Wrapped Up In Books

Library observations.

I’m currently sitting in the Queen Mother Library at my school. During the year (non-exam time) it’s easy to find a spot where I can sit and plug in my MacBook, but not lately. Today I literally found the one available seat on the second floor, and I’m sitting at a table with three Chinese guys; while one has a management textbook, another has an investment and finance text, and the guy right beside me is having a nap, they all have a laptop in front of them. None of them have blinked in awhile either.

There’s a crunchy-looking guy in the table in front of mine with a huge dagger tattoo on his forearm and his silver watch covers the tip of its blade. The girl sitting beside him has an amazing bob haircut and fresh-looking skin; she’s writing furiously. Two girls beyond them are wearing matching grey sweaters (jumpers, whatever), with their hair swept over opposite shoulders; one mousey-blonde, the other looking a lot more California than dreary Scotland.

There’s a chavy looking guy a few tables on the other side of the wall, wearing Adidas everything. One table is abandoned save for piles of textbooks and water bottles on each of the four desks.

Even though this is a very crammed library, there’s no feeling of desperation or helplessness like there was in Robarts Library during exam time. I never spent a proper all-nighter there, but when I lived on Bloor Street (shudder), I came quite close. I stayed until around 4am one night and it was one of the worst study experiences of my life. Each table was littered with Starbucks cups (my own not excluded – those were the days of my Cafe Americano – black), and on occasion a cell phone (because we call them that in Canada!) would frantically beep to wake its owner back into the fluorescent glow of Robartsian reading room reality; haggard red carpets, weird artwork I never really understood, and the random coughs and sneezes that seemed to come from every direction.

(The guy next to me has traded sitting up while sleeping for slumped across the desk.)

Time to get back to work.

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