Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mimes Make Perfect Library Cops

Ain't the internet great? I just saw an article about mimes being used as traffic cops in Caracas, Venezuela which you can read here. The idea is that mimes dressed in bright clown costumes will silently persuade dangerous drivers to slow down by gesturing like, well, like mimes. The Associated Press article tells us:
"About 120 mimes dressed in clown-like outfits and white gloves took to the streets of the Sucre district this past week, wagging their fingers at traffic violators and at pedestrians who streaked across busy avenues rather than waiting at crosswalks."

Now, this strikes me as a truly bizarre approach to law enforcement, but the article goes on to say,

"Mayor Carlos Ocariz of Sucre, in the eastern part of Caracas, turned to the mimes to encourage civility among reckless drivers and careless pedestrians. He is following the example of Antanas Mockus, a former mayor of Bogota, Colombia, who combined mimes and stricter police enforcement in a program that was widely seen as a success."

AP photo of mimes directing traffic
So, who knows, maybe in other cultures, mimes are held in high regard or even feared? I think in New Jersey drivers would be sorely tempted to run over mimes. But this whole mime-as-enforcer made me realize that mimes and libraries are perfect together. People are constantly noting that libraries are not as quiet as they used to be. Those same people usually go on to note that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket and who am I to disagree? Since the lower level of the library, the Children's Room, has been closed for a while due to hurricane damage, the library is filled with middle school students from 3 - 5 pm every day and this is where the mimes come in. We of the librarian persuasion have been unable to persuade the kids that they should be quiet in the library. Do you think a few wandering mimes holding up their hands in the universal gesture for "stop" or covering their ears and cringing as though in pain from the noise, or pretending to climb in an imaginary glass box out of which they cannot get or into which they put a middle schooler, would that work? How about pretending to blow away the kids in a pretend wind storm?
Related books: the library has a couple of books about mimes, but they are packed away until the Children's Room is reopened. If you are desparate to learn how to mime pulling on an imaginary rope or pretending to walk down non-existent stairs, just search YouTube for mime videos and you will be able to amaze and astound your friends and maybe apply for a job in Caracas!


Ellen said...

If I can just find my face paint, at 3 pm I'll be miming a shushing librarian.

Anonymous said...

Quiet is a tricky concept - I just need to be able to hear myself think.