So, today, I wasn't going to sit in the boiling hot house and watch my skin frying to the furnature, so I went to the library. This gave me a chance to do some plant research for my world.
I love to read, but I admit, I haven't been a frequent visitor to the library. It's been remodled since I last went, and it's really quite nice. Areas of semi-comfortable chairs, lots of tables, a big children's section, teenager section.
They still throw all the fiction together though, which annoys me. They have little stickers on them that say, "Horror." or "Fantasy" but it's all in a section called "Fiction." I was going to look at some fantasy too, but when faced with the endless shelves of romance novels and other stuff, I didn't feel like sorting throught.
There was a big "Hello Kitty" party or event going on today. Which meant that everyone with kids was there for awhile. I was a little surprised. I thought Hello Kitty was just this little thing that appeared on notebooks. Is there actually a cartoon for it?
I looked up some stuff. I wanted to make copies of some things, and found out that if you want to make a copy from the refrence books, you have to use the refrence copier. There is another copier in the front of the library. Both copiers are identical. Except that it costs 15 cents to make a refrence copy and 10 cents to make a copy of something that isn't from the refrence section. Since the areas aren't really separated by doors, I considered taking my book up front, even though signs say, "Refrence materials can only be copied in the refrence area" and taking my chances. Then I realized that I'd left my cash at home. Well, I'll go another day.
I also flirted briefly with asking the librarian of the refrence area why they have this rule, not to be a dick, but just because I was curious. I find that I don't repond well to "Because that's the way it IS!" logic, I want a reason. And I couldn't think of any reason why it should matter what copier you use. Except for maybe location.... the other one is near the front, where someone might run out the door. However, the library has these sensors.
But, I saw the poor refrence librarian was having a devil of a time with a young boy, who kept coming up to ask why he couldn't get into AOL chat rooms on the library computer. Apparently, this boy is under the illusion that AOL is the internet, and wanted to chat with his buddies. And, no one is going to convince him otherwise. I felt bad for the poor librarian. She kept trying to explain and the kid kept going, "Look, we've had AOL for years, and I know AOL and the internet are the same thing. My dad told me so!"
I was a bit startled, mostly because I remember when I was a teenager, my dad verifying something was usually the signal to disagree immedietly. And, also, because I'd think by this point, what with the internet being in the schools, he'd know darned well there's a difference between AOL and the internet.
Lots of teenagers hanging by the computers. Most of them seemed to be quiet and polite. A few were bemoaning the fact that they can't hook up to some LAN party and play some game of massive destruction. One kid kept going, "It's MY tax dollars that pay for this fucking library!" I flirted briefly with the idea of saying, "Mine too, and my tax dollars do not wish to listen to your ranty little whine." I think I would have gotten a standing ovation from everyone else. I can understand why they put the computers right in the refrence section, but since computers seem to attract teenage boys, some with loud mouths, it's hard for those who want to stick our noses in the pages of boring refrence books and actually try to learn something.
Why do they write refrence books so darned dull? I'm reading about herbal medicine, which I think has the potential to be written in a fascinating way, but instead, it's like they hired Snoozy and Sleepy to write the books. Personally, I think comedians should write refrence books. Teach us, while giving us some humorous monologe, and you bet we'll never forget the information.
After a couple hours of squinting at tiny print refrence books, I decided to take a break, so I went outside for a smoke. An old woman was sitting on the little cement ledge they have outside the library, smiling. She asked me for a cigarette. I gave her one. She didn't seem quite with us, but she kept telling me she loved coming to the library to visit her friends. I was starting to worry if there was going to be a huge gaggle of old women coming in, not that I have anything against old women, but quite often their hearing isn't up to par, so they end up shouting at each other.
She only smoked like a quarter of the cigarette, then went inside. I finished mine, then strolled back in, still holding my notebook and pens. Decided to leave the reserch for a bit and find a decent book to curl up with. Found a book from Chesea Quinn Yarbo I hadn't read in a billion years, took that off the shelves, and curled up on one of the comfortable chairs in the very back and started reading.
The old woman came over, holding a big pile of books, sat down in the chair next to mine, put the books on the table, grabbed the one on the top and started reading. It was Gone With The Wind. Tiny old woman, very skinny. She seemed to almost shrink in the chair, but she settled in and opened the book, and started reading. I guess I looked too long, cause she looked up at me and smiled. Then she spoke.
"The only nice thing about being my age, is that you forget so much, that when you go and visit all your old friends, they seem like new friends again too!" And she held up the book.
I like her.