I’m just here for the books.

11 Oct

Happy Columbus Day, old man.

I walk to the MLK Jr. branch of the DC public library on Saturday to pick up a book I had on hold. It was a gorgeous day, so I was glad to invent a purpose for a four mile walk.

The city was kind of odd — despite the great weather, it was desserted in areas that are normally nuts on the weekend, and over-run with people in areas normally desserted. I suppose I could’ve solved that mystery earlier by picking up a copy of the Washington Post, and realizing a) It was Columbus Day weekend, so many locals were traveling, and b) It was Columbus Day weekend, so Taste of DC was luring people downtown on the weekend.

In any case, I was caught off guard when I approached the library, and saw a virtual party in motion. Lining the street in front of it was a MetroBus with representatives handing out literature about the bus schedule, and a Whitman Walker van providing free HIV testing.

On my way into the library, I passed Mayor  Vincent Gray, glad-handing with a few fans while his bodyguard looked on. (At least, I assume that was his bodyguard. Or his especially thuggish looking cousin. You never know in DC.)

This dog belongs in a library.

Inside the library, the trip continued. A live gospel/jazz band was playing (on Volume 12!) while 50+ people (mostly senior citizens wearing shirts made of Old Glory) looked on, clapping and bobbing. I threaded by way through the crowd to retrieve my book from the Holds shelf.

I got distracted in the Popular Collections room, browsing CDs while tapping my toes to the band’s version of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” but apparently not as distracted as the woman who had walked her two DOGS into the library and somehow lost the leash of the massive Golden Retriever. I looked up just in time to see it sprint out of Popular Collections, into the main foyer and across the stage where the Jazz Band was performing.

I can’t really get on the owner for being slow to the draw, because when I went to check out my book, I asked the clerk what the occasion was. “Is this a Columbus Day festival?” I asked.

He looked at me with some degree of incredulity before scanning the crowd, which — as I followed his eyes, I realized — was made up primarily of people sporting wheelchairs, canes or walkers.

“This is in celebration of Americans with Disabilities,” he told me.

And suddenly, it all made sense — the extra-loud music, the free medical tests, the dogs in a library, the flag-themed clothing.

As someone wearing a tank top and sporting a yoga mat strapped to me, I felt especially foolish for having trotted through the crowd. Next time? I’m going to take advantage of that free vision test.

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4 Responses to “I’m just here for the books.”

  1. skippingstones October 11, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Haha! I’m just like that. You could have all new furniture or haircut, a new car, whatever, and it might be weeks before I notice. But you move the stapler an inch and I’m all over that.

  2. thesinglecell October 11, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    HA! Awkward… I guess I can’t make my “This Is Spinal Tap” joke about 11 being the highest volume now… Maybe next time you can just wear a helmet and pretend the yoga mat is padding in case you bump into things? (I’m going to hell.)

  3. An Observant Mind October 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    There’s nothing funnier to a reader than someone else making a social faux pas! Sorry about your humiliation and all, but I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

  4. Lorna's Voice October 12, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    I would think they would be quite tolerant of someone differently abled like you… 😉

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