I heard it cost less than 9 million, but more than 3 million dollars to build the boxcar, complete with high tech dragon scales on the exterior, behind the library. To make more room. To make way for more people. To motivate such people. To attend the library more frequently.
It’s a thing that created some hubub not that long ago. The librarians had springs in their steps. But the immense windows face a dumpster and a parking lot. The laundromat is within icy spitting distance, which is where I was reminded again that the town planners must be on the same intellectual level as that horrid movie Shakes the Clown. The pass-out drunk in a wig and makeup.
So many people come for visits to the town. We are in the heart of it after all. We used to have such a reputation. But people must be pocketing the largesse of the ville and returning less-than stellar services. There is no place to go when you want to view the lake and the mountains combined, unless you’re on private property and are loaded. You want to walk around, but there’s nothing cultivated. Storefronts have been abandoned for going on ten-eleven years now. You arrive, thinking you want to stay and have a coffee, a croissant. And something worth looking at while you do. That does not exist here. The buildings all face the wrong ways.
This level of anger, sits mixed with despair and a touch of deep regret. A knowing sigh and shake of the head is something I haven’t felt in a while. No one comes up unless they own property here. And property – even the ones without a view – has been snapped up. Three years compressing into maybe 1 month. The speed is new. The feeling had been on hiatus, much like the remaining businesses downtown. Which are all on lock-down.
Except for the bank machine, which is now handing out 5 dollar bills along with 10s, 20s, and 50s.
Except for the laundromat for when your drier kicks the dust and cannot be replaced for the time being. And you’ve got these particles everywhere now that you must disperse. You must remove the microbes but you cannot see them. If you miss some, or are wrong, someone who stops by, if that should ever happen again, could die. So you wipe down the surfaces. You try not to get distracted.
And then there are the items in the washer that must be dried. Which means going out to the place that accepts $6.50 in quarters only. Doing laundry means more waiting than anything else. You’re there, along with the others who fill up the machines, and then go out to their cars to listen to books on tape or more likely radio les laurentides. You are out there wondering what you can do for 20 minutes. If you add more money, and go longer at say 40 minutes, you worry that something could burn. You don’t know what. It’s someone else’s washers and driers. And there are warnings about spontaneous fires to avoid, which is more dire than the fact that everyone’s wearing their masks except for the fat man in white hair who might or might not speak English. Everyone else is taking care not to go near anyone else while doing their laundry.
You look out at the dingy snow, a surprise this year. First year in a long time when snow was stingy. You see the library, closed to the public again. And think, why oh why spend so much money and make everyone face away from the natural beauty of the town? I could be at the laundromat and get the same view.