Monday, May 03, 2004

Sounds of Spring at the Library 

The library has not been a sanctuary of quiet reflection and study today. The neighborhood is engulfed in construction, so all day we are treated to the sounds of cursing, catcalling workmen, jackhammers, car alarms set off by the jackhammers, and the loud warning beeps of machinery backing up.

Other sounds in the library:

  • The chronic wet, deep coughing of an old grizzled WPA veteran suffering from what must be silicosis or an equally horrible lung disease. He is reading the paper only feet away from me, so I find myself unconsciously clearing my throat and taking deep gulps of air in some sort of sympathetic response to his labored, death rattle breathing. I do the same thing around Hercules, Dan and Eleanor's pug.

  • A woman cracking her chewing gum so loudly so that I keep having a horribly vivid mental replay of Joe Theisman's femur snapping.

  • A dog barking pitifully outside while his owner visits on-line gaming sites

  • A paranoid schizophrenic muttering to himself

  • A screaming, 4 year old tyrant who treats his nanny in a viciously imperious way like he’s some colonial brat and she’s his amah

  • The bellow of the giant fog horn under the bridge, which is actually wonderfully atmospheric

  • Loretta's simpering cackle as she flirts and holds court in one of the window nooks outiside

  • Good news on the Loretta front! She has shed her her arm and leg casts and is fully mobile again. I really was pessimistic about that foot of hers and was concerned that an amputation would be the next medical course of action. I never did find out what was wrong with her arm – maybe a touch of carpal tunnel?

    One time our beat cop took me in his squad car on a tour of his beat and just for fun he drove through the park right up to Loretta and her entourage. The police officer, who has countless dealings with her, noticed that she had discarded her favorite blanket in a ratty heap about 10 yards away. When he asked her what happened, she replied in a coyly pouty way,

    “I have to leave it there to dry because I TEE-TEE’d on it!”

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