“When the going gets tough, the tough get a librarian.” 

Today is bleak and rainy. The sky hangs low. It will be chilly all day. Going out on a day like today is uninviting, but I need cat food and dog treats. Without dog treats, I put my life in jeopardy.

On Tuesday I put my first load of laundry into the washing machine. Later, when I went down the cellar to move the wash into the dryer, I could smell death, machinery death. I opened the washer. The clothes were soaked. They had been cleaned but not rinsed. My washing machine is currently dead. I consider it a sign. Yesterday, I brought my laundry to the laundromat to be washed, dried and folded. It should be finished today.

If you are keeping score, that is 2 down: first the TV and now the washing machine.

I don’t have an electric can opener. I once had one, but it died of old age; instead, I use what is described on E-Bay as a vintage, retro old-fashioned can opener. It is silver. It is a struggle to use. The dog food cans I open now have no tabs so I turn and turn that old can opener. It takes a while because of my dog eaten finger. I’m almost tempted to go electric.

When I was a kid, my father ranted sometimes over silly things like not washing out a glass. I learned to let him rant without answering him or giving the slightest grin. He was harmless and just needed to vent. Once in a while, though, my mother stood behind him and made faces. It took all of my self-control not to laugh. I think I bit my lip.

When I was a kid, our dog Duke was not allowed on furniture, but he was smart and sneaky. At night, he’d sleep on the couch but he’d jump off when he heard someone coming down the stairs. He’d lean across the beds with only his toes on the floor. When he was older, he roughed it and slept on the rug in my room. He snored.

We had to be quiet in the library. We got shushed if we even whispered. The librarian spoke so quietly I had to lean in to listen to her when we interacted which was usually at the desk when I was taking out books. One side of the library had easy chairs. That’s where the newspapers and magazines were. Mostly old people sat in the chairs. The papers rustled. On the other side of the library were wooden tables and chairs. Teens sat there at night. The library was a meeting spot. Parents didn’t object to going to the library on school nights. In the middle, across from the doors, was the desk. Behind the desk were the card catalogues. I loved going to the second floor to hunt for books. I’d stand at the rail and make like Ozmandias.

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