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[personal profile] chalcedony_cat
Joy and I have now experienced the Delights of Public Transit, and I mean that without any sarcasm -- there's a big difference between living in a very pleasant town that has some bus service, and living around the corner from a light rail station that has trains every 20 minutes. She tried it out yesterday with her dad (they brought me bizarre and delicious doughnuts!), and was really eager to go again, and I wanted to see how it would be to take transit to the previously mentioned ginormous library, so off we went!

It's a pleasant walk, really just around the corner, although the station itself is in the middle of a busy freeway and quite noisy. Joy put her hands over her ears, waited patiently for the train, then showed me how to get on and told me that there was No Standing while it was moving. We sat and looked out the windows together, and commented on all the stops (only a few) and what interesting things might be at them. Then we got off (with another reminder from Joy that we had to wait until it was Not Moving), and walked the few blocks to the library. There was random public art on the way which Joy ran up to and stroked and admired, and a lot of students, and many little restaurants and coffee shops and movie posters and theatre posters and pots of flowers, all of which had to be duly examined and accounted for. We were thus not walking very fast, but at 8 months pregnant I was glad about that rather than frustrated.

The university itself is not so large, space-wise -- a few square blocks in a downtown -- but the edge that we walked along had a beautiful old building, and then, oh, the library. I'd tried to explain to Joy that it was really big compared to our old local library, but as we walked closer and I pointed out the 8-story building to her, she looked up... and up... and up... and said, "Mommy, that really is pretty big!" Nor did the inside disappoint; not only do they have a children's room on the ground floor, but the first few levels are connected by Joy's current favourite machinery: escalators. Given that we spent something like 45 minutes at IKEA a week ago riding up & down escalators I was a little worried about how this would go, but she was perfectly happy to escalate up to where we needed to switch to elevators, then go up in the elevator to the floor where PR (inevitably my favourite section of a library-of-congress catalogued library) was lurking. As it turned out this was the Silent Study Floor, so I was a bit worried, but Joy handled it admirably, keeping her voice at a whisper and looking at skylights flooding study areas with sunshine, rows of books all the same colour (whispered: "Why are they all red? Red is my favourite!") and then the amazing view across the city as I quickly grabbed a few books before she ran out of patience. Then we went back down and checked out the kid's room, which is not so exciting compared to our old one, but the fact that they have a kid's room at all is pretty astonishing to me, and Joy was happy to do the puzzles and pick out a book by Jane Yolen with bad dinosaur jokes in it before we walked back to transit and went back home.

The books I got were the first volumes of two different editions of Byron's letters (because of an entertainingly snide essay by Maurice Hewlett), three novels by 'Miss Read' who is my other (non-Wentworth) comfort reading at the moment, Rab and His Friends because of an essay praising it by "someone I don't know his name" (as Joy would say, by which I mean I can't recall the author right now), and a novel by Grant Allen that advertised itself on the back as being detective fiction & thus overcame the aversion created by having read The Woman Who Did a few years back. A very random mix, but oh it was beyond words wonderful to be in the stacks of a real library with sunshine and book smell and tens of thousands of books I might want to read. I am an unfortunately unpicky reader in my strange way; I'm willing to try anything old, because even if it drive me nuts (see The Woman Who Did) or is completely discredited history or betrays horrible ideological failure on the part of the author (everything written by Maria McIntosh), I feel like I'm learning something about the past by reading it with a critical mind. Everything is grist to my mill, I suppose, even if I am not exactly sure what I plan to do with the mill itself. Maybe go get a PhD in English Lit after all; it seems a shame not to do something I love so much simply because there is no practical outcome foreseen.
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