10 May 2006

Adventure at the Library

My boss asked me late yesterday afternoon to track down an article published in the May issue of Chain Store Digest. My plan was to find it at the Public Library and make a copy. I called. They had it. I went.

We have a pretty new library downtown and I always forget how beautiful it is. I feel good in the library, even though I still owe them $40 for a book on quitting smoking that was eaten by a puppy years ago. I forget it’s there, since I’m a habitual Amazon-search-from-my-desk girl, but there’s something so satisfying about making the trip, finding the book exactly where they said it would be, and taking it home. What trust! What completely undeserved trust.

I decided, since I was feeling such a sense of purpose, to take the stairs up to the third floor, because the staircase really is beautiful. At the landing of the second floor, I looked out the low window overlooking the courtyard and thought, “Someday, when I don’t have this 40-hour a week job, Birdy and I can come here for story time and I will take her picture in this beautiful spot where you can see the Japanese Maples.” I was dream-weavin’ and daydreamin’ around every marble step. “My life will be so ideal! I am in love with this library!”

I was a little winded at the top, but I felt good. I marched right up to the periodicals guy and got my magazine. And realized the copiers do not take debit cards. I asked the guy to hold the magazine for me and headed down the stairs. Where is the closest ATM? About 4 blocks, which I didn’t mind, because I was on a field trip, and I wanted to walk around downtown.

It was a nice walk. I like the city the energy of downtown, and more importantly, like the energy it gives me. I like walking places. I like feeling like I know where I’m going, on a mission (to the ATM), like I’ve got it under control in the big city.

I got my money. I headed back to the library and passed a cute little well-manicured park on my way back. Perfect for a little outdoor lunch, I thought, except for all those homeless people. Did I just say that? Me? The one who worked in Psychosocial Rehab for all those years? It really was such a nice park. Why didn’t I wish there were more resources for all of those homeless people taking up all of the benches? More on this another day.

It’s not hot today, maybe 65 degrees, but by the time I got back to the library, I was sweating. I think I underwent a dramatic hormonal change with pregnancy—I used to be so cold all the time, but post-Birdy, the mere suggestion of physical activity makes it hard to keep all of my clothes on in public. And taking the stairs a second time didn’t help, either. I arrived again on the third floor, out of breath and sweaty, grabbed my mag without greeting the librarian even a little, and set out to copy an article.

The bill changer doesn’t take twenties. Back down to the Circulation desk for change, back up to the third floor. SWEAT-ING. Copies made. Done. Back downstairs. He had better read that article one hundred times.

I made every effort I could to pay off my fines and get right with the Library on my way out, but I was out of checks, and again, no debit cards. I guess I will NOT be checking out a copy of Earl Mindell’s Unsafe at Any Meal, which is probably the Universe’s way of telling me I should not read that book because I will not change my habits, just feel gross about eating everything. It probably says something bad about Cracker Cuts, and if that is the case, I don’t want to know it.

I stood next to the Beast-Car in the parking garage, fishing for my keys, and all of a sudden paper and other crap was flying around everywhere, spilling out of my bag which is full of who-knows-what (but if you need Sudafed Severe Cold, I have a whole box right here). I’m not saying a few pieces of paper fell out of my bag. I’m saying Paper! And other crap! Was flying! Everywhere! Somehow in the chaos and attempted rescue of a hundred bits of paper that may or may not have been important, I managed to lose my sunglasses and a very good pen. But I dove under the car to save a crumpled-up napkin. Go figure.

I also got mildly lost downtown—not LOST-lost, but drove around trying to grasp which direction I was headed for awhile, looking at vaguely familiar buildings but failing to grasp the relationship of one to another. It was like watching a documentary on PBS about downtown and going “oh, hey, that looks like Sam’s Sushi! And the Ryman… I think I’ve been there. Honey, have we ever been there?” and then drifting back into your Sunday half-sleep on the couch.

I’ve also noticed, since Birdy, that I say things under my breath and to no one in particular without fully realizing I’m saying anything until it’s out there. If you followed this blog in its MySpace days, you’ll recall an incident with Canadians in Office Depot that illustrates this problem.

Driving back to the office with one hand still stuffed in the bag, groping around for sunglasses I’m sure are lost, an older but very shiny red Beamer convertible (top down) pulls up next to the Beast. There is a thirtysomething very skinny white guy at the wheel, blaring some kind of “cool jazz- R&B” noise, and I was hungry and pissed and out a pair of sunglasses. I looked through my open window and before I could think about it I said “Heh. Whatever, dude.”

“Heh, Whatever, Dude?” Again, ME? The person who is certain we are all going to get our asses kicked if we look at another driver crosseyed? Did I just look that guy in the face, at a red light, and say, “Heh, Whatever, Dude?”

Apparently, I did.

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