We went to the library, just like I told you.
And I don't mean to say this was a momentous event. We go to the library a lot—that's how we get the big fines, you see. And there's something satisfingly strange about the book selection in a library—much stranger than it is in a bookstore. There's no sense that you have to get the newest hottest books, it's more like you're challenged to find the oldest, strangest books, the ones you never knew existed.
Our library, which is not really our library (still being renovated, aaack!) but is the main branch, has, among its strange books and out-of-print wonders, a crazy extra floor at the top. It's past the escalators and the big open spaces. You go into a short blocky staircase that somehow has five separate mini-flights of stairs, that turn, and turn, and turn. You pass the wall that says "vandalizing will be punished," and just when you think you're going to end up in an attic somewhere, you get to the top and the light and air flood in and you're in the Art and Music sections. And guess what they have there? These.
Do you remember these? That's right, sort of like the old milk-delivery bottles. I almost didn't recognize them, though of course I did. Oh, card catalogues, I didn't know I'd missed you!
Do you remember how awesome it feels to pull one out, that long slow heavy drag, the cool metal of the loop against your finger? And inside, all the awesome cards?
With the faded typing and the incomprehensible spidery notes? Not to go all Nicholson Baker on you, but it was kind of transcendent. Chestnut looked through the scores and fake-books, and I got to play with the card catalogues. It should probably have been the other way around, right?
They seem like artifacts someone forgot to bury. It felt like a treasure map, you know? And so strange that it was for all the songs—not for the books, for some reason.
I think it's my new favorite floor of the library. Look forward to lots of talk about graphic novels and opera libretti.