I am writing this journal entry from the library. The library is a
horribly depressing place to be. Well at least the library that is
downtown in a large metropolitan city. It opened at 10 am which
seemed quite late. You see I was already irritated as fuck because my
loser client decided to not let me know that he forgot about our
meeting. That would be all fine and good except for that I pay for my
office by the hour...you know...to cut back on expenses during these
So there I was, wet because I was an idiot and didn't remember an
umbrella, and waiting in a throng of destitute, desolate, down-on-
their-luck, denizens. Most couldn't speak English yet I knew what
they were all there for (well at least for the homeless people who I
know what they're there for too): to apply to jobs. You see, I read
an interesting article in the Economist the other day (I love that
periodical and am pissed I forgot to ask for it for my b-day last
year) that said that the nation's libraries couldn't handle the influx
of job-seekers having to apply for jobs online.
You see, to cut costs in these difficult economic times, most
employers have taken to the interwebs for their application process.
This is all fine and good for the companies, it saves them a shit-ton
of money I'm sure. However, it is a bit of a downer for unskilled
laborers who can't afford to have internet in their own homes.
I remembered all of the above and decided to stand well away from the
doors. Good thing too! There was a thicket of people all around the
doors. It wasn't just people who looked like day laborers but also
normal looking people who just appeared down on their luck. Oh yeah,
and then there was me, the white dude, dressed to the nines shuffling
back and forth on his feet (because I had to urinate).
Around 9:57 a growing buzz was coming from the crowd, then came some
yelling, then came some rapping on the glass. By golly, it was 10 am
on that man's watch! How dare they! By 9:59 this had reached a fever
pitch which all of a sudden turned into a scuffle. You heard that
right, there was a scuffle to enter the public library all at once.
Instead of forming a line like intelligent people, this mob of unruly
misfits had decided to live by the creed of "might makes right." One
quite mighty man started shoving another not so mighty man away from
what he thought was "his space."
Then the doors were unlocked. THE REVOLVING GLASS DOOR to be exacted.
THE ONE REVOLVING GLASS DOOR. Oh my god. To say it was mayhem would
be the understatement of the century. First, a lot of those waiting
didn't grasp the concept of a revolving glass door, they tried to
squeeze themselves in to the point that you had 3 to 4 people in one
group pushing and shoving themselves through.
After about 30 seconds of this catastrophe the librarian decided it
may be a good idea to also just go a head and open the double-doors
normally reserved for the handicapped. She was almost trampled in the
process as the remaining flood of now desperate people barged in. I
slowly trailed after them and watched as they ran around like those
contestants did on that game show where you had to find grocery items.
There were several (and I think I am understating it) squabbles about
who was first at a computer. Not only that, but there was a big
upheaval at one station in which a young gentleman decided he would
rather watch the latest sports news rather than apply for jobs. The
Economist was right just about everybody at a computer was at a job
site or checking email.
I never remembered the library as being so fucking depressing. I
remember it being a place of relaxation where homely women would
recommend the latest books to me. I remember it being a place where
my mother would groan as my brother and I would place a tenth book on
our pile, knowing that we would never finish all of them anyhow. But
most of all I remember the library as a place where mothers would read
to their little kids, where there was a guinea pig named Max in one
corner and a stuffed likeness of Mother Goose in the other.
My how times have changed.