Library Meditations, 8am

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11/18/2014

Neighborhood: Manhattan, Uncategorized, West Village

Library Meditations, 8am
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Most mornings are like this: you are walking alone, very underdressed for the harsh whip of winter (sorry Mom), multiple book bags in hand, and struggling. You are out when the shop owners dump buckets of soapy water onto the street, to wash away dog piss. You are out when the bums are still too tired to beg or to catcall. You have made friends with the garbage men and bagel makers, who must wonder where you go every morning; why on Earth you are not still in bed like everyone else is your age. And it’s a good question. For you though, the morning struggle is completely voluntary, a struggle that in some sick way gives you joy. The utter bliss of your approaching destination, your sanctuary: Elmer Holmes Bobst library on a Sunday morning at 8am, empty, and perfect.

Though you are constructed in theory like any normal post-adolescent, there is something in you that craves the morning, unlike your sunlight-fearing, nocturnal comrades, whose faces are illuminated by phosphorescent screens late into the night. It is as if you are in different countries, six hours apart. But this life, although to you a comfortable if not obsessive daily routine, is not conducive to a successful college social life.

For example, parties.

College Parties, to you, may be man’s worst torture. And for you who cannot despite all trials of self-inflicted behavioral modification therapy, arrive “fashionably late” to a party because of a pulsating internal drive to being early, it is especially awkward. Take last weekend, for instance, where you were invited to a friend’s twenty-first birthday party on West Houston that was supposed to start at 9:30PM, and even with a concentrated effort to be late, (several pained walks up and down the avenue) you still managed to arrive at 9:15PM.

Also, roommates.

Have you ever imagined the fear that your roommate has when she sees you tucked into bed, complete with sleep mask on face and Pillow Pet under arm (Dino the Dinosaur) at 8:00PM every night? Is this unheard of? Does her grandmother even stay up later at night than you do? And is your roommate even more disturbed when she hears you rustle out of your sheets at 5:15AM, weekday or weekend? You try to go to bed later and wake up later, because the cafés don’t even open till 8:30AM on a Sunday anyway and because lots of things happen after 8:00PM, when you are ignoring the after-hours social world and off to dreamland.

And finally, food.

You can’t imagine why anyone on Earth would walk into a restaurant at 12:00PM for lunch. The thought of waiting in a line for you is like being a pig on a slaughterhouse conveyor belt. This is why you are the first customer at every café (only two, you know that are open at 7AM). You are there when the new staff is getting trained, when the chairs are still inverted on the tabletops, when the morning staff is cleaning and prepping. And most of the time, whatever breakfast item you want is not ready yet, so you settle, frustrated, on whatever’s convenient.

But despite all of these struggles, you doubt you will ever change. This is the way you are, and this is the way you must be. You without your mornings of pink-dusted clouds, you without your silent meditations, are incomplete yous. New York City is different in the morning, filled with serenity, and you pity those that have never woken up with the sun, those that are prone only to darkness.

Today, you are sitting in the library in perfect bliss, with perhaps one or two studious souls around you. These people understand you. And you think, maybe you are not so different from everyone else. Maybe time is relative, and the important thing is not when you spend it, but how.

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