and donations seem like a miniscule drop in the political-money ocean. Last week I sat in as an observer during bargaining; the union believes things go better when as many of the people actually affected as possible are in the room, even silently. (Even reading a book or typing away on a laptop. Donuts were also involved.)

We do interest based bargaining, so for the entire hour I was there, they were at step one of seven, framing the problem to be talked about. It’s easy to see why bargaining starts in the summer even though the contract’s not up til the end of November.

Not all chapters of AAUP are negotiating collective bargaining agreements; I enjoyed this account of guerrilla organizing by adjuncts in my hometown.

————————————————————-

Unusual that two pieces in one week would make me think anew about dashes—

em dash compared to a semicolon in this one, as in

I thought hanging out would be great—a chance to finally see the city, just like Aunt Lillian wanted.

I thought hanging out would be great; it would be a chance to finally see the city, just like Aunt Lillian wanted.

And here, an en dash for a relation that isn’t numbers or dates or place names, like author–editor relationship or either–or, and how it differs from a hyphenated adjectival construction:

Amir was an Asian–British scholar and something of a polyglot.

Amir was an Asian-British scholar and something of a polyglot.

In the first example, with an EN DASH, Amir’s Asianness and Britishness have equal weighting. In the second, with the HYPHEN, ‘Asian’ is modifying ‘British’ and carries less weight.

Things to keep an eye out for in the wild, anyway.

 

2 Comments

  1. Reply
    Pamela Rentz September 3, 2019

    When I was in college, I worked in the library and we had a giant banner with the alphabet on the wall across from the sorting table. I thought it was funny when I first started working there, but ended up being useful.

    • Reply
      Holly September 7, 2019

      I think my college library job is my favorite of all jobs I’ve had. I liked date-stamping everything and taping the current newspapers to those big sticks for people to read. But I guess there wasn’t that much alphabetizing in Periodicals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *