Friday, January 13, 2023

winter break

I took advantage of a day's break in the continuing onslaught of rainstorms to accomplish two far-flung errands: to visit the UC Berkeley library to do some research for the next Year's Work in Tolkien Studies, and to visit a distant and somewhat inaccessible public library to return an item I'd checked out from there also for Tolkien Studies research. This outing was made possible by my dentist having called to reschedule the appointment I'd had for the day. Otherwise I'd worked out an elaborate schedule combining these with the composers-in-music lecture in the City on Wednesday and the weekly grocery pickup on Friday.

The weather, fortunately, was fine, though the flooding might have had something to do with an accident on the freeway coming home, if indeed that's what caused the huge backup. I wasn't in a hurry so at first I thought I'd sit through it so at least I'd find out what was causing it, but eventually I gave up and took the exit to a parallel road. All the other people doing that were lined up to turn left on one particular road going back to the freeway, so I bet they had mapping services telling them where it ended. I didn't, so I went on, with much less traffic, to a cross-freeway further on.

In the library, I sat down to scan an article from a book only to find the scanner was broken: the scan preview only showed smudges. I had to use another scanner. Wait a minute, I thought. I'd had this same problem with this same scanner when I was here a year ago. And I reported it to the staff at the time. They haven't fixed it in all the interim? And then I remembered the time, years ago, that I reported that a stack move had rendered a location diagram on the wall inaccurate. In those days I was visiting the library every six months, and I reported it every six months for about five years before it got changed.

The day's other strange incident occurred in the elevator when I returned to the parking garage. The door opened. I walked in, pressed 5. Another man walked in, pressed no button, didn't ask me to press any. The elevator slowly proceeded up to the fifth floor. The door opened, I waited a second for the man to exit, he didn't, I exited. And only then did he say "Third floor, please," followed by "Oh" as he realized where he was and what had happened. Then the door closed and I know no more.

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