Hitting the Books

I went back to the public library. I went there once before with Gunther with good results so when Paul asked what I was up to yesterday, I said, “Let’s go to the library.”

After showing Paul the massive DVD collection (all free!)

we read magazines for an hour. People do the same thing in book stores, but I always felt guilty reading the magazines that you’re supposed to buy. No one else seems to have a problem with this because the magazine rack at B&N seems to have 99% browsers and 1% buyers. But I’m the guy constantly looking over my shoulder for the store manager to call the cops on me because I’ve been wrinkling the pages of Outlaw Biker Magazine. In the library, though, you can read all the magazines you want, all day long. And take as many DVD’s and watch them for free.

Anyway, one thing I love about the Santa Monica library is the screen saver they have on all the computers. It shows old pictures of Santa Monica from the 1930’s or the 1890’s. There will be some kid in a straw hat sitting on a hill eating a watermelon and the caption is “Children eating watermelon in front of Palisades Park, 1910.” And you think, “Wow, this area was the frontier back then.” I especially love the pictures of people at the beach in the 1920’s wearing twenty pounds of clothes, or women going swimming with long dresses on.

I was staring at the screen saver for like ten minutes when a guy interrupted me, “I love those pictures, too.” Turns out, Mitch works at the library. We got to talking and he found a book of old Los Angeles photos for me. I took the book home with me and have really enjoyed looking through it.

It’s cool to find something new you like and didn’t even realize it.

Library Girl

I went to the library with Gunther today.

I don’t think I’ve been to a library since college and a public library since I was a kid. But Gunther says they have a huge collection of DVD’s and they’re all absolutely free.

First of all, I think libraries are a strange concept. I mean I get the theory that it’s a good thing to loan people books for free because it would be great if the country weren’t filled with illiterate morons. But to see it in practice seems a little weird. I kept thinking, “So you’re just going to give me all these DVD’s for free?” How does Netflix compete with them?

Anyway, that weirdness aside, the library is a tough place to talk to strangers because you’re pretty much not supposed to talk at all. I mean, there weren’t any old lady librarians shushing me, but I think the rule of not talking in a library is pretty universally respected.

But I did anyway. Obviously the “in” is the book itself. And I’ve been sensitive to the fact that I’ve been talking to mostly hot women lately, so I turned to some dude about my age who was reading “The 4-Hour Body” and said, “What’s that about?”

He explained the basic premise about how you can make all sorts of amazing changes to your life with little effort (not sure about that) and we started a kind of debate about people being lazy and self-help books in general.

Then, the weird thing happened. The conversation drew the attention of a hot girl. She chimed in to give her opinion (which was: anything that helps people is fine by her) and twenty minutes later, we were having coffee in the little cafe in the library. We exchanged info so maybe we’ll go out some time.

So it turns out that libraries are pretty cool.