Remember that horribly complicated (but free) syntax textbook? Well, I failed to finish my reading all week, so today was dedicated to that happy task. Since it’s very difficult to pore over a PDF properly, I designated today Library Day so I could read the hard copy (still don’t have my student ID, so I can’t check things out).

Wouldn’t you know, I woke up to possibly the last glorious fall day of the year, which already possibly means my last German fall day, period (that’s a terrible thought). It was the warmest day in several weeks, bright blue sky, birds chirping and the smell of leaves in the air. Too bad I was going to be spending most of the day underground.

When the library opened, I discovered something terrible: someone else had checked out my book. I wasn’t about to turn around and go back home, so I pulled up the PDF version, muttering something impolite under my breath, and set to work.

Generally, I’m not much of a working-in-libraries person. They’re so quiet, it’s like a tacit challenge to entertain yourself through means that become increasingly desperate as the semester progresses. But this morning I managed to read for three hours with only a handful of impulsive strolls through the language acquisition shelves. I don’t know why this library’s different from Sewanee’s, which I never found conducive to studying. Maybe it’s the strangely calming gray of the walls, or the curved lines of, well, everything except the books, or the really awesome built-in study lamps. …Actually, you know what? It’s probably just that it neither looks nor smells like a Soviet hospital ward.

But even the best library couldn’t solve the problem of this beautiful day that was passing me by while I read about predicate logic for the eleventeen billionth time (still haven’t figured out what that is). After an hour or so, I became aware of a mechanical whirring noise that seemed to be coming from all around. I took a moment to entertain the possibility that the library was under siege by a fleet (?) of tiny, tiny tanks, and I couldn’t decide whether that possibility was amusing or terrifying. I then considered the fact that I have absolutely no idea what tanks sound like.

An unexpected breeze interrupted my thoughts, which was probably for the  best.

Wait, breeze? What’s that smell? Are those…leaves?

You guys. All those big metal panels on the space egg? They’re all mechanized, and all of them have screens inside. So when the Gods of the Library deem the weather worthy, they can open the place up enough that, even though you can’t really see out, you can feel everything that’s going on in the air outside.

Before getting back to work, I enjoyed imagining taking over the controls and flapping all the wings at the same time, whereby (because I’m not a physicist) the library would fly away.

That would be me. Syntax book: not pictured.

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