Libraries and performing arts venues are keeping up with the times. The underscored symphonies of sound are so similar:
… The crumpling of candy or food wrappings.
… The crinkling and crackling of plastic drinking bottles.
… The sloshing of liquid and tinkling of ice in cups.
… The smell of a Subway meatball sandwich.
… The crunching of chips.
… The sound of slurping liquid l through straws.
I’ve grown begrudgingly familiar with “munch-companiment” during musicals or plays, cheapening the atmosphere to that of sitting in a crowded movie theater with the live audio action of grazing.
The romance is vanishing.
I was not expecting the library to be so similar.
I suppose performing arts facilities have altered their atmospheres by offering food-concessions to round out budgets, but I will forever battle acceptance of the food and drinks noise during a live performance: it’s rude to the performers and I pay admission to hear “noise” from the stage, not food noise from those sharing the experience with me in the audience.
A candy wrapper is one thing.
A bored teen dragged to a musical, annoyingly twisting his empty plastic water bottle is another.
With so many resources available through the internet I rarely need to physically be in a library. However, writing from home is torture because of the physical distractions: animals, or “Oh, maybe I should clean the refrigerator…” or “a nap sounds great.”
Technology and changing needs of citizenry have forever changed the quiet and studious library settings with which I’ve been accustomed for nearly 50 years. It was only this Wednesday that I finally visited the newly renovated library on my block. It’s beautiful and inviting. Yet, it feels as lonely and as empty as the Woodland Cemetery mausoleums I love to photograph. My neighborhood library is merely a technology center. I loved seeing it filled with people and seemingly busy but it felt so foreign, so empty of romance: books.
I can work through a plethora of non-home distractions; I think being a music major rehearsing and studying in a cul-de-sac of music practice rooms cultivated my ability to focus amid extemporaneous noise.
However, I need a place to create away from my home teaching-studio. I thought a coffee shop or a library would work.
So far, Ghost Light Coffee House has been a sure bet but I hate being THAT customer who sits working for 4-5 hours and not purchasing something every hour for squatter’s rights.
I’ve always loved libraries.
I worked all four years of high school in the Carnegie styled Elwood Public Library I’d known my entire life.
I’ve always loved auditoriums.
I’ve lived in auditoriums as an audience member, musician, actor, director and producer…
I’m 53 years old and I do not wish to become that sour old man grumbling at the changing times while loudly bemoaning the loss of the familiar. Working from this library table still affords me work time and space that would typically be interrupted by animals and other attractions around The Haasienda despite the fact I could be at the Dayton Mall’s food court experiencing the same.
The table to the right of me: the Subway meatball subway sandwich smells wonderful. The table to the left of me: I want to taste those three small individual cartons of mint chocolate chip, raspberry and vanilla ice cream.
The library is inviting, even somewhat homey. And this (feelings of the changing times), too, shall pass.
I still love this eastward view of the autumn afternoon.