Sunday, February 17, 2008

Boredom in the Library

This post is dedicated to William Decosta and the staff of the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library.

"Wishing to go where you don't belong is the condition of most people in the world" is the opening sentence of Trespassing, a novel I have just picked up and started to read. I have that sentence in my head as I turn and lift my reading glasses from my face to glance back at the patrons who are sitting in the library, some sleeping in their seats, in the waning hours of an early spring afternoon. The people in the library ignore one another as if they are all blindfolded, their imagination turned to some inner realm, some slumped over the tables, with tilted faces, and some with gaping mouths, enclosed by the howl and bedlam of the monologuing blare emanating from the children's room. I excite my imagination by seeing the other library patrons as helpless captives or hostages, yet I know better. Like me, they are tired and bemused people, some waiting to get onto the public access computers -- maybe some of them daydreaming of far-off places, but certainly not hostages or captives of anything other than their own illusions. I slip back into my seat and readjust my glasses, and return to Trespassing, the book I had been reading.

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