Columns

2009.03.18 The library needs you

on . Posted in Midnight Musings

By COLLEEN LEDDY

On this past Sunday, beautiful and sunny, David and I set out on a walk to the high school track. Before we had gone one block, I probably mentioned five things that were problematic for me.

“Dang, my eyes are watering,” I said.

I hadn’t worn my glasses because my 51-year-old eyes aren’t that bad. But I’ve noticed lately that I need to wear them most of the time rather than just when I’m reading or working at the computer.

This state of eyeball failure is actually easier on me—I don’t lose my glasses anywhere near as much as I used to, which was pretty much all the time. Even though my glasses were fitted with progressive lenses, at first, I really only needed them for close-up tasks.

Now, as my eyes are getting progressively worse (Hmm, is that how progressive lenses got named?), I find that food looks better on my plate, I look decidedly worse (and much older) in the mirror, and my eyes don’t irritate me when I wear them most of the time.

In short, I must be getting blinder. Still, I don’t really like wearing glasses outdoors, except for when I’m riding my bike—they prevent the wind from blowing in my eyes. But sunglasses do the same thing.

“I should have worn my sunglasses,” I said to David and would have turned back, but that would have meant prolonging the agony that was to ensue—two miles around the track with 10 extra pounds on my carcass.

“Oh, now my nose is running,” I complained as I fished in my pocket for tissues.

We hadn’t even made it past Adam and Gail Johnson’s house and I was honking away, worried that my tissue supply wasn’t going to make it—runny nose compounded by tearing eyes would surely tax my 11-tissue stash.

Along about Patti Collar’s house my zipper got stuck (different coat, same color). I moaned and groaned until we reached East Street and I worked the kink out.

“It’s not just driving,” David said.

“What?” I had no idea what he was talking about. What did driving have to do with my zipper?

“It’s not just driving,” he said again.

“What’s not just driving?” What was he driving at? Was he having a stroke?

“It’s your life,” he said. “You have a special needs life.”

I laughed, but it is so true.

The night before, as I sat at the computer, he brought me a plate I had left on the kitchen table with two potato chips I wasn’t going to eat.

“Here you go,” he said. “Finish up.”

“Oh, I’m not going to eat those,” I said. “That one is too brown and this one is folded over and weird looking.”

He shook his head and took the plate away. I suspect he ate them in private—he doesn’t want to be tempted by pure junk food of no redeeming value, but he wants it just the same.

The next evening I poured a bunch of potato chips on my plate, a prelude to making pickle and potato chip sandwiches—the quintessential nostalgic snack of my childhood.

“Oh, you can’t eat that one!” David said pointing to a particularly funkily shaped chip. “It’s wrinkled!” And he plucked it from my plate.

It’s kind of like Woody Hayes, who, while battling diabetes, could proudly say he didn’t eat dessert because he didn’t order any in restaurants—he just ate it off of his players’ plates.

But none of this has anything to do with what I really set out to talk about...the Living Library.

Surely, you have read about the Living Library here in the Observer (the Books are people who represent stereotypes and Readers check out the Books for half an hour of conversation). Or maybe you’ve been accosted by me to be a Book or begged to come and be a Reader. If not, look out—because I’m really worried.

I’m worried my Books will Bail and my Readers won’t Respond and the Living Library will be a Big Bust.

Which is too bad because the Living Library concept is just so unique and noble—to promote understanding and tolerance through dialogue.

So, I am flat out begging you to come to Stair Public Library Saturday, March 28, some time between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to check out a Book—or heck, just come and check it out.

Yup, David’s right. I do lead a needy life.

And I need you, Reader.

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