I hate running actual adult errands, so I always try to add something fun onto such an errand which usually ends up making things way too complicated and time-consuming, so that such outings end with both children resembling puddles of whining goo and much worse off than if I had just been able to stomach the original errand. So it’s unsurprising that today I tried to kill 5 birds with one pre-nap stone: moving the car for alternate side parking (one of my main hobbies), getting our NYS inspection done at my beloved scuzzy mechanics which is in Sunset Park (“Brooklyn’s Chinatown”), and so while there OBVIOUSLY we had to follow my friend Sarah’s inspired banh mi recommendation and then OBVIOUSLY visit the local library branch to return books (we like to spread books all over the library system, from one branch to another, like bees bringing pollen to other bees who then have to bus the books back to…wait, I lost my metaphor there) and get more. “Cheese?” Harper said hopefully on the way there, referring to a Charlie and Lola book she’s been hankering after. “We can check,” I told her but here is a secret: I was pretty sure they wouldn’t have it.
I found the Sunset Park library branch to be very charming and not as noisy with school kids on computers as I’ve found Cortelyou and Windsor Terrace to be (but maybe that’s because it’s like, duh, summer?) and we very much enjoyed their little children’s section which featured Harper’s favorite library amenity, tiny tables and chairs, and mine, shelves that seemed to be actually alphabetized. I know! Fancy!
I am really in love with my public libraries these days, and even feeling unresentful that our local branch has been closed for TWO YEARS for what must be the world’s most outstanding renovations of all times (seriously, after two years this library better spritz me with the Fountain of Youth every time I enter it, or something), because it has made us explore our options. How amazing, to have all these free, air-conditioned (!) places, each with its own particular neighborhoody flavor, to take one’s children and gather up as many free books as you can carry? Harper loves the concept of checking out the books, though she did ask me if I’d “already paid” before we left.
What I love most is how excited she gets about having a new load of books, bouncing up and down and asking to see them. And me too — Mama is not just now learning about language and therefore gets tired of reading the same crap over and over. Harper picked out some board books for Alton, waving them dangerously close to his sleeping face and yelling, “These are for you, baby!” And then guess what we found? “Say Cheese,” the Charlie and Lola book she was looking for! I wish I had a video of her expression when she saw it, to play over and over anytime I am ever sad — pure unadulterated joy.
Of course, Brooklyn’s public library system is in some financial dire straits, so in case you are rich and reading this, send
me the library all your money please. My kids and I need somewhere to hang.