Friday, July 25, 2008

I miss the AQR

Since when did it become appropriate to have a full on conversation in the library? And on one’s cell phone no less? More troubling is the advent of the library meal. The person at the table next to mine is eating some sort of wrap, and not discreetly. The foil wrapper is splashed across the desk and she’s slurping on a soda. And there’s a librarian not two feet from her who hasn’t made a comment. It’s not just here, but at various libraries I’ve visited recently, where library dining is really taking off. Have we said goodbye the days of furtive library eating? When did it become socially acceptable to eat without hiding when among books and computers and people at work?

Admittedly, I found the covered container exception a bit progressive when I first heard about it. Drinks and books? It seemed like a recipe for disaster. But then it’s not really about books anymore. They’re secondary. Studying and playing around on the internet seem to come first. As I sit here sipping my coffee, I wonder, “will I ever get used to, or even adopt the library meal?”

I’ve taken advantage of the not-at-all-secret library meal exactly once. My study partner suggested we get lunch, by which I thought she meant we’d gulp down some food and return to our books, hoping there wasn’t a hot market for stolen wills and trusts casebooks. When we got our sandwiches, she said, “ready to head back?” “Where to?” “To the library. We can eat lunch and work.” I was incredulous. “Out in the open?” “Yes, I do it all the time.” Clutching my sandwich and fries, I felt sheepish entering the library, bastion of books that one likes to think are free from greasy fingerprints. I thought I’ve have to sneak my lunch by the guard, but no, I was able to walk in, foil-covered plate in full view, and no one stopped me. It was a good lunch, and certainly productive. And yet I felt judgmental about my lunch, and not in a good way. It felt wrong to flaunt my meal in front of everyone. So I’m saying no to not-at-all-secret eating in the library. Sure, I’ll continue to indulge in the occasional silent library snack hidden from plain view, and there will be moments when I wonder if it was a wise decision to leave my stuff unattended for an hour, but for my main meal I’ll exit the library. I guess I'm just old-fashioned that way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Viva la library burrito :) Would you approve of the the addition of a 'silent snack' to the list of approved items for the CA bar exam?

11:12 AM  
Blogger erica said...

I'm tottaly in favor of a silent snack petition!

4:36 AM  

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