Thursday, June 29, 2006

Temporarily Homeless

Temporarily Homeless

I’m temporarily homeless – we had the exterminator out for extensive flea treatments which requires that all humans and animals vacate the house for 6 hours and that contents of the kitchen vacate the cabinets. The cats got locked in the garage – and yes, it does have an air-conditioner! The contents of kichen got piled on tables.
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Not wanting to join them, I went out with laptop in tow and went forth to check out the thrift shops and wi-fi cafes of Houston.

First stop, breakfast at The Daily Grind, a battered building in an area that is rapidly gentrifying. Many business folks were grabbing a bite to eat before starting out on their daily grind. The computer geeks were all sitting at tables for 2 along one wall. I wondered about that till figured out that was where all the outlets were located! The humans who came to chat gathered at the larger tables in the center of the room. Around 9ish the clientele changed from shirts and ties to young mothers and their children who gathered for coffee and moral support. By 10am the Moms were gone (nap time) and the students and road warriors showed up. The students for their first meal of the day and the road warriors for their mid morning coffee break and e-mail check. Houston has many self employed entrepreneurs who office out of their homes, cars and know the location of every free Wi-Fi hot spot in town.

10am meant the thrift stores were open so I took off. Pickings, with the exception of the library used book table were slim indeed. No books, bad books or horridly overpriced books. I even came up empty at Half Price Books, though I did dispose of 2 boxes of books there. Anything that reduces the number of books at our house is, in the words of Martha Stewart, A Good Thing. A very good thing.

The library didn’t open till noon and I arrived a few minutes prior. Once the doors were unlocked, I was nearly trampled by the people anxious to secure a seat at one of the public computers. I am so glad I no longer work in public libraries. From what I’ve seen, their job seems to be more and more that of computer use referee and tech expert. Given the driven look in the eyes of some of the people headed for the computers, I sure wouldn’t want to be the one to tell them they had to relinquish their chair to another patron. I’ll stick to school libraries where the kids listen to me – at least most of the time.

By then it was lunch time. Decided to leave the librarians to their never-ending battles and retired to Te House of Tea for lunch (and free wi-fi). The Te House is located in the Montrose, Houston’s version of Greenwich Village or SoHo. Most of the businesses in that part of town are quirky and fun places to while away the hours. Excellent lunch, computer access and people watching. A group of students studying for the bar exam, retired, ex-hippes reading and sipping tea and a few school teachers on the lam.

Then home again, home again to put the kitchen back together again. I thought I got rid of so much stuff when I had the garage sale, but from the looks of what came out of the cabinets I didn’t do nearly as through a job as I should of!
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Nancy said...

Sounds like a wonderful summer day. Ahhhh Freedom.

Julie said...

Ha ha, are you saying the computer geeks are not human?

Library Lady said...

We do spend a lot of time dealing with the computer crazies. I do it less because I'm down in children's, but I do get my turn.

Overall, it's not that bad. We have a wonderful sign-on system that allows people 1 hour per day, and automatically logs off when their time is up.

We do have to help people with things occasionally. Not long ago, I spent about 15 minutes helping a very computer illiterate man fill out an on-line application for Home Depot. Not really my job, but he needed the help--and I taught him how to use a mouse!

And no matter how many computers we have, people still generally can't search things as well as librarians can. I don't think we'll ever lack employment!