Over the past couple weeks, while on the metro I have been reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I know it sounds strange, but I was horrified by how well the book was written. Hosseini’s vivid descriptions, alluring details, and deep lessons scared me. I was nauseous from how realistic the story was. Knowing that someone quite possibly may have actually experienced the events taking place made me sick. Hosseini writes in way that makes me realize the troubling realities of the social issues of our era. My body yearned to go back to the comfort of fantasy books like Harry Potter where I could delve into the story without a care in the world because in the back of mind, I understood that Hogwarts doesn’t really exist (unfortunately) and Harry will always save the day with the help of his friends. All this was going through my mind while tears spilled down my cheeks as Amir told his sad, sad story. Nonetheless, I could not put down the book. I read and read on the metro all the way to the Library of Congress and all the way back. Since I’m fasting, I even spent my lunch hour in a corner of the Great Hall reading even more of the book. Another thing that struck me on the metro was how real the character Amir is. He isn’t a superhero that saves the day, he isn’t perfect, and he faces the same internal struggles of an ordinary person. He didn’t always do the right thing or even think the right things, and yet he still recognized his problems. Over the course of the book/his life, he grew from a selfish child to selfless adult.
If today were an episode of Friends, it would either be called “The Time I Met Jill Biden” or “The Time Flat Stanley Was Decapitated.” I’m still not sure which title is better. Inside an alcove in the Young Readers Center (YRC), there is a life-size cardboard cutout of Flat Stanley. The families who visit the YRC enjoy posing for photos with Stanley. Unfortunately, today Stanley was knocked over and his cardboard head snapped clean from his body. Since then, Stanley has been hospitalized, but the odds are not looking good. My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Stanley, I hope you come back in one piece.
In other news, today the YRC hosted a conversation with Author Michael Grant, two female combat soldiers, and special guest Dr. Jill Biden. The event compared and contrasted real and imagined events during World War II with 21st century combat and military life. Michael Grant, a popular YA author discussed his new historical fiction book Front Lines, which reimagined a World War II where women are eligible for the draft. Among other things, I helped move Dr. Biden’s signed books from the green room to backstage, and during the book-signing portion of the event, I was in charge of writing people’s names down on post-it notes if they wished for their book to be personalized. Afterwards, I had the honor of meeting Dr. Biden, and honestly, she was so kind and genuine. Since she is an advocate for community colleges and is a professor at a northern Virginia community college, when I told her I was an intern from Montgomery College, she said that it’s awesome that I’m interning at the Library, and she said to enjoy it, and have a great summer. Meeting Dr. Biden will not be forgotten anytime soon, especially since the professional photographer at the event snapped a high quality photo that will probably be shared around by all my family and friends.
It’s okay. It’s fine. You’re fine. Butterflies? Ha. More like stampeding elephants. I enter the building labeled “Madison Library of Congress.” After going through security, I walk to a map and search for Young Readers Center. Young Readers Center Young Readers Center Young Readers Center, WHERE IS IT? The security guard asks me what I’m looking for and I respond and he says that it’s in the Jefferson Building. There’s more than one building?? “Yeah there are three actually.” Oops, I said that out loud.
He gave me directions to head into an underground tunnel that connects the three buildings together. Rights and lefts and keep going straight blur in my head, and I thank god for the signs and maps everywhere along the way.
Okay, now when you walk into the Center just stay calm. It’s okay. Once I entered the Center, all my nerves went away. Books upon books upon books of my childhood surrounded me and gave me a welcoming hug. The blue and green pastels danced on the walls. I spotted Frindle, one of my favorite books, and it brought a natural smile to my face—unlike the ones I was forcing all morning.
My supervisor at the YRC, Kahin, wanted me to just observe the daily activities before I’m given any responsibilities. After touring the center and going over protocol, I was told I can grab and book and just watch over what Monica does at the information desk. Everything seemed simple enough and I knew I would become accustomed to the procedures in due time. I also have begun to understand that situations like this are going to make me anxious. Until I’m comfortable in my surroundings, I am going to overthink every single thing I say and do, which sucks, but what can I do?
p.s. aghhhhh I’m interning at the Library of Congress what the heck????