Sunday, November 18, 2012

Only We and the Librarian Showed

In a modest room off the entrance of the James I. Gibson Library, four middle-sized long tables made a square that suggested more of a less intimate AA meeting than speed dating. On a table near some empty book racks were a few bottles of water and a few books selected by the librarian in charge of the program to show off. And there was the librarian, 23 years old, one of many librarians here surely, but the one who spearheaded this program in hopes of bringing some of the community together, having done this once before.

23 years old. It made me wonder what the hell I did with my 20s, for a few seconds until I remembered that I wrote my first book and saw it published. She did remind me by just a recap of her life in Henderson (since she was 2 years old), that I need to haul ass on the rest of my writing projects, make them happen.

"We" was Meridith and I, Meridith having gone with me out of curiosity and bringing the Bobby Flay Mesa Cookbook to tell people about her favorite chef, if there were people who would come to this. There wasn't. There was only me, Meridith, and the librarian, whose name, incidentally, I forgot to ask.

The librarian told us that she put on this event once before, but the few people who came all knew each other, and it works better if people come who don't know each other. That would have been true if there had been more people there than just us three. And I know the librarian would have made sure that Meridith and I obviously don't get paired up to chat.

When I wrote on Facebook about no one showing up to this, I got one comment that was incredulous that I was looking for love in Las Vegas. Well, no, it wasn't that at all. I wanted to see if there were other bibliophiles in Southern Nevada who are as devoted as I am. I wanted to see who else called the local libraries home or a temple or a place of worship like I do. I wanted to get to know others who are just as content as I am sometimes reading two or three books in a day. Logic would dictate that I shouldn't have expected it in a state with a total population of 2.7 million, the majority living in Clark County. But then, I should, since the majority is here. And I know Las Vegas is a transient city and all that, even though this was in Henderson, but I do get a sense that those who live in Henderson are here for a long, long time. So I would have also hoped to meet those who call this city home.

I liked the aim of the program. I still believe in it. In fact, the librarian said that the next time she puts on this program, she'll call us ahead of time to let us know if anyone else has signed up. I'll be there again because this one librarian is trying to gather members of the community, to make the community stronger. I believe in it. I believe Henderson needs that more than ever, to fashion a stronger community, and this is one way to do it.

I'm not disappointed. I have my books. I have my ideas for future projects. I'm not going to start haunting Barnes & Noble in the hopes of finding another voracious reader. Mom says that I may find that person when I least expect it. Well, I don't expect it. If the chance comes along, it might be nice, but if not, I've got this enormous region to get to know intimately by visits to all kinds of places I still haven't been to and places I want to go back to (I desperately want to walk around Boulder City again, visit the library there, which I love because of its respect for old books, and to walk around the UNLV campus), and to study by way of the books that have striven to define it, both historically and by personal feelings. And all the stories around me every day, all the interesting people to see! What better city to spark creativity?

One night last weekend, I saw a Virgin Atlantic 747 sitting on a taxiway, waiting to be cleared to taxi to the runway and to takeoff. I saw Air Force One in the daylight, sitting at a far end of McCarran, back when Obama was preparing for his first debate in Henderson, and I'd seen a Virgin Atlantic 747 fly over me to land at McCarran, but I'd never heard one with its engines idling. I love that sound.

One day this past week, after we picked up the Michael Buble CD and the $25 gift certificate to the Ravella spa in Lake Las Vegas that Mom had won on KSNE, and after we went to two Barnes & Noble to find the connect-the-dots daily calendar Mom wanted for the new year, we went to dinner at The Hush Puppy, which has the weirdest rules, such as if you order one of their all-you-can-eat specials, you can't take home what you don't finish. I didn't get it either.

Anyway, at the table behind us, one guy was speaking loudly and I learned a bit about some of the trees we have in Las Vegas, including mesquite, and that guy being impressed by the crew that came to cut branches off of one. It was actually pretty interesting to listen to.

So I have all this. And I'm going to the library later today to pick up 15 books on hold, including The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (I like to wait for hype to pass), and Sanctuary, the seventh novel in the Decker/Lazarus series by Faye Kellerman (I've read the previous six). There's so much to do that if that person happens to come along, and I'm taken enough by her, I'll ask her to come along with me. Ideally, I'd like her to be of this area, of Henderson or Las Vegas and to have lived here for enough years that she knows so much that I don't, even with how much I know so far.

But if she doesn't, well, I'm ok with that. I'm not searching, I'm not going to search, and there's so much to do as it is! It's a good life here, a worthwhile life, far more than I've ever had before and more depth than ever.