Monday, November 05, 2007

The Happy Place

I left a couple hours early for work so I could stop at the happy place--aka the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago--and do some more research for 1776. This library is big and gorgeous, truly, a monument to Learning, but it is also a place where homeless people can be inside and warm, provided they are not disrupting patrons. Signs posted around the library tell us that we are not allowed here if we have "neglected our bodily hygeine so that it gives offense to other patrons" and we are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke or sleep. I was feelingly smugly benevolent as I tolerated a gentleman snoring quietly behind me, until I realised that I had infact fallen asleep on "Jefferson's Pillow" (the title of the book--no joke) and may or may not have drooled slightly on my hand. At which point I decided to go for coffee. My find of the day was a historical map of Philadelphia from 1776 which was in a book that was, oh, roughly the size of a Smartcar that I managed to wrestle onto the photocopier which promptly spat out a letter-sized sheet that included most of the river and none of the city. Dar.

On my way to work I passed by a tall, bushy white hippie wearing Hari Krishna robes and holding a sign that said "World Peace Through Marijuana" with a helpful little peace sign drawn underneath. As I was passing he offered me a...piece of paper and said "hey, come on, check out my website, it's free! You can't be ignorant all your life!" So I turned around and beat him over the head with his stupid sign. Well, no, but I really wanted to. About the only thing less productive than smoking pot is standing on a street corner, advocating that pot will stop the world's evils. The ignorant comment rankled as well: I almost opened up my very full backpack to show him the mountains of knowledge that I would soon absorb. That's the second time in a couple weeks someone has accused me indirectly of being stupid. Coming on the day when I (lovingly) dropped my PhD materials into the mail for Madison, I'm hoping that it's just a coincidence and not verifiable fact. (wait, there was a GRE word for that...empirical! that was it) I felt much better once I got on the subway and listened in on a conversation that involved two girls discussing at great length the length of their hair--then I realised they were probably students at DePaul, and therefore probably eighteen and I began to ardently wish I was eighteen again. Then I remembered the terrible perm I had when I was eighteen and decided maybe I was better off being in my late early twenties after all--clearly, I'm a lot smarter now anyway.

1 comment:

Laura said...

You gotta love all that you have the opportunity to encouter in big city.