Hello, rainy Thursday!
I am writing this from the public library — Kingston’s central branch on Johnston street. I met a friend for an early-ish breakfast at the Sleepless Goat this morning. She was heading over to campus to get some work done, when I realized I wanted a bit of a change in the ol’ routine, so I came here.
I think I’ve written about the public library before. I like it here because of the comfortable chairs lined up along a row of big windows facing out onto the street. I’m sitting in just such a chair now, watching people coming in out of the rain. The public library is a very special sort of refuge place: one where people can sit quietly and do whatever it is they need to do, without feeling pressure to buy anything, to be anything, to think anything in particular.
It’s a gently encouraging sort of place: one that dares people to slow down, to read, to think, to be still, to doze, to catch up on email, to meet neighbours over the displays of new books. Though I like working at the university library, it’s interesting to work surrounded by a completely different cross section of the quietly contemplative. Perhaps I’m being romantic about it, but I often feel like the learning that happens here doesn’t have the same anxious undertones. The people reading around me aren’t necessarily doing it because they HAVE to, in order to pass a class. They’re often here because they want to be — or, for all I know, because they have nowhere else to be. Whatever the circumstances, the atmosphere is different. And that’s interesting.
An older woman has just come in looking for her lost gloves. The librarian she has cornered hasn’t found any gloves, and just bestowed that news upon the worried woman. “Well,” she said after a moment. “Now that I’ve got you, can I ask about a book on Guatamala?” They’ve just gone in search of the book. Lovely.
To my left, a man is drinking coffee from a styrofoam cup while texting. He is, boldly on this wet day, wearing very very white running shoes. To my right, another older man, balding, but with his remaining hair tied back in a ponytail, is reading the Whig-Standard. Another man is flipping through a book whose contents I cannot discern. He seems quite engrossed. And at a nearby table, a younger women is writing intently, though she just took a break to talk with two soggy teenagers who stopped in to see her.
Since I am here, I’m going to try and get some writing done — but it’s going take some willpower. I could easily spend my day watching the various people coming and going, or gazing out at the rain. I could also easily fall asleep in this chair.