Our parched earth finally got relief today, as a storm broke in late afternoon, with rolling thunder, lasting several hours.
Thursdays are normally quieter than the earlier in the week, but I can't remember the last time a Thursday was so quiet. It was my night to work, and I normally have all but one hour in the afternoon off the service desk.
The staff/freight elevator has been out of service for an overhaul for several weeks. Unable to move my Baker & Taylor leased books down to the loading dock for pickup, I spent time today packing more titles to return: last year's bestsellers by Janet Evanovich, Faye Kellerman, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, Nicholas Sparks, Dick Francis, John Sandford.
Something's changed. I feel it in my bones. I have never, in the past ten years, seen the second floor so quiet at this point in the school term.
Oh, it was busy enough earlier in the week. I just have a feeling that the novelty and the excitement of the Web is over. Use of our old-timey public access desktop PC's seems increasingly to be needed only by travelers, very poor adults and children, beginning computer users, and those who need printing facilities. People are equipping themselves with their affordable digital devices of choice, smart phones, netbooks, e-readers, portable music players and tablet computers. At closing tonight, only two or three users were left.
I'm reading Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray, full of black humor, about the miserable lives of students and teachers at a prestigious Catholic boys' preparatory school during Ireland's prosperous "Celtic Tiger" years in the last decade, before the Crash. I have points of connection, having attended a military school as a day student in the 8th and 9th grades. I'm also reminded of If, the 1968 film starring Malcolm McDowell.
But what strikes me is the beauty of this book as an artifact. The American edition has been published by Faber and Faber, as an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The binding is tight, with real signatures, expertly edged. The paper is supple and creamy. The type is small, in the British fashion. It is a delightful book to handle.