The Dang Cleaners

I am sitting in my favorite library. I love books, and while I do use my Kindle, I love to see them in the near distance. I love the smell and the touch of books, old and new, and set my sights on this venerable old building as often as I can. It is my place of pleasure and respite.

I can spend hours reading. Sometimes it is the same book and sometimes I rotate. I spend probably more hours in a day doing this than anything else. That includes texting, emails, messages, and the like. Thus, it is my special time and I hate interruptions such as a fire drill or library closure time. You can always find me in a carrel way back in the farthest stacks seeking refuge in a favorite tome.

Imagination my chagrin one day when the housekeeping crew came in early to do their “housecleaning” tasks. The dang cleaners! While I know it is vital to keep my surroundings spick and span, it is annoying to hear the roar of the vacuum for minutes on end. It is overwhelming to my delicate sense of hearing. Five minutes seems like an eternity when that infernal noise is in the air. I can’t concentrate or even daydream. As for a nap, forget it! (There are a few tired souls who manage to sleep through anything!)

So this particular evening, I went up to the two cleaners nearest my desk and begged for mercy. Alas, no one spoke English. I started gesturing and making odd movements like I was playing charades. I said, “Vroom vroom no!” at least a dozen times. I think they wanted to send me to the nearest asylum, and they would probably be right. I was in quite a state at this point.

I finally found the culprit yielding the oversized metal gobbling machine and yanked the cord from the wall. The looks I got could kill. I plugged it back in with a sheepish grin on my face. After all, they were just doing their jobs. Who could deny them access a few minutes before closing so they could get home early—just this one time? It makes me wonder though, why the library couldn’t just get some robotic vacuum cleaners to do the task in the early hours of the morning when no one is around?

I acquiesced although my evening was ruined and I had to return my Kindle to my backpack to my dismay. I would have to read at home tonight. The noise level there was far beyond the library, vacuum or not. People screaming, kids laughing, TVs blaring, dogs barking… you name it, you could hear it. Living in urban density has its limitations. The only great thing about my apartment is its close proximity to the library!

So the next visit I expect will be back to normal and the vacuum voyeur will be all but forgotten, at least until next time. I can resume my routine, creature of habit that I am. Who isn’t? In spite of interruptions, the library is still the best place in town for solitary solace and a good read. Join me sometime.