Friday, September 14, 2012

The Central Library

Sometimes, when I am downtown, I understand why you would film Robocop here. Dallas is a little gritty, in the way neglected things are, and there are architectural choices about concrete buildings that make you think someone in the 1960s was trying to create a city of the future, even as you can't help noticing how that future never came to pass. But you walk another block or two and there's the stone work from an earlier era, the mosaics and the statuary, buildings that must of been bold and dramatic and stately in their day, but the beauty has faded, their grandeur and their glory easily imagined but largely passed.

The Central branch of the Dallas Public Library is downtown among the government building and department stores. It seems quiet, even for a library, but comfortable. If people have come to the third floor in the middle of the day, they seem to have come for the computers, and I have a row of tables along the wall of windows all to myself. When I leave, I push the button to call the elevator, and the doors open. Three people walk out laughing, leave a fourth still in the box. I ask the man if this elevator is going down. "No," he says, and another elevator dings behind me. As the doors close on his elevator he adds this consolation: "You wouldn't want to be in here anywayit smells like ass."

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