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Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Room of One's Own

I love my office. For starters, I love that I have an office, because very few people do. I can't remember a time I haven't had an office, thanks to my mother having gotten sick of my books being all over the house by the time I was nine.

But there are times when my office is too confining, either because there are too many distractions or too few, and that's where the library comes in.

Of course, some libraries are better than others.

The library at school, for example, is pretty sweet. It's got the right amount of bustle to it--just enough so that you know other people exist, but not enough that you're distracted by what everyone else is doing. Unfortunately, I only get to that library on days I have classes. The rest of the time, I'm stuck at the bad library. The public library.

Don't get me wrong, I used to like this library. I even volunteered here when I was a teenager, and as soon as I got a job, I began donating both books and money to ensure it sticks around for the next generation of kids who like the smell of real books.

But like most things in this city (the city that wanted to spend $150,000 we don't have on NO OUTLET signs because the mayor thinks DEAD END sounds low-class), the library has turned into a pretentious little piece of shit. It's OK to browse the Internet for porn; it's not OK to send a text message. It's OK to sing to yourself with your iPod in your ears; it's not OK to cough or sneeze. It's OK to bring in a hand-held gaming device and turn the volume up to annoying; it's not OK to have your cell phone on, even if it's on vibrate.

The straw that broke the camel's back, though, was when two of the librarians huddled together and called for the downstairs Rent-A-Cop to come confiscate my Dasani.

Yes, you heard me. They stoled my water.

"You're not supposed to have that here," he said. "Because of the computers."

"But," I said, "this is my computer."

He didn't say anything after that, but I begrudgingly put the water away, anyway, thinking to myself that a) I was really, really thirsty, and b) Internet porn hurts the computers way more than sealed bottles of water do.

Not that I have anything against the Rent-A-Cop. I mean, rules are rules, and if water isn't allowed, water isn't allowed. And really, what a sucky job it must be, having to take water away from teary-eyed college students whose throats are so dry, they're already coughing, who really--really--need to get their essays done, like, yesterday.

But it seems to me that some rules are, well, stupid.

Like outlawing bottled water when you should be more concerned with that section of roof that has caved in on the third floor.

I'm just saying.



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