Monday, 11 May 2009

Curse This City: Library Edition.

It was already trickling but as I pass the Kitsilano branch of the Vancouver Public Library, the rain starts coming down in fat drops like translucent cockroaches.

I don't have a jacket on so I duck into the building. The powerful stench of B.O. slaps my face, fills my nostrils. It's warm. Sicly sweet. A dozen scrubby men fill the chairs and tables around the magazine section. The smell is overwhelming, no doubt emitted from two or more of these vagrant types – Kits residents who probably can't afford their rent.

The rain is beating heavy but the dark spot in the clouds is small, with rays of sun breaking up the cloud cover moving towards us. I walk around, look for a place to write, to wait out the downpour, but all seven desks in this cramped building are full. I look for some books by Bukowski, Updike, Rushdie. Nothing. Even the Nora Roberts collection is relatively shabby.

The smell wafts down to the back of the room, the Kid's Section. Poor kids, with their sensitive noses. This will no doubt form their impression of public libraries for years to come.

I finally find a seat at a desk between the cooking section and books about South American art. The chair leg wobbles when I move it closer to the desk and the pressure of my not-so-bulbous body threatens to topple this miserable wooden construction to the floor.

I'll brave the rain. The smell is too much. I get up to leave, scour the place for young women to ogle. There are only two: pne with meaty arms is teaching (who I believe to be) her grandpa how to do long division, and another is as skinny as an English lamp-post and dressed like a Montreal skid.

Bottom line: this library is totally useless.

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