"Checking Out the Library"
Jacqueline Tremblay waddled into the lobby
of the Toronto Public Library. She was
pregnant enough for her bulging belly to make
walking awkward and regular clothes impossible.
Her husband Atka accompanied her,
his hand warm and strong in hers,
their steps perfectly in synch. "I'm
with you all the way," he assured her.
Jacqueline went to the circulation desk
and said, "We'd like to volunteer for
your Human Book program," she said.
"I can't do my regular job while pregnant,
and I am dying of boredom already."
"I can get you some applications,"
the librarian said with a smile.
"No advertising, strictly soup of the day,"
Jacqueline murmured. She let a trademark
feather of frost embellish the silver bell
that sat on the dark wooden desk.
"My nemesis may have withdrawn from
conflict until after I give birth, but nutjobs
might not mind their manners. Safer if
we just drop in here when we can."
"Yes, of course," the librarian said.
"Just tell me your topics for the index,
along with whatever name you'd like to use.
I'm Evie Auginash, and I'll be happy
to help if you need anything."
"My name is Jacqueline. I'm a figure skater
and a superhera with Ice Powers. I can cover
soup pregnancies now, wow am I learning a lot
about that topic. I also know women's studies
and French-Canadian culture," she said.
"I'm a superhero with Fire Powers and Phasing,
a wilderness guide, and a counselor," said Atka.
"Plus I know Inuit and Anishinaabeg culture."
"Okay then," Evie said. "I'll get you listed.
Meanwhile you can 'shelve' yourselves with
the other Human Books." She led them to
a cozy little nook full of waiting volunteers, which
overlooked a cluster of comfortable green chairs
and narrow brown tables flanked by a bank
of tall glass windows at the corner.
Currently the nook held a mountie,
a model, a former sex worker who now
hosted a Quinn's House for vulnerable youth,
and a Tibetan Buddhist monk in his golden robes.
"Do you really think this will help me feel useful
while I can't do my regular work?" Jacqueline
asked her husband as they sat down.
"Only one way to find out," said Atka.
"If this works, we'll come back. If not,
we'll find something else instead."
Then he struck up a conversation
with the mountie about forest work.
Less than ten minutes later, Evie came over
with an excited blonde in tow. "Noémie here
would like to check you out for women's studies,"
the librarian explained, waving them toward
the cluster of interview tables and chairs.
"So I'm doing this paper on how gender
affects different professions, and I'd love
to hear what it's like for you as a superhera
and as a figure skater," Noémie said as they
took their seats. "Is one harder than the other,
or more sexist? What might have made
your jobs easier when you started?"
It was that last question that really caught
Jacqueline's attention. "Funny thing is, I wish
that I'd known how serious a nemesis relationship
can be," she said. "In a weird way, it's almost like
couples ice skating. You can lift each other up,
tear each other down, circle around, or even
cut someone wide open without meaning to. I got
lucky with Contretemps, but not everyone does ..."
As Jacqueline spelled out her thoughts on
the nature of super rivalries, she finally
stopped worrying about how to keep busy.
* * *
Evie Auginash -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and short curly brown hair. Her heritage includes English, Ojibway, Mississauga, and Irish. She works at the Toronto Public Library, among other things helping to manage the Human Book program where people can 'check out' someone to chat with for up to an hour.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Smart, Good (+2) Helpful, Good (+2) Librarian, Good (+2) Vision
Poor (-2) Coping with Loud Noises
Noémie Hase -- She has pale skin, blue eyes, and long wavy blonde hair. Her heritage includes Dutch, German, and Scottish. Noémie is a college student in Toronto. She hopes that studying gender dynamics will reveal ways to help women build successful careers without sacrificing home life or personal happiness.
Qualities: Good (+2) Asking the Right Questions, Good (+2) Bubbly Personality, Good (+2) Making Friends, Good (+2) Snow Sports, Good (+2) Women's Studies Student
Poor (-2) Staying Quiet
* * *
Most jobs are safe to continue while pregnant, especially with reasonable accommodations. However, some jobs are too dangerous, including cape work of most kinds.
Many women get bored with pregnancy by the third trimester. While common, this is not something to ignore, as it can erode mental health -- especially for very active women who feel frustrated by the restrictions of pregnancy. There are tips for mothers and other people to avoid boredom.
A human library is where you can check out people like books. Here is a glimpse of one from the Toronto Public Library.
A nemesis can be an arch-enemy or friendly enemy or any number of other things, but in Terramagne it does tend to be a meaningful relationship in one's life. Relationships come in many types, and they require skills to maintain. One of the interesting things about Terramagne cape culture is simply their tendency to acknowledge these as relationships and deal with them accordingly.