Friday, August 14, 2009

The Little Things

Today I was thinking about how it has been a long time since I went to the library. These days I usually stroll around Chapters or browse amazon online. Since everything these days is about convenience, it's more convenient to own books (so you can read them at your leisure) rather than borrow them (and return them by a certain date), right? And it's also more convenient to order them from your laptop while lounging at home, and have them delivered to you, yes?

But so many things get lost in our quest for convenience...

I used to love going to the library. I would ride my bike there during school breaks and peruse through dozens of books. I usually wound up taking out many books at a time, and I was always putting books on hold. I even had my library card number memorized for placing holds online.

Or even browsing around Chapters... I always loose track of time when I'm in Chapters. I love the smell of books. I love wandering through the store and seeing the endless possibilities of things I could learn about. I love adding books to my list of books to read. I love thinking about the imaginary worlds I could get lost in through the pages of a book...

This got me thinking a little about how much I dislike North Americans' way of life. It's not that I dislike the people in and of themselves, but I dislike the way we place convenience over enjoying the simple things in life. We are always trying to get a millions things done in short periods of time. Rush, rush, rush. Money, money, money. I know that time is a luxury, but I wish we could just 'stop and smell the roses' more, if you will.

Why do we need 24 hour MacDonald's? Why do we need 24 gyms? While I will concede that the way we structure our lives necessitates these extra conveniences, I must say that I don't think they are beneficial to us in the long run. I think that better planning and perhaps more realistic expectations in the aspect of 'to do lists' would nulify the need for such frivoulous 'conveniences'. Of course, the working world would have to compliment these changes.

However, the lifestyle on this continent will probably never change. Millions of people's attitudes would need to shift very drastically. And so, I once again confirm that I belong in Europe. Where people would think 24 hr MacDonald's are a ridiculous notion and perhaps closer to the plane of a sci-fi novel than the real world. Where employers expect people to be late for work, and expect people to need time off during the day to go to the bank. A place where you will find dozens of parks throughout cities that are actually used regularly. A place where walking is a normal mode of transportation, and you can gaze around in wonder at all the history that surrounds you. A place that will sooner restore an old building than tear it down immediately and build a new ugly one in it's place....

After my little segue there...In the process of looking up a CD on the library catalogue, I discovered that Calgary is planning a new Central library, and boy does it look awesome!

I wish it was going to be up and running sooner than 2012! And I really hope it looks like the library from Beauty & The Beast....Floor to ceiling books displayed in a grandiose manner with little sliding ladders... Ahhhhh!

On the website they mention some "New Landmark Libraries". When I go to Amsterdam, I definitely want to check theirs out. You have to love architects that have such great vision, and take the time to really think about the who what why and how of their projects.

I am off to the library this weekend to relive the magic :)

1 comment:

  1. There's also a new music centre going up in Calgary, they just had a show for the 4 or 5 finalists a few weeks ago. And, a new bridge across the Bow by Santiago Callatrava! Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, looks like Calgary wants to up it's architecture street cred!