Somewhere between 9:10 and 9:35 I drop off Deborah to preschool and then I go to the library. I know I should go to Costco or Walmart like other mothers do when they get a brief opportunity to be efficient. Imagine how many stops one could make in two hours without whining children and without car seats and without somebody spilling Sprite on the floor!
Yes, efficiency is tempting, but complete silence is absolutely seductive. I just can’t help myself. It’s like an addiction, that library. I haven’t done it yet, but soon I will be one of those obnoxious patrons that yell shhhhh! when you decide to conduct a business call on your cellphone while the rest of us are trying to study, thank you very much.
I was reading a passage of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and this passage grabbed me. I changed a few words to personalize it:
The living in incessant noise was, to a frame and temper delicate and nervous like Becky’s, an evil which no super-added elegance of harmony could have entirely atoned for. It was the greatest misery of all. At the library, no sounds of contention, no raised voice, no abrupt bursts, no tread of violence, was ever heard; all proceeded in a regular course of cheerful orderliness—
I wept as I read it. Or maybe I laughed, I can’t remember.
I just feel so at harmony with the world when I’m at the library. Maybe it’s because I’m not actually interacting with the world.
Unless you count the librarians.
The librarians are in a class by themselves. They are like guardian angels, continually watching out for me, but not always approving of my behavior.
It’s probably because I’m rather loose on due dates. I also used to highlight the books and add notes, thinking I was adding to the great communal body of knowledge, but then I was told that I wasn’t supposed to do that.
Still, a few weeks ago, I met my best librarian ever. I went to check out a few books, and she helped me renew my overdue books.
Then she said, “It looks like you might have some books that are due today as well. Would you like me to renew those books for you?”
“Yes!” I said.
“Oh, and it looks like you have some books that are due tomorrow. Do you want me to renew those as well?”
“Yes!” Better than Christmas. I don’t get to go there for six more days. Sigh.
What’s your favorite place?