Friday, February 10, 2006

From the Library

I haven't had a home phone for months, which, in my case, also means no dial-up, which means no computer. I get down to the local library most days - on my street about 8 blocks, so I can walk there easily.

But libraries are, as you may recall, rather earnest places, if not quite as hush-hush as they used to be - at least as many people are clicking away on computers as are wandering the stacks of books and mags.

The earnestness of the library lends itself to a noticable lack of the flippant and/or satirical in the reading and writing I do there - there, where I am now, as I type this.

So it's probably hard to believe that I'm a flippant and satirical and - on a tear - sarcastic kind of guy, without sacred cows of any sort. Libraries imply a sort of sacredness. Even the extraverts are introverted here. It's not exactly a place to break out in hearty conversation even when you run into someone you know that you're very glad to run into.

But even if the society is rather self-absorbed and subdued, I like the civility of the place, the idea that I'm participating in a public place, a public resource - instead of just blathering on and on home alone. Home alone lends itself to way too hours spent on the computer, and a lot of guilty friends attest to this - as if home weren't already sedentary enough.

When I'm at home, even in marginal weather - even chilly, rainy days - I leave the doors open and the windows cracked. I get outside, not necessarily to DO much of anything but just to be outside. I don't see any of my neighbors just standing about in their yards. For most, I suppose, their yards are just places they visit now and then. They don't really feel they live there.

After some months of this, I now feel like I live at the library, too, a good amount of the time. Sometimes I walk down twice a day. But the use of a computer is limited to an hour at a time, and that sort of keeps things in check a bit.

Then I get back outside.


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