Today I went into the city to get my NYPL card. Access to the third largest library in the world, a massive OverDrive collection too, and a cool service called Mango Languages are some things I have now.
Getting the card was pretty simple. Application is online. Walked into the big Mid-Manhattan Library by Bryant park, found the card place, and showed my ID. Then, I got a card, one credit-card sized one, and one keychain one. Figuring I could pick up some books, I walked around.
Of course I'm an idiot, since I didn't find any books I could take out. Went up the stairs to level 2, 3, 4, and still didn't find very much. But I did find tourists — so many tourists. All taking pictures. This guy was taking pictures of a water fountain. Big whoop, they've got lion heads on them.
I really don't like tourists. I'm sure they're all great people, maybe they're interesting too. But I didn't see people today, I saw tourists, swarming by the millions. They infest the whole building, bringing their spouse and kids and parents and grandparents and neighbors. What a place to bring screaming children! And strollers! In a library!
On the top floor, there was a hall — reserved for patrons and their quiet work. Security works hard to make this happen — as the tourist glacier pushes across the floor, at the fork in the road ahead, sits an African American woman, doing God's work —
— VISITORS TO THE LEFT!!!
— NO, YOU CAN'T GO IN THERE!!!
— LEFT, DIPSHITS! ENGLISH, DO YOU SPEAK IT!!!
She didn't say that last one, but you get the idea.
Maybe I'm too old for the kids these days, but the number of phones out all the time bothered me. All these tourists with their phones, taking family pictures, selfies, or worst of all, pictures of random shit. These pictures exist somewhere on the internet already — just look up New York Public Library. I don't get it. Just sit back and look at stuff. That's probably more fun and relaxing. Just be happy you saw this stuff, no need for pictures.
Maybe it bothers me a lot because it something my family struggles with. Too many pictures, all the time. WeChat, far worse than any western social media site. Old people do it too. Really old, like grandparents. Just meet anyone from mainland China. You'll see it.
But maybe I'm being too harsh. What's wrong with pictures? And tourists?
Hey, if people get a kick out of it, fine by me. Maybe I'm just the black sheep, and others don't mind this commotion. Of the modern obsessions with pictures. Of surface-level tourism.
But it's rather easy to say that people just work different. Maybe they don't actually like any of it, and they're just absorbed into this picture thing because everyone else is. I sure as hell don't like taking pictures of random crap. Do people really like doing this?
Maybe they do.
I'll be travelling to Spain and Portugal later this summer with Mom, and I'll just be a filthy tourist too.
Maybe it's not so bad — one of the swarm.