Thursday, April 12, 2007

Walking In The Rain...

...has not always been one of my favorite things, although I will admit that it is not one of he worst things I have ever done. In fact my uncle used to love doing just that, or so he told me when I was a lad. Through a number of circumstances that were avoidable, but better not avoided, I wound up doing just that this morning.

I began the day by waking up much too early after working a late night shift last night. The reason for the early wake up was that the Ford Taurus was acting up and needed to go to the shop. Last time, before awakening, that I had looked outside was at about 1:ooAM, and it was overcast with the aroma of an imminent a spring rain in the air. This morning when I got up at about 7:30, it was pouring, and windy. Oh well, off to the Ford Dealer's Service Center. I was lucky that they were letting me bring it in today, having waited until the last minute to call them before my day off today. Yes this week I am working the weekend days, so today and tomorrow are my days off. The Taurus has been a pain lately, the service engine light coming on for a month or two, and my regular local mechanic unable to figure it out. Then in the last week it started stalling, so I figured maybe Ford could figure it better.

I dropped the car off and walked to the local Long Island Railroad Station, in Floral park, NY, through a downpour the likes I have not walked in in a long time. The wind had the rain coming down almost parallel to the ground at times, and my over sized umbrella did little good to keep my bottom half dry. Oh well, at least I had the umbrella that had been in the back of the Ford. usually I just tough it if out in the rain by putting on a cap and pulling my jacket collar tightly closed. As luck would have it, I had only a few minutes wait for the next train to Penn Station in New York City. I had a doctors appointment which I would have usually gone to right from work (I work in NYC), but today I had to trudge there from home. Normally I would have cancelled an appointment where my works days had been changed like this, but I recently missed and changed a few other appointments with the same doctor, so I figured I had best keep this one just to be courteous.

After about a half hour or 40 minute train ride, I was in midtown Manhattan. I walked from 34th Street and 7th Avenue north up Seventh Avenue. I stopped for a quick breakfast, then hit the pavement again looking for something to do until my appointment at 2PM. I had a few hours to kill, and walking in the rain for a few hours was not tops on my list. After a few minutes the thought hit me that I had not visited the main branch of the NY Public Library in years, so I headed up to 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. I figured the library would be a better place than most to spend some of my time today.

I have to tell you, the NY Public Library's main branch is an impressive institution. It covers at least one half of a city block from 5th Avenue toward Avenue of the Americas, and the whole city block between 41st and 42nd Streets. The architecture is pretty impressive, on both the outside and inside of the building. The ceilings inside are fabulously muraled and inletted and relieved with gilded scroll work and art work. The woodwork throughout the library is quite elegant and impressive. It is a nice place to walk around, inside or out (hopefully not in the pouring rain), while enjoying the building itself. There are also some exhibits on display that are worth seeing. One I stopped by was a display of Russian literary works, complete with marvelous illustrations. Another gave a history of the library itself. Of course, it is also a great place to come to relax and read a book or periodical, do research, do homework, use the Internet (yes they have quite a few PCs with free Internet access), and so forth.

Another thing you can do here, is sit down and type up a rant for your blog. There are few real distractions, maybe the pretty blond German lass (at least she is speaking German to her friend) sitting next to me is a bit of a distraction, but otherwise there are few. People are very reserved and quiet, as they should be in a library - something I do not often find in libraries on Long Island which are much more noisy than this one. This one though has the air of a real library about, none of those cheap plastic chairs and Formica table tops here, this is the real deal, so I guess people are more prone to act as they should act when here since the mood has been set by the decor of the place. In addition there are numerous security people, and librarians, whom I am pretty sure would tell you, politely, to quiet down if you got too loud, but I have not seen them need to do so in the more than one hour that I have been here.

Ah, there was one other slight distraction, but he just got up and left the PC on which he was surfing the Internet, which was at the table in front of me just off to my right. When I sat down, and looked around, I noticed he was watching porno movie clips, and I almost fell out of my chair. A young girl of about 12 years old (my guesstimate) was sitting directly next to me and he was right in front of her at the next table. Pretty disgusting, but guess that is the 1st Amendment at work, such are the protections under our Constitution as fought for by the likes of the American Civil Liberties Union. What a shame they at least do not have a separate area for such viewing away from where kids can see that stuff, but heck I guess they even allow kids to access it, I mean what would have prevented the child sitting next to me from going to that same site! Oh well, it is the only negative thing I have encountered here so far in my visit today.

Well maybe there is another negative, but that is subject in my view at this moment, because I only have 9 minutes of Internet access remaining. Once I got here, I had to apply for an Internet access card, free mind you, and I got it within about 5 minutes, with my photo on it and all. Then I went to the info desk where I registered for PC use, and got a number. I had to wait about 20 minutes, they got to use a PC for Internet access for 45 minutes. Yes I have been writing this for about 38 minutes already. Truth be told though, I guess that is a good deal - 45 minutes of free Internet access at a pop. Then I can sign up for another time slot if want. (My mistake, I found out later you can only get Internet access once a day at the library.) I just got a 6 minute warning window pop up on the screen, pretty considerate of the library to add that touch, so you know you may have to get finished soon and not lose work. I like it.

For now, I am going to finish up, I then will read a book for awhile; maybe Brahm Stoker's Snake's Pass.

All the best,
Glenn B