Going down hard/the aging of the boomers: Part Five – The Valley is Wider Now
I stop at a gas station to fill up and ask the young pump jockey if he knows where the library is in Glendale. “…The what?” (Uh-oh, I smell trouble a brewin’ partner). I smile that patient old geezer smile and asked again slowly. He tops off my tank. “You mean the place with books and things?” I nodded continuing the smile. He looked around as if it might magically appear in front of us. After that failed to happen he came clean. “Shit dude, I don’t know. I’ve never been there.” I pay and leave thinking that the young man is really missing out.
Who could go through their life without the singular pleasure of walking into a public library and soaking in the atmosphere of thousands of different colors, shapes and sizes of books and that unmistakable aroma that accompanies the silence and serenity of the place?
Then I wake up. What the fuck am I thinking? Who in the hell under the age of forty would even bother to go to a library, or for that matter, even knows that they exist? When you want some information it’s on the internet. You don’t even have to go anywhere. You can just sit in your apartment with the TV blaring away while you search the net for…for what?
The latest sports stats? Another recipe for tomato sauce? Maybe you need a great deal on a hotel room in Lapland?
I don’t think that I could have gotten by in life without books around me. Sure, your Kindle has the capacity to store hundreds of books but where are they? They don’t line the walls of your home to offer your eyes the pleasure of gazing at their richness. They don’t jump out at you as you walk by them, one screaming “…take me to your room and read me right now!”
Nope, there is more separating the generations than age this time around. The gap is much wider because we have moved so quickly away from time-honored traditions. We stand on the cliff above the valley and yell across the canyon but we can’t be heard. The valley is now too wide.
Oh well, I think I’ll trundle down to the neighborhood library and just hang out. You know, the place where they have “…books and things.”
(Art Johnson / Monaco - Copyright 2014)