gentry13

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2005 at 2:49 pm

lump in the throat, yet loathing

my research started with a lump in the throat. i thought that was a good sign. as i meandered through the basement of the goddard library, i was overwhelmed with the smell of decomposing journals, the generative hum of florescent lights and the sight of my old study carrel. it was in this basement that i spent so many hours learning to parse hebrew verbs, exploring the antinomy of divine sovereignty and human responsibility and deconstructing the seeker church. as i walked through the stacks i remembered the encouraging solidarity of working beside april during my second year and the conversations i had with jen about her stalker during my third. then, when i stumbled upon the imaginative yet kitschy carrel of dawn richardson, i almost lost it. i don’t know why. perhaps i was overwhelmed with a sense of longing for those who have moved on or, wonder of wonders, God really did bring some good out of those years spent in the library basement.

anyway, after i collected myself, i made my way over to the copier, where i planned to copy two commentator’s thoughts on philemon. i began by pulling out my wallet, putting a $5 in the slot and was greeted with an immediate response on the LED: “Exact Change Needed.”

no problem, i thought, i will go to the other end of the basement and use the second copier. once i got there i put the five spot in the slot and received another immediate response: “Maximum Credit $4.”

i took a deep breath. okay, i don’t have any singles since i needed $4.60 worth of copies, but i can go upstairs to the front counter and get change. “can i get five singles,” i asked the j crew model at the desk. “uh, i don’t know if we have change,” she said to the floor and made her way to the drawer. once we were over there, she rustled through a drawer while i looked at the snowy screen that displayed the security camera feed. “that’s a nice view,” i quipped. “uh-huh,” she responded. at that moment i realized she reminded me of the freshman year ice-queen that neither i nor anyone else was ever able to thaw. so i shut my mouth and extended my hand as she gave me five singles.

i then made my way down to the photocopier in the basement and slid a single into the slot. there was no response from the slot and no message on the screen. no problem, i thought, george is just wrinkly. i took out another crisp single and put it into the slot. absolutely nothing. “damnit!” i thought to myself, but didn’t say it, since there was a studious and probably sanctimonious student sitting behind me. besides, i am trying to curb my cussing.

once again, i made my way up to the desk. can i get five dollars in change, i asked. “uh, i don’t know if we have it,” the ice queen replied. “can you look?” i asked with a little (christian) edge in my voice. she made her way over to the drawer and slowly, methodically, carefully counted out five dollars in change. “thanks, i said,” and went back to the copier.

once i arrived i plugged my quarters into the machine and began to make copies. the first one was washed out, but i was fairly non-plussed. i simply darkened the image and continued my copies. “page eleven, twelve, thirteen” i counted to myself. “page sixteen, page….what? tray 2 needs paper. what the…” but of course, i kept such thoughts to myself. i opened tray 1 to find paper, and was sorely disappointed.

so, once again, i made my laborious way up to the first floor where i stole copy paper out of another printer and stomped my way back downstairs. “page seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty.” once done, i exhaled and exchanged the word biblical commentary volume for the new international greek new testament commentary.

page one didn’t capture both pages of the commentary so i adjusted the setting. after adjusting the setting i pushed start and another botched copy came out. finally, while adjusting the setting again, i accidentally hit start and the machine made a copy of nothing. “shit!” i finally said, kicking the copy machine for good measure. in response i heard the student sitting at the desk turn towards me, undoubtedly in an attempt to shoot a little conviction my way. if he had only known what was going on inside, i thought, as one of dennis leary’s lines crept into my mind: “fuck! i know fuck is a bad word, but you’re fucking making me say it!”

so it was, with only half my research done, i stormed out of the library.

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