Musings on Life, Writing, and the Free Territory of Ascham

The Library and Other Horrible Places

I love books. There, I’ve said it. Secret’s out. There’s no turning back.

But, I hate libraries. Not in the sense that I am opposed to them ideologically. I think they are wonderful places.

For other people.

To me, they’re like a little private slice of hell.

The library, in my humble experience, is a shining beacon of Studiousness, of Productivity, of Organization and all those other Wonderful Qualities of Which a Student Will Find Most Practical.

In short, the antithesis of myself. I hate this place, loath it with a passion bordering on unhealthy. The light in here is too cold, austere, unpleasant.

The insufferable silence is the worst. There’s only the clitter-clack of keyboards, the shifting of starched arses in seats. God forbid some cell phone rings, or some petty indiscretion of noise such as a question for clarification. That’s when knives are drawn (silently of course), daggers are glared. These people mean business.

This place should be amazing, it should be fun. Surrounded by old books, old thoughts, old theories. Here the place’s organization defeats itself. Stuffed away in shelf after shelf, helpfully organized to ensure that you can never find anything ever. It is a maze that swallows knowledge while keeping it contained at the same time.

It is a place of last resort. A refuge to retreat to when a paper is due the next morning, when the comforts of home become too comforting. A place to be uncomfortable on purpose, to allow the productivity of others to inspire your own.

It is akin to the lecture hall, to the classroom. These other spaces are horrible, but less so. There at least, is the comfort of human speech, of language, of interaction. The library is a place to be alone with others.

I write this while sitting in the library. Dull and dreary, gazing longingly out the window, towards freedom, towards chaos, towards noise. The wind howls outside, but I cannot hear it, The only evidence of its fury is the movement of trees.

How much better it is to be cold and miserable, than to be stuck away in this place.

But productivity calls. Mounds of obscure academic readings need conquering before I drown beneath their weight.

So this is goodbye for now. Take pity on this poor wretch, this sad creature known to all and sundry as a “Graduate Student.”

1 Comment

  1. Clint Smith

    Oh the life of a University student. I know your pain all to well my friend.

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