Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Musing in the Library

I'm sitting before an ancient pc in the school library, chin in hand. My contacts feel like out sized jagged-edged saucers glued to my eyeballs. Every blink is individually annoying. I have been in this chair for three hours painstakingly working through my latest Microsoft Access tutorial and homework. The lessons are based on the continuing saga of "Oren" and his extremely important work at the "Belmont Corporation".

I am irresistibly drawn, at all too regular intervals, to stare out a nearby floor to ceiling plate glass window. It's nice, really. The library is two stories up and traffic rushes ceaselessly by on the highway below. I arrived at my computer station amidst slanting late afternoon sun. Now, night has fallen, dark enough that all drivers have seen fit to turn on their headlights.

I consider heaving my huge computer monitor through the window. Imagine clumsily picking the thing up, ripping it from its tether and staggering over to the window with it. Imagine the feeling of satisfaction I'd experience as "Oren" exploded into a million pieces on the sidewalk below. Imagine the shocked, confused looks I'd get from the library monitors one of whom, young Brian, had earlier cheerfully helped me locate the awkwardly placed jump drive receptacle on the PC I was using. Imagine Brian's quote beneath tomorrow's headline WOMAN GOES ON LIBRARY RAMPAGE:

"She seemed perfectly normal when she came in except for she was, you know, sort of older."

I further distract myself by looking around the library. Like laundromats, college libraries have changed. The actual "books" section, for they cannot be called "stacks" by any stretch of the imagination, take up less than a fourth of the total square footage. The library mostly consists of computer stations and huge open spaces for quiet study.

I remember going to a different college library with my mom as a child, remember the positively breathtaking number of books and stacks so vast that one had to take an elevator from one section to another. Remember the cozy feeling I had in the tiny aisles and how I could, standing still, touch books on either side even with my narrow reach. The thrilling feeling that one could hide forever in one dark corner or another of such a labyrinth and never be found and, best of all, never be bored with a million books on hand to read on every possible subject.

I force myself back at the computer monitor. Yep, there it is. Still.

Subscript out of range

The error message currently making my life a living hell. It's the same no matter how many times I try to import the table. (And we won't discuss how many times I made the attempt.) Always? The subscript is out of range. With a sigh, I compose a quick message to my professor and send that portion of the assignment as is. Then, with superhuman effort, I successfully focus on and complete the other two sections of the assignment and submit them.

In the end? Oren is likely never going to find himself hurtling out the library window.

But he will have to kiss my ass.

1 comment:

Bruce Wayne Gardner said...

To actually use Access and NOT heave a computer, or someone named Brian, out the nearest window takes more patience than I have.

Had to use the %&$(*$&$(# POS Microsoft (sorry, redundancy) for a job once. Drove me to drink.

Well, at least drink more.