*cue Ray Lamontagne’s “Trouble”*
This year has been rather a year of new discoveries so far, as I’ve slowly immersed myself in geek/nerd culture online (as a spectator only). I’ve learned new things, and developed new obsessions (I use the term loosely), found new causes to be excited about, and also discovered that even in a group of super smart kids, we still can’t agree (or agree to disagree) on certain… issues.
I don’t know, I suppose I thought that people who had memorized every line from the original Star Trek series wouldn’t really have problems with sexism and racism.
Beneath my tough walnutty exterior, I am a soft, squishy idealist, I suppose.
So much for nerd utopia.
I toyed with the idea of writing a few blogs on those topics… but I don’t think I’m ready to expose those parts of my soft underbelly to the light of day and to opinions from other people who never mean any harm (but somehow manage to cause a bit everywhere they go). I might, eventually, delve into it, but now doesn’t particularly seem like a good time, what with the heat and state of current affairs and whatnot.
So, I thought to myself (you know, in those rare moments when I don’t think to other people… seriously, who comes up with these phrases?), “I’m not going to go there. I’ll go to the library instead. Libraries are friendly and neutral. Libraries don’t have any particular opinion on your femininity or skin color and libraries never ask you if you prefer to be called African American.”
American will do.
I am not African.
If you must attach a color-based descriptor, black is fine and not at all offensive.
The folks over at Mental Floss have put together a list of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries, and I was quite proud to see one of my favorites:
The Trinity College Library in Dublin (which often serves as my desktop background, so I can imagine that I’m working there… in silence… and a deliciously warm green sweater.
I did notice that some of the massive libraries on the list have tile flooring, which seems a bit counter intuitive, since people (myself included) like to wear clicky shoes, and libraries are supposed to be QUIET… but then, in my latest visit to my local library, I encountered people talking at the top of their voices, a man taking several business calls on his cell phone, and a beautiful, but noisy clock that chimed the hour… because people in a library love nothing more than to be jerked out of their reverie by the sound of many bells.
I don’t know, maybe we don’t have to be quiet in libraries anymore.
Was there a law passed about it? I don’t recall voting. Can we vote on this? I object.
I love the idea of libraries (except the noisy ones, of course) because libraries contain vast compendiums of knowledge, and yet, at the same time, are known as being places of peace and serenity. Imagine it… books with differing opinions and mindsets and agendas, standing side by side in peace… perhaps never agreeing, but never arguing either.
I wonder what would happen if humans could do that… learn and understand the “opposite” viewpoint, and clearly, calmly, and objectively state their viewpoint, and proceed on a basis of actual mutual understanding, rather than allowing the discussion to deteriorate into arguments and insults. I would love for there to be open frank discussions about issues, with the purpose of finding middle ground to stand on. We’re not at that place yet, even after all this time, and I suppose that the older I get, the more disillusioned I become with society that would rather be right and on top and at war.
Libraries are one of the few places where two opposing forces are together in a confined space and no one ever fires a shot. Again, it’s idealistic of me, but I would hope that we could learn something from that.