The Smell of Paper in a High-Tech WorldBy Mark W. Law (Jul 12th, 2012)
“My name is Mark… and I am a geek.”
I spend most of my life coding for, updating, cleaning and fixing computers. Anyone who comes to Casa Blanca del Marcy can expect to see bits and bobs of (often ancient) computer technology from front door to upstairs bathroom. And it was only the need for a quiet office space that forced me to take the THREE Toyota-loads of computer parts to Recycle.
So you could say I have seen it all – from Blackberries to mainframes – and probably have spent far too many hours with my head under the hood. But last week I did something out of character that was refreshingly *NEW* – I took the Junior General to Teeswater Library to setup his first library card.
Now, that might not sound too earth-shattering, I have had a library card since Maple Elementary Class of 1963, but with ebooks, online newspapers, PDF’s and Facebook, it has been a long time since I cracked the spine of an honest to goodness ‘lets chop down 10 trees to make this thick puppy’ novel. In fact I discovered, courtesy of Lynda and Linda, that my card had expired some years back!
The JG was excited to be able to sign out a Robert Munsch, look for Waldo at the kids reading table or bring home the Backyardigans. For me it was a chance to get reacquainted with an old friend.
It is kind of funny, but there are certain smells that can bring back a flood of memories. The smell of salt air reminds me of Oyster Bay bullhead fishing, new mown hay of baseball season opening day, baking bread of Saturday mornings helping my Mom make the weekly loaves or cinnamon buns, mandarin oranges of walking through the Sukh in Cairo. Libraries have that kind of smell, the mixture of varnish, old paper and dust that makes you wonder if you have an overdue book.
Even though our library has been recently renovated those same smells remain, like a reminder of tradition within a sea of ‘newness’. And on a blast-furnace July day the quiet, coolness of the library is a great place to be.
I had intended to spend just a few minutes arranging the library card, but a quick wander through the Adult Non-fiction turned into a couple hours. The JG didn’t seem to mind, snuggling up in the big lounge chairs by the (thankfully turned off) fireplace with a book about penguins and sweaters. I even renewed my library card!
This morning I have two laptops and a PC / printer combination crying out for repairs. But a book about building The Kettle Valley Railway propped up next to my mousepad is saying “Psssst… there’s an empty lounge chair under the maple tree!”. I will resist the urge – maybe…
“My name is Mark… and I am a geek… who likes books…”
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Thanks to Lynda B and Linda K for helping the JG setup his library card! Sometimes it is hard to get a jumping bean to sign his name! – ml
The Smell of Paper In A High Tech World (2.8 MiB)