I've realized that over the course of the past two years the major tenets of journalism -- the superiority complex that happens when you write on deadline and write like a boss, the cycle of procrastination and the inevitable denial of being in said cycle, and the general nosiness, nay, delicate stalker-like abilities -- have really taken root. I had another paper for my Modern Design class to write the weekend Alice visited. I surprised myself by actually going to the library on the Friday prior and getting books (and reading them!) and checking them out to review again. Then I went par for the course and waited until the day the paper was due to actually write it. Noon struck and I had a little less than five hours to write 1,500 words. It was then that I read the references on Wikipedia for my chosen topic and realized there was a book I desperately needed to make my paper sing. Of course the book was in the not-close-by library.
Four hours to write a paper?
I stormed out of Metrogate and headed to the tube station with the agility of a lemur and the speed of Usain Bolt. (Are lemurs even agile? They are the first animal I thought of when composing my anthropomorphic analogy.)
As soon as I got to the right stop, I busted out of that station as if I were George Costanza and the place was about to burn to the ground.
What's that, random survey guy seeking opinions? Sorry, I'm on deadline.
Oh, you're trying to ride your scooter down the crowded sidewalk, small child? Out of my way -- I'm on a mission.
Once I got to the library (which was even FARTHER than I thought), I stepped inside only to be unprepared for the amount of technology that would greet me. Do you remember that scene in the Brave Little Toaster where all the old appliances are being bullied by the creepy new ones?
I am the vacuum cleaner in this situation.
I found the book I needed in less than a minute. Of course, the book that I needed was a large, child's-size book that featured a cartoonish depiction of the Underground station on the cover. I expected it to say "Mind the Gap" when I turned the page. This will be fun to carry on the tube.
One thing I noticed was the absence of a check-out counter. After scanning the room I remembered the hi-tech kiosks at the front. They looked like a body scanner for books with a touch screen attached. I followed the instructions and scanned my library bar code, slid my book into the blue-lit book scanner, then watched in awe as everything was done instantly and a receipt printed with not only the book I just checked out, but the other two as well that I checked out from a different library.
Modern wonders pushed to the back of my mind, I bounded out the door and down the steps and back to my room in record time, punched out the paper in record time, and printed downstairs in the dungeon in, well, normal time.
Fast forward two weeks later.
I decided to take all of the books I had on loan back to the Jetsons' library. Back inside, I found that I was to return my books via conveyor belt that pauses for one second to scan the book and plop it into the bin on the other side. When I got there, one lady was in line returning books. She was flipping through them to make sure she didn't leave any notes or papers inside, which is fine. She finishes and I step up and do the same thing. I only had three books to return, including the Golden Books version of the London Underground, so not a big deal. I do the same thing, quickly flip through the pages just to double check.
And then, I heard a voice.
"You should've done that at home."
What just happened.
I continue to flip through my last book just because. "I just wanted to double check," I said over my shoulder to clearly one of the original residents of Chelsea.
"Exactly," she replied, rolling her eyes.
Lady, where exactly do you need to be in such a hurry? It wasn't like I was turning each individual page of "War and Peace." Geez.
As I huffed angrily back to the tube station, I was getting annoyed at everything and everyone that got in my way. Groups of people standing around talking. Moms walking their kids back from school. Couples holding hands who refused to break their death grip, forcing me and others to walk around them. Then an older man, already walking slowly, stopped and bent down right in front of me.
He was picking up a £20 note just hanging out on the sidewalk. AKA $32.
Serves me right.