|Mid-day vacuum cleaning at |
Chicago Public Library's Northtown branch
Along with Cook County Forest Preserve outhouses, cholera wards and feminist writers' circles, Chicago's neighborhood branch libraries are generally in the category of places to be avoided.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, however, we have, of late, found ourselves inside several of these centers of accumulated wisdom.
In late Autumn, due to a Metra train delay, we found ourselves guests of the nearby Norwood park branch of the Chicago Public library system.
Incisive minds, such as ours, being terrible things to waste, we sought cognitive stimulation there. Thinking to upgrade our computer knowledge we scoured the stacks for useful tomes on the subject.
To our amazement, we found the entire collection very well suited for a technological history museum. But with the latest tome having been published around 2004, they were, alas, of little practical use to us.
If, however, you ever find yourself in need of books with titles like "Success with Windows 2.0" and "The Wang 2200 for Dummies," the Norwood Park branch of the Chicago Public Library is just the spot.
Due to immobility brought on by Chicago's most recent paralyzing blizzard, we again were thrust into a Chicago Public Library branch, this time in search of a wi-fi connection.
Branch Library - built in 1962
We went to the Chicago Public Library's ultra-modern North Town Branch. This place - at 6435 N. California - was built in 1962, during the waning days of the JFK administration.
Weak, though it was, we found wi-fi there and also made the amazing discovery that the cleaning lady vacuums the place right in the middle of the day!!
So there we were trying to write and surf the web, while old Russian men were trying to read their old Russian newspapers and Korean kids were trying to master their mathematics concepts and along comes this dour looking babushka, wielding a noisy vacuum cleaner (see photo above.)
It was a very noisy vacuum cleaner.
Right in the middle of the library.
And this was at 3:08 pm -- right in the very middle of the library's day.
Asked why the night cleaning crew was operating loud heavy machinery in an ostensibly quiet study zone, a library clerk responded, "The cleaning lady always does this - all the cleaning ladies do this, that's just what they do."
Oh, that explains it.
Our spies tell us that next week they're bringing in a jackhammer operator to work on the front sidewalk.
He's scheduled for 2 pm.