A blessing of the old “normal.”

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Photo by Monjur Hasan on Unsplash

Yesterday I did something I had not done in more than six months — I went to the library.

It was wonderous. Some book stands, the ones with express check-outs, weren’t there, to create more room for physical distance. This way, main area had an airier feel to it, and because there weren’t a lot of people standing around, I took my time. Of course, I was wearing a mask, and even put on gloves, although as I was gathering books to check out, it occurred to me that I will not be reading the books wearing gloves, so that was just silly.

Though I was breathing through a mask, the feeling of old “normalcy” of being in one of my favorite places was so strong, that I blinked back tears several times. All my thoughts had exclamation points, as in, “I’m touching an actual physical book!” “I am standing between two bookshelves full of books!” “Is that a graphic novel or an actual novel?” “I am so glad I brought a water bottle with me, in the car, so I can have a swig as soon as I leave the library; I am so thirsty but the fountains are closed!”

In my state of euphoria and giddy elation, I gathered more books than I could carry. This kind of problem — the first world problem of too much choice and too many resources — is my absolute favorite of all problems. I went through the books again, then put a couple back. These remaining books, the ones I gathered in my arms, would not be all the books I would be getting from the library. I’ve also ordered four books that were not available in this library, and will have to be picked up from other libraries before they can be placed in my hot little hands.

What am I going to do with so many books? Can I really read 11 books in three weeks? No, I cannot — I have children, a husband and two dogs. But I can probably read three of them. Also, I will definitely return at least three of them because I will start them and find fault with a character, spelling mistakes, gaping plot holes or just a general meh/dissatisfaction/boredom factor. I will renew others, and keep on reading, with the same option to stop if the book does not deliver exactly what I want. Life is too short to read books I do not enjoy, and there are too many books out there.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the library. Sure, the library has different hours — they’re only open from noon until 1:30, then they clean for 30 minutes, then open again at 2 until 3:30, then close to clean again, then open from 4 until 5:30, which is their closing time now. You don’t have to make an appointment (although I did), as long as you come during the hours the library is actually open.

The only thing that would have made the library experience even better would have been if it was raining. I love being in the library when it’s raining. However, we’re not only in a drought, we had temperature in the 70s today. That’s almost funny, because last year, at this time, we had snow on the ground. But I digress yet again.

I feel as if I experienced a non-religious miracle, as if the universe “blessed” and rewarded me for trying to be a good human by quarantining, and wearing masks, and washing my hands often. For this marvel, I humbly thank the universe. I wish only to be worthy, so that the wonders of the library may continue to be bestowed upon me and my fellow bookworms.

Written by

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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