|Northbrook Public Library|
And the NBA. And Broadway. And much of public life. But it was the library that prompted me to action, 4:30 p.m.—it was closing at 6 p.m. I grabbed a half dozen books around our living room that need to be returned, either already- or never-to-be read, and walked over: the library is literally in my backyard, or, rather, through my backyard, over a berm of trees, past the community vegetable garden, and through the parking lot of Village Hall.
It wasn't quite a mob scene. But there were a dozen people in line to check out books. I had never seen that. I went upstairs to the New Books section, grabbed a few volumes that might prove useful in researching my next book, and got in line. The librarian who checked out my book was wearing latex gloves. He asked me if I knew the library was closing for a couple weeks. I said I did.
I felt glad that in addition to hoarding toilet paper, that people are also hoarding books. A hopeful sign. Then again, the strange toilet paper situation—shelves stripped—did not cause the sense of superiority or condemnation it seemed to evoke in everybody else. I have what my people call rachmanis—something stronger than sympathy but weaker than pity—for such people. This is a scary moment, and if you can comfort yourself with a big cube of Angel Soft, or a copy of Emily Dickinsen, or just about anything else, well why not? Later that evening I stopped by Target for cat litter—not as a hedge against the End of the World, but because we need cat litter. I was relieved to find litter in bountiful supply and also on sale—normality tends to endure. The bread, however, was completely gone.
|Target, Friday night|