I am so tired. Even the coffee doesn’t help. I think I’m immune to it by now. Like the 'inconcievable' maniac with iocane powder on A Princess Bride. My body has learned to ignore it.
I stare at my computer. I try to get work done. It is too hard. All I want to do is lie down again. Outside the sun is shining, but I have liquid metal running through my veins. Down. Down. Downnnnnn…
“Hey, you wanna go to the library? I just feel like studying.”
That’s my husband. I’m ready for any kind of intervention.
“Yeah, we could go to the library and sit in the Great Reading Room and then go get coffee and sandwiches at Frothy Monkey. Doesn't that sound fun?”
I yawn. “Yeah.”
“I think you just need to get out of the apartment. Sometimes this place is just so small, you get cabin fever. I mean, I remember in the summers when I was little and I'd be stuck in the house, I’d get so bored. It’s really depressing. There’s just nothing to do.”
“But we just came home. I don’t understand it.”
“Come on, perk up. You just need to get out of the house.”
So I pack my backpack. Mr. Husband is super chipper today. He’s talkative, go-getter. I’m a zombie.
We drive through the sunny, crowded, downtown streets towards the library. I start to feel a little better. We park in the dark parking garage. The one I have nightmares about getting lost in after my first visit there where I literally drove around and around up and down the garage levels without finding any open exit. Freaky.
“You wanna go to Frothy Monkey now? I’d like to have a drink before we study,” I say.
“Sure! You wanna walk?”
So we walk outside. It is one of those cloudy summer days, warm enough to be comfortable but not too hot. I’ve never really walked around this far down in downtown. There are people selling Contributors everywhere.
“Hey, let’s go in here.” James points me into the Arcade, an indoor mall/alleyway. “Oh man, this is so cool!” he says, pointing at the contemporary art museum upstairs.
Contemporary art stinks. Sounds like the most awful way to spend the afternoon ever.
“Oh man, look at all these restaurants!”
Looks like something out of the 70s. Ew. The grease.
“Hey, you want to go in here?”
“NOT SUSHI.” Ugh! “I’m not even hungry. We ate breakfast a couple hours ago!”
“Can we please go to Frothy Monkey?”
“Yeah, come on.” He turns around.
“No, not through the Arcade. That place is awful. So dingy and smelly and dirty.”
James sighs in a longsuffering kind of way. “I know what you mean. It’ll be longer going around though.”
“I don’t care.”
We walk back around. There’s an old man with a long beard sitting Indian-style on the sidewalk talking to himself and moaning.
I kinda feel like doing that myself.
There’s a monkey sign on the street. Frothy Monkey. Ooh ooh aah ahh. We go in.
“Do you want to get a couple Royales? They’re really good. Avocado, turkey…”
“Yeah, I know. I’ve had them before.” I look at the price. $8.50 apiece. “Let’s not get food, honey. It’s so expensive, and we just ate breakfast 2 hours ago. We can have leftover beans and rice when we get back to the house.”
“Okay.” James sighs.
I walk up to the counter. Saving money, saving money, saving money. “I’d like a coffee, the light roast, and a gunpowder green tea. Yeah, and one of those chocolate chip cookies.”
CHOCOLATE. I must have chocolate.
I am saved. Caffeine, in all its finest forms. Hallelujah.
“I’m going to the bathroom real quick. Let’s save the cookie for when we’re at the library, ok?”
“Yeah.” James sits down at the counter.
I go to the bathroom. I’m starting to feel better. It’s a nice day. The weather is beautiful. We’re going to the library. I wonder if I want to write or read about the Early Middle Ages? It’ll be nice to do book stuff in the Great Reading Room, with its silence and mahogany desk and lamps.
I come out. James has eaten half the cookie.
“James! We were going to save it.” I look at him with the Death Eye.
“I was hungry.”
We walk outside. “I don’t know why you can’t save it! It’s just like that story your mom tells about you stealing the last brownie when you were 10!”
“You know, you can be a pain in the butt sometimes. I've been trying to make you happy all day! You’re in a funk and you need to snap out of it! I feel like I’m married to a zombie!”
I feel like a zombie. I see two roads ahead of me, the pendulum swinging. Marital argument. Perk up. Marital argument. Sunny day. Marital argument. Library. Marital argument. Butterflies.
Butterflies. Definitely butterflies.
I laugh and grab James’s arm. “I’m sorry, honey. I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. I think I’m just tired from the road. Isn’t it funny, though, how marital arguments always have some story from childhood that you just throw in there for evidence?”
We are at the library doors.
NO DRINKS ALLOWED
“Oh no! Honey, look. The sign says no food or drink.” James points. “You’ll just have to drink them fast or throw them away.”
“No way!” I never drink drinks fast! “There’s no fun studying without drinks!”
“Well, what are you going to do?”
“Just watch me.”
I hear the theme from Mission Impossible in my head. I get my big furry oversized sweater out of the back seat of the car.
Oh yeah. Spy-time.
I get the drinks in the nook of my arm. I wad the furry sweater around them. I hold them to my stomach and act casual.
“That is so obvious honey.”
“No it isn’t! You just watch.”
We start walking to the doors. I’ve got my backpack with the entire ‘Daily Life in Medieval Times’, coffee table edition, inside along with my computer and 4 other books. I also have my purse with the cookie inside. And the two drinks wadded up in my furry sweater. I’m a pack-mule.
“Whoa, we gotta walk really slow or else these are going to slosh.”
Tip-toe. Tip-toe. Balance. Balance. This is such an adventure!
“Oh no. The escalators are broken. I guess we can’t go to the library.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha. James.”
We walk up the escalator. I hear a faint swishing coming from my stomach area. I’m gonna get coffee on my one red t-shirt. My favorite red t-shirt.
We walk into the library. GLORY. Marble floors. High ceilings. The grand staircase with statues on the landings. All the crabby librarians at their desks with nothing to do but watch for people sneaking in with drinks.
But that’s ok. I’ve got lots of experience from movie theaters. Nobody can tell me where I can or can’t have my tea!
I go up the stairs. I gotta go normal paced or else I’ll be suspicious.
Slosh. Slosh. Slosh.
Why can’t I have the same kind of balance that those women do in India who carry stuff on their heads?
Is that something wet on my leg? Oh man. It’s overflowing the cup.
We’re at the second landing. “Where is the Great Reading Room?”
“It’s still one more up. Are you doing ok?”
We go up one more flight of stairs. Slosh. Slosh. Slosh. The furry sweater is wet. My wrist is wet. Another drop of coffee lands on my knee.
We’re at the landing. There’s a ruckus coming from the Grand Reading Room. I look inside.
“Oh no! They’ve destroyed it!”
All the mahogany desks? Gone. All the lamps? Gone. All the ambience? Gone. Only vacuum cleaners and ugly carpeted chairs stacked up on one another.
“I guess we’ll just have to go to the main room.”
You mean to the place where everybody sits on library computers and homeless people sleep in the armchairs?
“No! There’s another place in the back. Come on.”
We go to the other place in the back.
NO FOOD OR DRINK ALLOWED
It’s pasted on the window. Inside are the people reading big books, with beautiful Easton Press library books in mahogany shelves all around them. There’s no place we could hide the drinks. It’s all beautifully open and uncluttered.
“Baby, come back here,” James whispers, beckoning to me. “Let’s sit in these two armchairs and you can put the drinks in-between.” He relieves me of my burden and carefully eases the bastions of liquid luxury onto the ground, without spilling them.
We sit down. Ahhhh. I get out my computer. I think I’m in the mood to write some. Ahhhh. I open my computer. I take a sip of wonderful light roast Frothy Monkey coffee. Ahhhh. It has hints of citrus and chocolate grown in the shade.
Why won’t my computer turn on? I bang the power button. Good grief! It’s dead? How can it be DEAD!
I look around for a power outlet.
THIS LIBRARY IS ANTIQUATED!!! Not only do they not take credit cards, but they don’t have outlets conveniently placed for everybody to plug their computers and phones and gadgets into! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT.
I have to move to a study table. Away from my green tea and coffee. I plug in my computer. What the heck. The outlet doesn't work!
“Excuse me?” I ask the librarians at the desk. “Why won’t the outlets work?”
“Oh sorry. Those are only temporary. So they aren’t plugged in. You could try the reading room.”
Oh yeah. That one with nowhere to hide my drinks. Great.
“Hey honey!” James whispers in a loud tone from across the room.
“Hey honey, I got your computer plugged in!”
James found an outlet by the table. He’s my hero!
“Oh thank you baby.”
He moves all of our stuff to the table. He creates a barricade with my fuzzy sweater and my backpack with the "Daily Life in Medieval Times", coffee table edition, in it and my Florentine leather purse and his computer bag. Then he puts my coffee and my tea behind it.
We sit down. He starts to do algebra. I start to write a short story.
Then we pretend like we’re hiding from the librarians and kiss behind the barricade.
And I officially graduate from the zombie funk and am happy because I’ve just had an adventure, my husband is wonderful, and we’re sneaking kisses like teenagers and talking about how we would have flunked college if we had known each other in college because we’d never have gotten any studying done.
“Oh man, honey,” James says. “Look. Those people have drinks. I guess it’s fine to have drinks in here after all.”