Student ID, parking sticker, library card. The security office lady did not center me in the camera for my ID picture. It is decidedly lopsided. The parking sticker is more attractive than my last one.
I roamed the library, trying to look like I knew where I was going as I stumbled upon various people at official looking desks in odd corners, peered down corridors and into study rooms, browsed boxes of yet-to-be-assembled office furniture. I found periodicals, music, an art collection, comfortable chairs and an attractively bound encyclopedia. Finally, I went downstairs. Nearly all of the books are in the basement, a vast, windowless space, where the air grows stagnant under the flourescent lighting, and a young man wearing rubber gloves roams the stacks — I think he was shelving books. The books themselves make up for it. Yards and yards of stacks that have not been purged to make way for digital media. Lovely old books, their covers embossed with flowers and leaves, titles in thin golden letters. I checked out two books for the pure delight of them, the pleasant librarian informing me that, as I am a grad student, she will extend my loan as long as necessary.
Outside the building, where I had left heaps of humid sunshine, a black storm was building. I ran, clutching my books, to beat the rain to my car, and raced the storm home, the dark clouds curling down behind me as I drove, the wind catching me in gusts between the trees, patches of rain beating my windshield … NPR through my car speakers, so I could hear the screech and beep of the National Weather Service severe weather alerts every few minutes. Oh, I was eager to be at home, safely beneath a blanket with a cup of tea, rain pouring off the eaves. At home it was black, and it blew, but did not rain. It blew loose dust off the driveway, pine needles onto the porch, leaves and limbs from the trees. But the more it did not rain, the less black it grew, and the less it blew. The storms skirted past and went north. The lawn remained dry.
Still, I had my tea, and my blanket, and my books.
Also, a parking map, by means of which I have discovered that my parking sticker allows me to park as far away from my building as possible, but does not allow me to come very near it.