Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Library

The Library

The current recession and my own financial environment have driven me to frequent a place that many may find quaint and ancient: The Library. I am one of the few 41 year olds that I know that has an active library card (No overdue fines! Yay! I have no debt owed to the effing Library! That has to be a bright spot). I don't know any other card holders. But I have had a library card on and off for many years and it was especially handy in college. It is a good place to find current books, DVD's and CD's. In fact, I can check out 20-30 CD's, bring them home, listen, discard the bad ones, download the good ones on my computer, slap them on my iPod and I have free new music!! It's so cool. However, there is a downside. That downside is...actually going to the library itself.

Why? Primarily it has the lost world vibe that Wal-Mart has, like there was no other place for these folks to be but at the library on a Saturday--vacant eyed street teeagers looking for a warm place to hang during an awful SLC winter; smelly bums that have no way to get to the local shelter who have to find a place to sort out all the stuff in their various plastic bags. They usually do this on the tables right outside the main library entrance, in the enclosed courtyard area. The homeless carry in these bags (in no particular order): cans of soup, plastic water bottles, towels, tissues, strangely wrapped food items and other things that I dare not gaze upon. Suffice it to say, the library has its share of transigent customers. God help them. I can only give them a dollar and wish them well.

Other fellow library visitors include the harassed mother dragging an elementary school age kid around looking for books relating to whatever book report is currently due; young, spastic idiot teenage lovers (again with the teenage denizens--they are ubiquitous, no doubt about it. But, I think I probably copped a feel somewhere in the S or T aisle of the Orem library back in the day so I wish them no ill will. Sorry mom, it's the truth). These couples hang in one place and never move. Also, the heavy open mouth breathers, usually tall, overweight guys, who probably have no other important place to be and are looking for the entire Battlestar Galactica series on DVD so they can have something to look forward to on the rest of their lonely, gray and carbohydrate and soda laced weekends. Their skin color is also always bad. I try to manuever around these behemoths but they are surprisngly quick and agile once they see a title on the shelf that they must have. My advice is avoid them.

My favorite person to visit at the library however is the Check Out Person. You know how you can just tell a person doesn't want to be somewhere and they project that vibe about 100 yards before you ever get close to them? The Check Out Person gives off this vibe like the burning hot rays of 10,000 suns. THEY-HATE-THEIR-LIFE. And I would too if my whole work shift consisted of doing the same, lame, repetitive, soul destroying, mind numbing tedious task eight hours a day...holy shit. THEY ARE ME! I AM THEM!

I digress.

Anyway, this person does not say hi. Or if they say anything at all, it's in a very wee, small and dry "library voice", kind of like hearing a butterfly fart. Almost inaudible. I say, in my normal voice, "Hi, how are you? Busy today, huh?" They look at me briefly, the corners of their mouth twitch slightly, and they go back to checking out each piece I have in my basket (Yes, I walk around the library with a basket. And I have a City Library bag so I don't have to use plastic bags to haul my rented treasure home. Screw you, I'm proud to be a nerd). Once they are done with the check out, the slide all my stuff to me and stare right into my eyeballs. At this point, they say nothing. They are waiting for me to clear the area so they can bless the next person with the crystal pure aura of their soul. I look right back. I wait just until it almost gets uncomfortable and just when they start to dart their eyes and realize that I may be The Most Obnoxious Patron Ever for just standing there, I get my goods, throw them in my bag and move on. "Have a good day!" I say, chuckling as I cruise past the detector doors.

As a footnote, the SLC Library is quite beautiful. It's new, it has a lot of stuff and when it's sunny, you can get a great cup of coffee (they have a stellar cafe in the Library) and sit at one of the outside tables enjoying downtown. They also have a flower shop, used book shop, antique shop, art gallery, toy shop, and a comic book store which is supposedly one of the best in the state. They also have an auditorium where they hold seminars with titles like, "The Great Western Migration of the Horn Billed Swallow and the Future of Its Nesting Environs." Wow, score.

The Library + My Library Peeps = Good Times!


  1. I will have you know that I am the proud carrier of two library for Am. Fork and one for the little bitty one in Highland...haven't used them in awhile because for some unknown reason, I feel the need to actually purchase books, dvds, cds, etc..which is totally unresponsible in these economic hard times, but I will be taking a second look at these places that really do offer a wide variety of services...the library was always one of my favorites places growing up..loved the solitude and all those books at my fingertips..and I actually thought being a librarian would be the coolest job...I am a nerd at heart, too...and proud of it.

  2. I mean irresponsible...having Hank and Max for 5 days has rendered me mentally retarded!

  3. I never wanted to be a librarian, but I always thought having access to all of those books was pretty cool. I think the way you are using it, is very smart, and will make you smarter..just look at your blogs. Last thing I rented was several books on tape, to listen to while on the road to Seattle. I hate car trips, so they were really the answer..time went fast!
    Jackis seems to keep me in books, and I do buy as well, but think I will take my card, and venture in one of these days.
    Did you know you can get into any of the National Parks free, if you have a library card?
    So what's keeping you from going to Zions? We are also going to the Grand Canyon, that would be another free admition, and then to Cedar City for Henry the Fifth. That would not be free, but would be worth it, whatever it costs!