Monday, April 24, 2023

Library Journeys and Sidequests

So, the joy of living in this city with surrounding suburbs is that many of the surrounding suburbs allow city dwellers like myself to get library cards there too.  This has been true for some time.  Growing up we went to both the Tenleytown library, and the Little Falls library on the regular.  Later they rebuilt the Bethesda library and we often went there.  (So a few years ago when they remodeled the Bethesda library and gave it a new name, I had one of those didn't they just - oh, yes, that over a decade ago.  Okay.)
I acquired a card I had been meaning to add to my repertoire during the pandemic when said library system allowed for online applications due to COVID.  Woot! Pandemic policies meant that I also hadn't had to present myself in person to renew anything in a while, and then this year, the lovely DC library asked me to present myself.  (I found it a little amusing, since I do a lot of virtual borrowing, but had been in there regularly to pick up free COVID tests, but they didn't swipe my card for that.  So I look like I'm never there.)
Anyway.  Said county offered me the option to renew online, which I gratefully accepted.  And then about a week later I tried to borrow one more thing and I could not.  I chalked it up to timing, but eventually determined that I had been sent a subsequent communication that actually, I could not really renew online.  Or like I could, but the online renewal would not give me access to the books, which let's face it is the thing I was after.  
So, fine.  I hopped on metro and decided to go visit one of the libraries in the system.  So it's worth noting that I made the rookie error of getting off a stop too soon.  But I decided to walk it.  This mostly worked.  It was the suburbs, so of course the sidewalk just up and disappeared on me at one point and while I was wandering and navigating, I mostly knew where I was, though I did at one point have to turn around.  (In my defense, I knew pretty quickly I was off track.)  
It's worth noting I had a functional phone with access to cell service the entire time, so while there was a danger I was going to walk much more than I had planned, the idea that I would be lost was not really on the table.  Also, this whole area was near where I had a friend who lived for several years and not too far from where I had worked, so I knew not only the main roads, but many of the side roads.  But more as a driver than a pedestrian.  
And of course, this particular area has changed a bit over the last decade.  So there were moments where I would be like, oh I remember driving by that church parking lot, or oh, I spent hours once in that drug store, and also oh, that's where I had to go pick up that thing.  Also, it was a really nice day.  I found the library.  Got my card and was out of there so quickly and efficiently I thought about hanging out in the AC a bit longer.  
(Oh it's also probably worth mentioning I had a great audiobook.)  And I stopped and grabbed some beverages at a shiny new grocery store (which was across the street from another shiny new grocery store.)  There were benches outside the store, and I got to sip my drink and watch some bumblebees get their pollenation on.  And then I headed back home.  
And promptly updated my card info so I could grab that library hold.