Meet the Staff — Anne Hays

| December 21, 2011

Hello!  I am new to the library services desk this past fall. I’d write more here, but there’s no reason; the below penetrating questions say it all.

Are you a Teachers College student, and, if so, what are you studying?
No, actually.  I am studying Library Science over at Queens College, CUNY. If you find it difficult to find what you’re looking for in the catalog or databases, don’t worry, there’s a Science to it.  Just ask for help!

Where’s your hometown?

We moved a lot when I was a kid.  What do I mean by a lot?  Well, I was born in Florida, then we moved to Connecticut, then back to Florida, then to Wisconsin, then to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, then to a small town outside Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. After this, I moved to Northampton MA to go to college, and then after graduating, I moved to Seattle.  While I was there, my parents moved twice.  People always ask me, “Is your dad in the army?” and, “Are you in the Federal Witness Protection Program?”  But no, the real and somewhat insane reason we moved so often is: my parents enjoy moving!

Your favorite meal?
This is an impossible question. I love every meal.

Song you love no matter how many times you hear it:
You might laugh, but I like “Stay” by Lisa Loeb exactly the same amount every time I hear it. It’s a perfect song; it’s quiet and loud, it’s sentimental and practical, it has love and heartbreak, it’s insanely cheesy. It has it all.  When I was in college I worked as a radio DJ at the college station, and one shift I told my listeners I would play “Stay” over and over again until a listener called me (an act of desperation!) Five seconds after my announcement, a listener called in. Apparently I am the only one who feels this way about “Stay.”

A country you’d like to visit?
I desperately want to visit Australia, because of Gay Mardi Gras.  Sounds like paradise.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
So many things! When I was really little I created an imaginary store called Bean Bins.  It was an all purpose store, for which I created an elaborate catalog, and I would try to “sell” the items to my parents. In elementary school I decided I wanted to be a magazine editor, and so I made my own fake publication, complete with ads and letters to the editor, which I gave out to my friends (I still do this, actually, but now I call it a zine).  When I was in middle school I came up with this fabulous future plan, which involved running a cafe with a magazine production center down below the cafe, and offices up above.  I drafted a blue-print of the imagined space on my dad’s architecture paper, and showed it to him. He said, “You’re going to have to sell a lot of coffee.”

What was your first job?
McDonalds, when I was 16.  I learned ALL about the value of the dollar at that job.

What has been your worst job?
Read the question above.

What has been your best job?
Oh, I’ve liked all of them, for different reasons.

What do you remember about your first day of school?
I don’t know that this was my first day ever, but my earliest memory of preschool is when my teacher asked us to skip in a circle and I couldn’t properly execute the skip. How does one move the legs to make the skip happen? I started crying and we had some kind of group hug and I got over it. That’s my first school memory.

A book you strongly recommend?

It’s not possible to choose just one, but I’m always jealous when a friend says they haven’t read Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Also, Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays (and Didion’s The White Album–fabulous!)

A sport you enjoy playing (or watching)?
I used to play lots of sports but now I just love running.

TOP THREE….
…Best places to read?
In the shower.  While skydiving. While standing on my head.

Complete the sentence:
The strangest thing that has ever happened to me was…

Off the top of my head, here’s a strange story:  you know how when you get on a crowded subway the first thing you do is look for your favorite spot?  Some like the chair by the door, some like the chair by the pole, etc. I like to stand dead center in the car so no one can accuse me of not “moving in.” Anyway, one time I got on a car and moved in to my favorite “center of the car” spot, but when I grabbed the pole to hold on, the pole moved.  Whoa.  Then I noticed that I was actually holding a pole a woman brought herself.  I guess she got the pole at Lowe’s and was going to install it somewhere in her home.  The pole looked exactly like the real subway pole.  So when I grabbed onto the woman’s personal pole she started laughing, and then I started laughing, and then most of the folks around us started laughing too.  I’m used to people pointedly ignoring each other on the subway, so the whole car laughing was pretty strange.

Most fascinating person I’ve ever met was…
There are so many characters in my neighborhood.  One of my neighbors is an elderly man missing most of his teeth who barks at my dog every time we pass.  Another neighbor likes to play classic rock out his window and sets up his bongo drums on his front stoop so he can play along.  Then there’s a group of guys who hang out by the corner store on lawn chairs telling stories all day. That’s what I love about living here: we’re all a bunch of weirdos.

The weirdest thing I’ve ever done for money was…
When I was 19 I was in a psychology experiment with the Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston (another place I lived, I forgot to mention) for a sleep study.  They were studying whether you could change your circadian rhythm by changing the light conditions both in your home and at work to trick the body into thinking day was night, night was day–the study was designed to help  folks who work night shifts.  Anyway, I was in the control group, and so I had to stay awake for 36 hours straight in low lighting conditions without getting up or really moving at all, while performing a battery of “intelligence” tests over and over again on a computer. Every half hour I ate a tiny turkey sandwich and a tiny cup of water, so I was exactly the same amount of hungry/full throughout the 36 hours.  I hope my small contribution helped science, but I have no desire to do anything like it again.