Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Thought That's What Presidents' Day Was For!

Yesterday, I finally buckled and decided that I need to do that which I have resisted ever since moving to Chicago many years ago - I decided to get a library card.

I've been avoiding it because I have an irrational fear of "Big Brother" keeping track of everything I check out. Not that I have anything to hide from the government; if one were to look up my past library records, one would find nothing more subversive than a picture-book version of the Kama Sutra from when I was in middle school (I may still owe a late fee on that...). But that's neither here nor there. It's a principles thing. Anyway, I've decided recently that I need that library card because, frankly, I need access to their CD collections for a sound project I'm doing for my Comedy Writing, Level 5 show.

So I got home from work last night and I scrounged up any piece of information I had proving that I do in fact live in Chicago, and I even found my passport proving that I look like myself. I packed all of this information up in a bag and I bundled up and headed out into the snowy night.

Under other weather circumstances I would have had a nice ten minute stroll to the nearest Chicago Public Library branch. Last night, though, was an adventurous treck through arctic conditions. More than once, I had to dodge out of the way of a sliding car. I nearly slipped countless times on the inch-thick sheets of ice hidden beneath the freshly fallen snow on the sidewalks. Finally, I had to hitch a ride on the back of a polar bear for the last half-block.

Once we were out in front of the branch library, I dismounted the polar bear and tipped her a five for her troubles. As she trudged off into the wintery night, I turned around to find the library was closed.

Closed?! The website said they're open until 9:00! It's only 6:15! What the hell?

There was a little white piece of paper taped up onto the inside of the main door. "The Chicago Public Library will be closed February 12th in observance of Lincoln's Birthday."

The one day I pick out of two and a half years worth of living in Chicago and it has to be Lincoln's Birthday? I thought that was the whole point of Presidents' Day; to celebrate Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays in one fell swoop so that the rest of the world can get their library cards.

It's been a while since I was in gradeschool, which is the last time that Presidents' Day actually mattered (I'm sure it will again once I go to buy furniture at crazy discount prices), but I always thought Presidents' Day was on par with Flag Day as one of those holidays that we all collectively say are holidays but are actually just work days with little pictures in their calendar spaces.

Oh to be a Librarian. I'll bet they have President's Day (next Monday) off too, even though they've already celebrated Lincoln's half. I wonder if they only get a half day to account for just Washington or if they get the whole day off.

So I did the only thing that I could do: put a horrifying hex on the building. Damn you, Chicago Library. Damn you to hell. Also, do you guys have that picture book version of the Kama Sutra? Just curious.