One of my holiday splurges was picking up a few New York Review Classics Books. I just finished The Dud Avocado and was amused by a few passages where Sally Jay demonstrates a pathological fear of becoming a spinster librarian. She has a recurring nightmare called the Dreaded Librarian Dream:
It’s all very vague. It takes place in a sort of vast hall, in the center of which sits a girl behind a desk, or rather a circular counter, which completely surrounds her. It’s funny about that desk; I’ve seen it somewhere before, I know I have, although it’s quite unlike any desk I’ve ever seen in a library. Anyway, the closer I get to this girl, the older she becomes, until she turns into a middle-aged spinster librarian. Then I see that it’s me. People keep coming up to her from every direction asking her for books. They are all going somewhere. In fact it isn’t a library at all, it’s more like a station. Everyone is in a hurry. They are all going somewhere except me. I’m trapped. One of the worst aspects of this dream is that from the very first time I dreamed it I’ve known, within the nightmare, so to speak, that it was one I’ve had before- an old, old nightmare of long ago. That gives it its special, ageless, hopeless quality.