I go to the library a lot. Not to read, but to write and do some office work.
You see, I don’t have internet at home. It’s not that I can’t afford it, I probably could, but I don’t trust myself with it. If I had internet at home, I’d be downloading movies, streaming TV or just checking out Andre the Giant’s Wikipedia page for spelling errors.
So I visit the cafe or library whenever I need internet.
I also need a place to go to work. And work out. I could have the most amazing home gym, but I’d never use it. I pay for a gym, so I go there. Otherwise I feel like I’m wasting my money. Same same with writing. I have a computer, but I rarely write at home. So I need to go somewhere else to do it.
But if I spend $5 on a coffee or walk all the way to the library or the gym, I will write or work out. I put in that effort, now I need to do something with that.
I like cafes, but I decided that since I’m relatively unemployed I’ll have to wait until I get better paychecks before plopping down money for coffees and tips. So here I am at the Chicago Public Library in Edgewater.
This places isn’t so bad. They have tables, outlets and internet. I checked out a book once and printed some stuff another time. It all works out well.
There are some crusty people here. There’s one creepy guy that just freaks me out, so I will move to another chair just so I don’t see him. I don’t think he notices that I notice him. The guy sitting across from me is playing Diablo or Warcraft. Yesterday somebody called the cops because some teens were “engaging in sexual acts, being disrespectful, being rude and confronted my friend.” The teenagers do have a room set up just for them and they treat it more like a bar than a quiet spot to hang out.
My mom took me to the library all the time when I was growing up. I loved it. I could get books and movies. I could get the hell out of the house.
NYU’s library is absolutely amazing. They had “study rooms” that were for making out. It was open 24 hours a day (I think). The tiled floor looked really cool when you were on the top floor looking down. I think some people killed themselves there, so they changed up some of the rules.
The library in the Denver suburb where my parents live was gorgeous. Huge and quiet. Full of books, but more or less empty of people.
I went to one in Korea and felt like a fish out of water and into a swirling skyscraper of bats. It was just weird.
The worst of the worst are the public NYC libraries. It’s a gorgeous set of places, but that’s where bums come to use the internet. And hobos aren’t checking their email. They’re watching porn. And jerking off right at the computer station.
So I don’t really feel like visiting NYC’s libraries any more.
I’ll take a couple mumbling dorks over some chronic public masturbators.