Today is the last day of my vacation. Yes, I took a vacation because the low-level but persistent stress of 2020 gets tough to deal with, and fortunately, I’m in a position to actually have and use some of that accrued time.
I kicked off my vacation with the #FCPLBookBall, a virtual library fundraiser where you make a monetary donation to the library to “attend” and then just sit and read all day. It was, in a word, glorious. I highly recommend curling up someplace quiet and comfy with one of those “10 hours of ocean waves” tracks from YouTube running in the background. Since I can’t go to the beach this year, this was the closest equivalent, and it actually worked very well:
I’m going to have to try to do something like this once a month or something, a dedicated “Read & Relaxation” day. It worked wonders to help calm and recenter myself. (Also, Saturday August 22nd was the Ray Bradbury Centennial, and there’s a Read-a-Thon of Fahrenheit 451 available to stream until September 5th if you want to check it out!)
My brother Daniel had to do a sanity check while I was perusing Ebay: “Sis, are you sure you want to buy that? I mean, you did get to watch it online already… Are you going to ever watch it again?”
The item in question was a new DVD copy of an anime from 1996 called Master of Mosquiton. It’s an OVA with only 6 episodes and the price was about $70. And Daniel’s question made me pause. It’s true that I did find an English dub online, although it took several very frustrating hours to find all six episodes in full and in English. Why was I considering spending so much money on something I had already found for free?
That got me thinking about hard copies and why I am so dedicated to filling up my home with tangible media. Why take up all this space with row after row of books when I could keep an entire library on an e-reader? Why spend $20 to get a Blu-ray or DVD when I could stream them on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime? As digital storage gets cheaper and cheaper, and the number and quality of online streaming continues to rise (not to mention the ubiquitous Cloud), why spend valuable resources collecting and maintaining hard copies?
Three reasons: Availability, Preservation, and Tangibility.
I started this entry in October 2017. With a few tweaks, it is just as relevant to my state of mind today in September 2018 as it was then.
The problem with being responsible at a day job is that so few people are, so you get more responsibility and expectation heaped upon you until you start to smother. I don’t know if it’s because of how stressful the year has been or what, but my focus has dropped and I’m retreating back into long-running TV shows and oldie-but-goodie favorite movies to cope. While I love me some good stories, I can’t stay there forever.
I still have my first library card. Granted, it’s long expired and returning to that library would be an hour commute, but I still have the card. I’ve been going to libraries my entire life, and it baffles me when adults enter the library and ask to get a library card, “but I’ve never had one before.” (And for at least half of them, it’s not like they just moved to the area. They’ve lived here their whole lives and never had a card.) I know I can’t keep the look of surprise off my face, although I do refrain from asking, “How have you lived?”
My family already had a substantial collection of books; both of my parents are avid readers. However, a public library has more resources and more space than a private homeowner, so it’s a perfect resource if you don’t want to break the bank and fill your house floor to ceiling with books. We also never had commercial TV of any kind (never have and never will.) We went to Blockbuster a few times, but it was always so expensive. Why spend $3 to rent a movie for three days when you could go to the library and rent a copy for free for two or three weeks? Libraries allow you to check out favorite books and movies over and over, plus you can sample hundreds if not thousands of new material to see if you like it. And then, if you’re like me and you enjoy something enough, you go buy a copy for yourself.