it was simply and without reservation the defining day of my life.
the library was my sanctuary. from myself, my school, and my stupid dorm room. i hated people and university life just reinforced that notion. the only good part was i could eat top ramen seven days a week which was my dream finally fulfilled. i was not meant to be with people. to hang around them, engage them, exchange handshakes and fluids with them. i was a social butterfly net. but i love intimacy. i love cramped quarters. i love an enclosed room. makes me feel safe, snug, protected. i imagine what it's like outside, the cruel world outside full of newspapers of the latest empty scandals and power grabs, and me inside blissfully unawares of the evil machinations which keep the dirty coin rotating, reaching for an arizona weave blanket as i pore over a gluey tome of forgotten lore.
the Gardner Main Stacks were a bitch, i used to work here. shelving and reshelving and deshelving and rotating those stupid silver behemoth stacks, large rectangles on train wheels one by one, with that stupid silver spoked captain's wheel, rolling and rolling to find the correct letter-and-number combination. those stupid rolling carts with the one squeaky wheel, always the one wheel. the masking-taped-up collection bins like beige trash cans so massive they had to be elevatored. looking back, it was all so silly. and made me mingle with people. why did i do it? money? i had my parents for that. credits? i was an English major, none of that shit mattered. i mean this was all towards an English degree which was a useless piece of paper in and of itself, what's the big deal? just cos everyone got a job when they entered college? to pay for weed? i suppose. maybe i lost my mind for a split second and actually harbored the crazy notion that i didn't want to die alone.
the only good which came from holding down a job for a month before i feigned a life-threatening illness over the phone and quit on the spot on a whim one Monday, these things always occur on a Monday, was it familiarized myself with the terrain. this was a huge cavernous byzantine library as befitted the second most illustrious institutuion of higher learning on the planet, so it had to play the part of the academic tower of ivory. well, marble. you know you're big time when your book shop is held up by fluted marble colonnades. honestly there were books stacked up and stickied together with dust three rows deep the likes of which i had no idea of. i mean there were elevator shafts going to places inside here that were filled to the brim with unmarked books and heavy map books (not my problem anymore) in bins full of information that could have been alien invasion plans and porn for all i knew. i was only a small part of this, i worked in the student section away from the main commotion of the important students, the scholars with the free rides and frat captains making a name for themselves. it was always harder when you didn't have a past relative as a sponsor with an apostrophe-two-number-year by their side to guide you with money and prestige, you felt like a stranger in a strange land, which is exactly how i have always felt everywhere.
but the one area i memorized was this passage-away right by the main entrance. though it was right at the front no tourists notice it the first time, the entrance is blocked by a huge planted plant, an indoor palm tree. i love intimate spaces. small spaces lit by fake electrical light. beats an outdoor space anyday, too country, everyone can see me, the world can see me, too open, lit by a dying star. when i'm in a room that indicates that a building was built, four walls with definite set dimensions, a place, i can let my guard down and run around in a circle like a freed buck-toothed chipmunk. i loved my little corner nook in this grand edifice of learning. my little piece of the lighthouse. it was like the first stop of a hotel tour, the clerk with all the keys to the land hung around him. you know i know there was always someone manning the counter here but for the life of me i can't remember what any of those people looked like, men or women, which is a real shame. and for that i am sorry, they were probably grad students looking for credits like me and everyone else, too. i guess my focus was lazered on other things.
it's weird coming back to the place you used to work. as a free man. not under the stress of punchcards or whether your boss with the pink blonde hair is too cute to work for that it's a conflict of interest. like eating at McDonald's after working there, the hamburger tastes extra long. this morning as in each morning i would stroll onto campus, i probably had classes of some sort but that is of no concern at the moment, i'd hide my coffee cup, they were small enough to secret in pockets, remember that lid!, and crawl into the first chair i found empty. the chairs were weird, they were like lounge chairs on the beach but of '70s pleather and long oval uncomfortable silver poles straight out of a Y community pool. they were hard to sit in but easy to sleep in. by the used Reader's Digests sat the bank of newspapers, so college-bound. each newspaper was bound, coiled into the beaded spine of a long hollowed-out bamboo pole. you didn't flip through a series of ink pages, you rotated the pole and circularized the circular as you read it. this was my favorite thing to do, pick up one of these bamboo poles and rest it back on its hinges.
Auverin: it's just rain, dude. not snow. spare me your English-major dramatics.
me: i'm always creating an atmosphere.