My thoughts and reflections on my Catholic Faith, Fulton Sheen, the problem of suffering, and books

Saturday, May 26, 2012

First Ever Interview, and a Day Solo in DC

Friday was an adventure.  My first-ever interview, and then a day on my own in DC.

The adventure started leaving Front Royal at 6:30 a.m.  Traffic was remarkably light, and we got to DC around 8.  Evidently if you have an interview at 9 a.m., you can't enter the Library of Congress (hereafter LOC) until 8:30, so I took care of my caffeine addiction at Starbuck's.  Then, despite my non-existent sense of direction, I made it back to LOC.

The room in which the interview was was filled with carts and carts of books, and reminded me of Christendom's cataloging office.  Someone showed me around the room, pointed out the carts, told me the process the books go through.  Then I sat down for the interview proper in an alcove lined with...this was weird...outdated volumes of the Antarctic Bibliography, including more than one copy of the same volume.  The interviewer asked some general questions, about my work experience.  She also told me specifically the responsibilities of the job.

Then there was a "test" for accuracy in data entry...a sheet of paper numbered 1 to 100, each number had two sets of numbers/letter/symbols, and I had to mark each one as "like" or "not like," basically to see if I could distinguish between "a!2rt;g" and "al2rt;g" or similar things.  It was interesting.

I had a couple of minutes just waiting for the interviewer to come back, so I looked at some book carts.  I had to remind myself that there was probably a very good reason why H41 was after H62 on a particular cart, and that there must be an even better reason why the paper attached to that cart said the call number range for that cart was H33.

Then one of the library technicians (the job for which I interviewed) showed me her job.  Another interviewer asked me one of those lovely open-ended questions: "Tell me about yourself."  I asked her what she meant: she wanted to know about my work experience, and then about some school experience.  So I told her my Thesis was probably the thing of which I was most proud in college, even though I didn't get the best grade on it.  I mentioned that Fulton Sheen was kind of a "hot topic" in the Church today since his Cause for Canonization is open...then she asked me if he were "on the same level as Pope John Paul II."  I thought at first that she meant hierarchical level, but then realized she meant level on the process toward canonization.  That was a lot easier to explain than having to explain the hierarchy.  ;-)

After the interview, I wandered down Independence Avenue.  (Policemen are very helpful when you think you're on Independence Avenue but you're not sure because there are no visible street signs!!)  I spent about 10 minutes in the National Museum of the American Indian (which was boring), and 45 or so in the Air and Space Museum.  I remembered why I hate museums so much...too many crowds, plus they're not really fun unless you have someone with you.  On my way back towards the LOC, I wandered into the Botanical Gardens.  After lunch, I thought I would go poke my head into the Catholic Church we had passed earlier that morning.  (Again, policemen are very helpful when you want to find the Catholic Church that you passed that morning!)  If I had been thinking about the fact that "maybe there's noon Mass at this church smack in the middle of a big city," I wouldn't have eaten lunch, but I didn't think of that until after the fact...but I got to Mass, and that was absolutely wonderful.

I'm appreciating the universal nature of the Church more.  Not so much the Universal feel that people say they got when they could go to Mass in Japan and they knew what was happening and knew the responses because the Mass was in Latin not in the vernacular...but...  I was feeling a little lost and out-of-place and generally out of my comfort zone when I was wandering DC, and then I walked inside St. Peter's, and...I was on familiar ground, terra firma and all that.  I felt "at home," just like I do at Christendom.

Although the church had been renovated (not "wreck-ovated") in the 80's (thanks to a handy brochure for this piece of information), the Tabernacle was in the center of the church and the statues were *beautiful.*

Father's sermon made me think.  The Gospel was where Our Lord tells Peter "Feed My sheep" (Sheen has some beautiful words on this, just throwing that out there), and Father said something along the lines of "After the sufferings we endured in Lent, and the joys of the Easter Season, Our Lord is asking us 'Do you love Me?' not 'do you love Me' just by your lips, but by your deeds."  He also emphasized charity to neighbor.

It made me think, because...I don't have very many opportunities to be charitable to my neighbor, stuck out here in the middle of nowhere, only rarely seeing other people.  And yet, I guess, I have to be charitable in my Facebook messages and emails, and this Theology Major should remember that prayer is the best gift that I can give to those I love.

It was a beautiful church; I took some pictures of it after Mass, which made me feel like a tourist rather than a grateful Catholic.

After hanging out with a friend at Union Station, the next step in the adventure was: get back to LOC from Union Station.  Some random guy on the street noticed me wrestling with the very large map I had picked up at Union Station, and helped point me in the general direction of LOC.  As I said above, I have no sense of direction, and I'm terrible at reading a map, so I walked, and walked.  I knew what intersection I was at, thanks to street signs, but, even looking at the map, I had no clue how to get back to LOC.  Policeman to the rescue!  A policeman was walking down the street, talking to another policeman in the car.  So, feeling very pathetic and 5-year-old-ish, I blurted out, "Officer!  I'm lost!" and the good man told me how to get back to LOC.

Then I sat outside the Library of Congress and read C.S. Lewis' book Weight of Glory, having been unable to resist the Barnes & Noble in Union Station.

It was an interesting day.  I survived my first-ever interview.  I wandered the streets of DC by myself for a good 5 hours without getting lost or killed.  I've discovered that policemen are very good at giving directions, that one of the beautiful things about being Catholic is that I feel "at home" in a Catholic Church even when I'm in a big otherwise-scary and nerve-wracking city, and that if you look moderately occupied in waiting for someone, no one will yell at you for loitering outside the LOC for an hour here, or an hour there.

O, and, I don't understand how women can walk all day in high heels.  My feet were (and still are!) killing me.

Yours in all things library-ish and Fulton Sheen-ish,


  1. Great post, Em!

  2. I really hope the interview went well! That would be an amazing place to work. And congrats on surviving DC! It's not easy.

  3. Emily!
    What a great post! I loved reading about your experiences, and might I add, I am VERY proud of you for doing so much new (and slightly scary) things all in one day. You are an amazing person! It sounds like a very fun adventure.
    And don't worry -- I'll take you to get some comfy heels. ;-) And we'll also go to museums TOGETHER and have fun! :-)
    Have I mentioned before what a FANTASTIC writer you are?? Love reading your thoughts!


    1. Thanks! Comfy heels? Such a thing exists?? ;-)

  4. My husband and I were married in St. Peter's, and it is just next door to the Library of Congress. It's a beautiful church and I'm glad you discovered it. Best of luck with your job search and I hope it is successful. I never explored this as a career, but now that I'm older I think I would love to be a librarian. We now live in Sheen's home diocese, so small world. :-) BTW, I discovered you through the Catholic Bloggers Network on FB. Thanks for posting there.

    1. Thanks, Mrs. Piccione! God Bless!

    2. Now I am feeling like the proverbial librarian since you are calling me "Mrs."! LOL. You can just call me Nancy :-)

  5. Em, you were wearing heels? As to Clare's mention of comfy heels, some heels are made to be comfortable. Also, I find that heels can be more comfortable than flats sometimes because flats give you no sole support, while heels do. (At least that's the way most shoes are.) Another factor is that of getting used to them. I've been wearing heeled dress shoes every week for the past... Ten years. When I was eleven, the heels were much smaller than the ones I have on some shoes now, but that's to be expected. It's just like glasses, jewelry, braces, or anything else-- you need to wear them more in order to get used to them.