August 8, 2008 § Leave a comment

i joined a library yesterday.

the librarian, like all librarians, had on large round glasses with translucent brown frames and red socks with her adidas.  i could see the red socks because her tapered jeans were just a tad too short.

i perused the dvds (which included an amazing assortment of political documentaries and almost nothing made since 1995) and heard what i thought was a cell phone going off behind me…jazzy, somewhat annoying music.  but it kept going off.  and kept going off.

so i looked behind me.  there was a woman sitting in relaxed posture at a computer, watching a YouTube video at top volume.  the Asian woman across the computer station from her was glaring, and raised one eyebrow at me as if to ask, “are you going to do anything about this?”

i thought it was hilarious, and tried to enjoy the music, bobbing a little to it as i moved from the section on Nixon to the section on Reagan.  

there was a little, three-sided box on the floor made of yellow tape and a sign said, “Wait in the yellow box for the next available librarian.”  i watched as a mom, probably in her thirties, walked over to the box and stood obediently there, holding a baby on her hip.  she had short brown hair and khaki, high-waisted shorts.  she called over one little six year old boy to stand in the box with her, and another one, probably three, followed reluctantly in his Superman cape.

they waited.

and waited.

two librarians sat at the desk, one intent on her computer screen, and the other gesturing as she talked to someone on the phone about a book.

finally, a smiling, dark-skinned man looked out into the library from a side desk and called, “Who’s next?”  

since the mom and three kids were the only ones near the desk, i wondered why he didn’t just say, “i can help you now,” or something.  

i finally chose a cookbook and a book on the new cottage home and took my place in the yellow box.  the same man looked blankly into the library with a forced smile and said, “Who’s next?”  

“uh, i am,” i said, feeling like a child again.  

libraries have that affect on me.  i return to the days when we’d gather around and listen to story time behind the fabric accordion door, or check out Calamity Jane on VHS for the thousandth time, or go back to the section on horses again, hoping they’d have ordered a new book.

they’re like a time capsule. i can come from a management meeting or a phone conference or a long afternoon of researching some new project…feeling so grown up in my slacks and heels…

and then all of a sudden, there i am in the yellow box, cradling my books, waiting for someone to notice and call, “Who’s next?”


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