Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Not freezing to death

A terrifying, bitter cold, the likes of which has not been seen around here for 25 years, has descended from out of the Arctic, leaking from a broken jet stream, upon the Twin Cities. It is all any of us can talk about at the library today. Or maybe that's just me, and I am steering every conversation in that direction. It's so subtle you might not be able spot it in the following:

"Have you gotten the tax forms in yet?" Someone asks me.

"They say there could be windchills down to minus 55!" I answer with a fevered relish.

It was in the part where I mentioned "windchills".

Even though this plunging of temperatures fascinates me, a product of Southern California who never liked heat, and even though the upper Midwest is collectively losing its mind over it with every school closing, grocery stores shutting down, retail businesses shutting up, and even, astonishingly, the postal service suspending mail delivery, my library is completely nonplussed. Our hours are normal and unchanged. We more or less have a full house; a few old schoolers roaming the stacks looking for something to read, a handful of people reading or studying in comfy chairs and at tables, and the usual raft of humans populating the great banks of Internet computers in a way that never fails to evoke for me that image of warehoused bodies in The Matrix. 

Red pill, or blue pill?

The library is always just a little bit different than the rest of the world. We are like a little bubble of warm air in all the vastness of existence. Outside the world is closed down. The winds howl. Citizens shutter their doors. The end of all life has come. It is minus 22 degrees for hundreds of miles in every direction. Trees explode in the night. Stars shudder. And the temperature keeps dropping.

Minnesota has come down to two places for any person to be tonight and two places only. Home and the library. Red pill, blue pill. 

Nobody knows which is which. 

So take both.

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