Friday, August 12, 2011
--YOU'RE NOT FROM AROUND HERE, ARE YOU?
…I have a new story, "Idaho" up at Right Hand Pointing and here under "Words in Print."
…My internet connection has been weak all day long. I have one red flag, not even a bar, and certainly nothing in the shade of green. I often go to the library in town for this very reason.
The library is a serious place. Everyone whispers there. No one smiles and certainly no one laughs. Everybody concentrates really hard, as if they're constipated or passing kidney stones or experience Braxton Hicks.
At the library, it's as if you're on a different planet or on a Twilight Zone episode with pod people shuffling slowly through aisles, staring at computer screens while wearing ear buds. You could probably shoot off fireworks and no one would notice.
I'm always surprised by how busy the library is. With the advent of Kindle, you'd think libraries would be barren, but it's just the opposite from some reason.
Usually people are lined up, waiting to get in, ten or fifteen minutes before the library opens up. They'll even wait in the rain.
Maybe it's about escaping, finding a quiet sanctuary where one can center their mind.
Or maybe it's about getting something for free. Maybe that's it.
You can rent really old, unpopular movies at the library for no charge.
You can get worn out copies of "Smokey and the Bandit Part 2" and "Part 3" and probably the god-awful "Godfather Part 3."
At my library, they have every copy of The Seattle Times going back to the early 1900's. They have the actual physical newsprint. It seems kind of weird (and altogether too trustworthy) for whomever runs the library to just let any Joe grab an old Seattle Times off the shelf.
There isn't any particular kind of person who visits the library. You get your old folks and youngins. You get the thin and thick, black and white and Hispanic but no Asians because, well, because, sadly, there really aren't any Asians where I live. (Instead, there are lots of rednecks and soccer moms and people who favor tattoo magazines over Vogue or GQ.)
What I don't get about the library is why they wrap books in that pasty plastic. It's like grandparents who drape their sofas or car seats in hard cellophane. I also don't understand why they have six copies of every Alice Hoffman book.
If you haven't been to the library in a while, you should make a trip, drop by. I bet you'll be surprised. You might even come away enlightened.