The other day I asked Stan what he thought about me painting a list on our entry-way walls. For some reason, I love the idea of hand-painted words framing our living space; it seems different than the vinyl stickers available in stories. After I brought the idea up, he reliably countered with the practicalities of dripping paint over our smooth beige walls.
“It would be hard to cover up if you got tired of it… I guess you’d have to sand it all down. Remind me, again, what’s wrong with a canvas?”
I think we’ve had some version of this conversation at least 14 times before. At this point in our exchange I usually admit it’s probably not a good idea. It suddenly strikes me as tiresome, what with sanding and all. I’ll decide to write whatever phrase has caught my imagination in my journal instead, or maybe on a piece of paper and tape it to the wall. Of course, I never get around to doing either and a few months later we repeat the whole scenario.
My latest wall-painting proposal was inspired by a trip to the library. Even though I walk there at least once a week I often leave feeling amazed, like a kid who finds a half-eaten box of smarties under the couch cushions.
Stan always tells me, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,”, suspicious that I might sign up for a trip to Vegas through some junk-mail voucher one day.* This may be good advice, but it doesn’t hold water when it comes to libraries. Especially ones with online ordering services. In a few clicks of the mouse I can choose enough books that I’ll need my backpack with the hip belt when I go to pick them up.
I am especially fond of my librarians and feel particularly flattered when they go out of their way to make recommendations based on their observations of my reading taste. It’s comforting to think we’ve become intimate friends despite conversations consisting of “I”ll take your card now”; “Some books came in for you today”; or “Would you like to pay your fines now or later?”
Tonight, I take Belén and Susanna to chose some books for themselves. I pick out a few from the browser’s shelf for myself and then let the girls know it’s time to leave. They slowly move toward me with their heads bent low, hair brushing the pages. I shuffle to the check-out counter and they catch up to me before we reach it. Instead of moving forward, we lose momentum and fall back into our reading, forming a silent clot in the middle of the library. A few pages later I remember we are leaving and revive my entranced companions.
When we come home I tell them they have a choice: extra reading time before bed or a chance to talk for a bit after the lights are out. For once, they agree on something…
The list I started this post with–the list that never got written or painted–is titled, The Good Life. As you may have guessed, library within walking distance is the first entry.
Enjoy your weekend,
*Does this ring a bell, anyone?