Friday #6

Go to the Library.

I’m embarrassed to say that I have lived in Nashville for one year and eight months and I have not, in all that time, gone to the Nashville Public Library. I have not signed up for a library card. I have not browsed the stacks. I have not checked out any titles. Until 2 Mondays ago.

Like any other Monday night, sometime between 5 and 6 pm, I started the drive home in packed traffic. I realized that the tail lights were starting to get me down. I sensed myself settling into suburban depression. I had never actually seen the library, but I knew that it was on my way home, a quick left off of my beaten path. That night, I jerked my car into the turning lane, breathing, “something has to change.”

I have been feeling under-stimulated lately. I have forgotten the names in my favorite Shakespeare plays. I stopped teaching myself German. I never even finished reading a book that Allie and I started reading together. I’ve started re-reading some of the books I own – Augustine, CS Lewis, Huxley – but none of them soothed the feeling that I was slipping slowly into the complacent mire of day-to-day life.

So I went to the library that Monday night. And I ran my hands over the spines of books, just like I used to when I was little. I walked through the stacks with my head tilted to the side for so long that I started to feel dizzy. I remembered that I used to dream of being a librarian. I signed up for a library card.

I left that night with a Shakespeare play on CD, a Jane Austen compilation, and a book of Aesop’s fables. And a VHS copy of “Home for the Holidays.” And copies of the free city and arts papers from the entryway.

As I walked to my car, I almost started to cry. I kept repeating over and over again, “I went to the library. I really went to the library!” I drove home listening to Much Ado About Nothing, wondering what took me so long. Wondering how I had thought it was okay to neglect a part of myself for so long.

Not only has my brain started to thaw, but that night, I looked through the papers looking for apartments. My lease is up at the end of November, and I want a new place. I found an amazing place, looked at it the following Saturday, and will be moving in on the 15th. It’s a great place at a great price in a great location. And I never would have found it if I hadn’t gone to the library.

So, I mean it. Go to the library. It can change your life.

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