Sunday, January 08, 2017

Freeze and Thank You

I thought the library was supposed to be quiet.

I went to the Bay Ridge Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on Friday in search of some heat. Not in the form of racy novels, mind you, but real heat, as in the hot air that keeps you from freezing your ass off.

The heat in my building had gone belly up the night before and since I work from home, my office was getting chillier by the moment.

The repair guy got it running for a short time early Friday morning and I made the mistake of celebrating too soon, thus encouraging Fate, Karma, or whoever the hell controls the eternal thermostat to snort and shout “that’s what you think, skinhead!” before promptly shutting the boiler down again.

No problem, I told myself. I’ll just grab my laptop, skedaddle over to the neighborhood reading room and do my job on the fly.

Hell, I’ve written stories in airport terminals and hotel lobbies and conducted phone interviews in speeding taxies. The library is also where I developed my reading habit as a child, so this gig would be a bit of a homecoming.

Okay, well, it didn’t quite work out that way. First of all, the place was crowded and I had trouble getting a seat. Then there was a small army of toddlers running, screaming, and crying in all directions.

And on top of that there was a lady conducting an English conversation group for them what don’t know how to talk right.

But I accepted all that, particularly in light of that fact that I was feeling actual warmth. I knew I could handle the noise.

However the real problem was with my laptop, and more specifically…me. I had trouble getting into my company email account, which meant I couldn’t communicate with my editors or file my stories.

It’s the Latest, It’s the Greatest

You have signed out, the message on my screen read.

"No, shmuck, I didn’t sign out," I growled at the inanimate object.

True to form, my mind started churning out all these awful scenarios of missing deadline and getting in trouble. And then some little kid went completely over the wall and start screaming to hell and back.

This must’ve been the first time in my life that I ever wanted to be in an office.

I began cursing at my laptop, a habit I picked up from my Italian grandmother who used to tell the TV to shut up whenever it got on her nerves.

Finally I’d had enough. I was undoubtedly annoying people around me by adding to the noise level, so I slammed down the lid on my laptop and hightailed it back my igloo.

On the way home I grumbled about how unfair it all was and I reminded myself that the New Year wasn’t a week old yet and already I was giving the anger management resolution a hernia.

Anger really has become a habit with me and I could hear myself fuming about how awful everything was knowing full well that I really wasn’t as pissed as I sounded.

It was like I was playing a part rather than reacting with my true feelings.

My ongoing dread of technology is part of the problem, but only a small part. It’s this addiction to rage that I want to quell.

Anyway, I got to my apartment, kept on the sweater and the ski hat and got cranking on my stories.

The heat came back on at about 3:30pm and it stayed on this time, which is good as we had a snowstorm on Saturday and brutally freezing temperatures tonight.

And now I’m thinking of a homeless I see most mornings when I go to the gym who sleeps at the base of a street lamp at Broadway and Vesey Street.

He’s huddled under some rags with only a piece of cardboard separating him from the freezing concrete. I’m sure he’d be very happy to have a roof over his head, with or without the heat.

If I see him on Tuesday, I’ll be sure to say a prayer and put a dollar in his cup.


Ron said...

Rob, as always, I so love how you conclude your posts with a reflection; allowing us to think and feel. Great ending!

"I began cursing at my laptop, a habit I picked up from my Italian grandmother who used to tell the TV to shut up whenever it got on her nerves. "

OMG, that made me laugh out loud because I curse at things as well. And I also had a grandmother that did the same thing! It's was my father's mother.

Glad to hear you got your heat turned back on. Yes, it's been very cold here as well. In fact, tonight it's going down to 12 degrees. We also got a ton of snow this weekend.

Have a great week, buddy. Stay warm!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, what's going on?

Our Italian grandmothers certainly were characters, weren't they? I caught myself telling the TV to shut up the other day--and the remote was just a few inches from my hand!

I did want to end the post with a reminder of just how lucky I am to have a roof over me head. A lack of heat pales in comparison with what that poor guy has to suffer through every day.

Have a great week, buddy, and remember to bundle up!

Bijoux said...

I have had similar experiences at the library. Once, a man sat near me and started sniffing loudly . . . Literally every ten seconds. I know because I started timing him. I've also heard the English tutoring thing. Makes it awfully hard to read, at the LIBRARY!

Glad you finally got warmth and I wish you a good week!

Rob K said...

Oy, Bijoux, when you start timing them you know it's really bad. Maybe it's my imagination, but when I was growing up the library was as quiet as a church.

Take care!