How long has it been since you’ve spent time in a library? Due to technology, my guess is it’s been awhile for a majority of you. Prior to this year my only hours logged in a library were ones I was more or less forced into. Whether it be for AR Reading, misc research projects, quality reading time or computer use, the library was the hot spot. Of course you weren’t allowed to talk, shout, giggle, clap or take part in any other activity that had a volume level greater than one. I don’t know for what reason you would clap in a library, regardless, it wasn’t allowed.
My job requires me to pass several tests before deemed “legal.” This frightens me as my ability to absorb knowledge through reading vs. doing has declined substantially since joining the real world. I’m more of a real world type of person. I’m conscious of what goes on around me, what I’m doing and what results from such things. I find it difficult to lose myself in hundreds of pages of content I’m never going to apply in real life. This is where being “me” is a problem…
I’ve always thought it a curse for being too observant. Don’t get me wrong, my days are never boring! However, I often struggle with letting certain things go. So, how does this apply to a library you might ask?
Well, I decided the local library would be my venue of study. I did my homework before making a decision of where I’d spend all this quality time. I had to check if there was an adequate amount of plugins, cushy seats, (not too cushy so they’d induce coma) how many study rooms were available, friendliness of staff…all the basics to know my 10+ hours a week would be comfortable ones. For extra measure I brought my pin to drop on the tile floor to ensure optimal quietness. I was impressed, it surpassed my expectation.
Apparently my initial visit was at the exact time, on the exact day of prime desolation because almost every visit after has had a volume above 1. They’ve literally cranked it to 10. Every. Single. Time.
To highlight a few: I’ve witnessed a teenage girl strolling through the aisles chatting on her cell phone. No muted ringtone, no whispers, no “I’ll call you later this girl at a study table is staring at me for being obscenely rude”….just a casual after school catch up session with her BFF. I’ve heard the clumsy stampede of dozens of youngster’s in un-tied, slipped on snow boots, frolicking through the library. Running up and down the stairs because walking just isn’t as fun. I’ve spent unproductive time re-reading the same page multiple times because the voice in my head was singing along to the catchy tune being played on the computer next to me, without headphones. There’s a few days I’ll refrain from describing to the public in fear of judgment. But are you picking up what I’m putting down? The library is no longer the place I remember. Its loud, its hustling and bustling, it’s over crowded and honestly…I was so wrong, it doesn’t have enough plug-ins.
This past week I walk in with a little pep in my step. I’m really excited to sit and read my text-book. Possibly a little too excited. The further I venture into the library, the more stacks of book I pass, the more study rooms I see filled with people, I start to feel anxious. I knew I was an hour later than schedule and I was paying for it. There was one study table left by the coldest window in the whole place. I didn’t bring my coat, I didn’t want to freeze. I look up and I’m at the end of the road. All that’s left is the big intimidating stairway in front of me. I’d never been up there. The little kids sometimes ran up there but they also ran back down. Maybe it was scary up there. With no other choice, I had to take a chance. I make my way up, refraining from running or jumping one stair at a time. Because it’s waaay more fun than walking. But I didn’t, I kept my cool. I finally make my way to the landing. A little winded but that’s okay, nobody noticed…I don’t think.
I look around, lost but willing to find my way. To my left, two people. One at a table seated for six. The other on a couch big enough for only two. To my right an older gentleman and a younger girl seated across from each other. I wasn’t about to crash their party so I meander to the two-seater facing the wall. Perfect! I could get used to this. This place was classy. It had a fireplace, I felt so distinguished with all the newspapers and magazines surrounding me. I take my place and start setting up. Dang it! No plug-in. That’s okay, I have 50% battery, I’ll survive. Nothing can bring me down!
An hour or so passes. I wasn’t keeping time, I was studying, really, really, hard. I was focused and productive. My attention slipped for only a moment when I notice the party on the pleather couches was replaced with a white-haired man. I sit and imagine for a second what I’ll be like at that age. Feeling sentimental and thankful I’m still in my twenties I look back at my book and try to regain my train of thought.
In the dead of silence, a loud, rumbling, boisterous belch, echoes through the upstairs. I’m not the most proper lady but it made my face turn red. Before I can look over to be sure the guy didn’t puke, he does it again. And again. Annnnd again! At this point I’m in disbelief, shock and trying not to breathe in because God forbid I smell it. Hearing it made me slightly nauseous. Because one bodily noise wasn’t enough it was followed by another. This time I cracked up, I lost every ounce of maturity I had. I bury my face in my arms and book as this guy starts to hiccup. This isn’t your average hiccup. By the sound of his high-pitched squeal, I’m a convinced he’s hiding a baby pig in his retro jacket. The noises coming from him are unsettling. Yet, he hadn’t skipped a beat, he sat there paging through his magazine! Un-freaking-real!
I try my best to be compassionate and understanding. But really? After my giggling was under control I sat with a blank stare. I gathered my belongings, shoved in my chair, bunny hopped to the stairs, slid down the banister, whistled my way to the door and slammed it behind me. Next time and every time after that a study room will be mine!