Thursday, March 02, 2006

Momentarily from my hometown library.

Written on Buford Library's Computer Terminal #15.

Garage told me my car was fixed, so I headed down to my hometown of Buford to pick it up. After dealing with the rental place, I called my friend Vic, who was herself in sorta-nearby Gainesville, to see if she was available to hang out. I'm already sorta-nearby, I figured, so I thought I would see her. It's 6 p.m. now, and Vic said she'd be available after her nephew's concert if I was willing to wait.

I'm feeling nostalgic, because getting stuck here yesterday made me a little nostalgic, so I told her I'd stick around. Now I'm at the Buford Public Library, where I was shocked to find that my library card - gotten when I was probably 9, renewed last when I was likely 16 - had expired.

I still had it in my wallet, even though I no longer live here. The card was faded to the point where you couldn't see the barcode at all. The librarian on duty just threw it away and got me a new card. I didn't protest. It makes me feel like part of me is still welcome here if my library card's active, which I was surprised that it wasn't. (I think I'm technically still a member of Buford First Baptist, too, even though I've not set foot inside there since they changed buildings maybe eight years ago. And I still am registered to vote here.)

I don't change these things, maybe even though I should, because I don't really use the library, anyway, and can make it down here on Election Day to vote. My church membership may still be in effect because I don't think the Baptists give up on you, strike your name off the list or send your official membership anywhere, even if you're an acknowledged non-believer. (They're stubborn like that. Frankly, so am I.)

Storytime's going on in this library. The librarian's reading THE CAT IN THE HAT in Spanish. With a high-pitched squeal, she's making the talking goldfish from the book sound like Elmo as he berates the "gato."

I remember when this building opened. I was in middle school. Prior to this stand-alone library, the Buford library actually shared a building with Fire Station #14, which always confused me. During storytime at that old library, the librarian would stop reading the book everytime the sirens roared next door.

The insisted-upon silence on one side of the building, the roaring alarms and men in suspenders sliding down poles on the other side - it made for an amusing irony.

The new building, when it opened, seemed massive. But now, having seen other libraries, grander libraries, I realize that the Buford Library is still really, really small.

Buford was a quirky small town during my childhood. It felt then like I was growing up in a slightly less interesting version of Mayberry.

It's a quirky, bigger town now, like Mayberry with a mall.

Part of me is happy I left. Part of me will never leave. Part of me hates it. Part of me loves it.

So I let the librarian renew my library card. I felt like belonging here again.

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