My favorite patron at Small Town Library is Dinner Signup Gentleman. He's a regular who knows most of the staff by name and always greets us and asks how we are doing. Small Town is pretty culturally homogeneous so patrons talk politics and beliefs a little more than other libraries were I've worked--I think because it just doesn't occur to them that you will disagree. I've been afraid that I might find out that DSG is politically or socially nutty in some way, but so far I hadn't gotten any inkling of any potentially controversial opinions. Then this evening we had this conversation:
DSG: Emma, is there such a thing as a book or a category of books about signs? You know, like omens that people see that make them think of good or bad things.
Me: Good question. Let me see...oh, it looks like there are a few. Were you looking more for stories of people experiencing signs, or guides to interpreting signs that you might see?
DSG: Hm. Both....Can you order that one for me, please? I think my wife would like it.
DSG: That sort of thing can really make people happy. Not that I think I really believe in it. But, it seems like it helps people, and I say there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you don't take it really far.
Me: I agree! Who am I to judge if something improves someone else's life?
DSG (lowering his voice): ...sort of like religion.
Fortunately I happen to be a receptive audience for this particular controversial opinion, but I doubt it is the standard in Small Town!