Usually when we move to a new place, getting a library card is high on my list of priorities, along with getting a driver's license. Last year, when we moved to North Carolina, we discovered that getting our driver's license would take much more effort than in any other location we had ever lived; I had a hint of that when I went online to make an appointment to avoid lines, and the nearest appointment was 5 months away.
So, I barely got my driver's license in time, and since I thought I'd be living in D.C. for the next several years, I didn't prioritize my library card. But I've been yearning to read some books that I don't own, both light reading and some climate change texts, and the local library has them. Yesterday I needed to escape some of the deconstruction noise at the house, so off I went to the nearest branch of the Buncombe county library.
Almost always, entering a library feels like coming home. My earliest memories are of going to the library, and libraries haven't changed radically in appearance in my lifetime, so it makes sense. Libraries have more stuff now--computers, meeting rooms, non-book media/items--but libraries still have books, shelves and shelves and shelves of books.
I got my card with no trouble, since I now have a North Carolina driver's license. The librarian asked me if I'd ever had a Buncombe county library card before, and I said no. Suddenly I realized that I've had a library card in almost every state south of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi River. I have no particular desire to live in the missing states (Mississippi, for example), so this might be the end of my run.
I spent some time in the stacks, wondering what I'd like to read. Yes, I keep a list, but that list is in a box somewhere. I ended up with Living Resistance by Kaitlin B. Curtice and Sue Monk Kidd's The Book of Longings--not the light and fluffy reading I wanted, but maybe they'll hit the spot. I came home and went online to request the climate change books I wanted--they are at a library far away, and I'm happy to wait for them to be delivered to the branch nearer to me.
One of the cool elements of this library system is that I have borrowing privileges at many other North Carolina counties. It's hard to imagine that I'll get to many of them, but I do live just one mile away from Henderson county. There are no overdue fees, but after 30 days, the item will be charged to the card. But if you bring the item back, you're good; I know this, because I heard it explained to the young child and his dad who had brought items back. If you're charged, and you bring a new copy of the book that you got from somewhere else, you don't have to pay what the library will charge you to replace that book. Once I lost a book from the Broward county (FL) system, and not only had to pay an exorbitant cost to replace it, but also a service fee; I ended up paying almost $50.00 for a paperback that was widely available for a few dollars elsewhere.
One feature of this library card is that I can get Zoom passes, which gets me and my group admission into a variety of educational spaces (the NC Arboretum! the WNC Nature Center! the Asheville Art Museum!), with one pass per place per month. Wow. It requires some thinking ahead because I have to get the pass at the library, but I'm fine with that.
On my way home, I heard that Cormac McCarthy died; I was surprised that he was as old as he was when he died. I only read The Road, which had some of the most gorgeous language I've ever read, which is particularly unusual in a dystopian novel. My reading life is short, and I'm unlikely to read more of his work, although this appreciation made me want to read more. NPR commentator Wade Goodwyn recorded it just before he died of cancer--he died in his 60's, much younger than anyone should.
I did not waste time with news coverage of the Trump appearance at a federal court room yesterday. This story will drag on and on and on. In some ways, it's much like a kitchen remodel. I did get kitchen counters ordered yesterday.
It will take 3-7 weeks for them to be made and installed. Sigh.
But at least the process is underway. I also got the tin for the backsplash ordered; happily American Tin still had some of our old pattern in stock, which we're getting in hopes of duplicating what we've had before.
In the meantime, we have a temporary sink, and we'll keep making due. Earlier this week, standing on the deck in the morning dark, looking through the sliding glass doors, I thought, if this was a picture that I saw in a magazine, I'd want to live here--even if the kitchen doesn't have counters yet.