Last Saturday, we came home from a drive to the nearest city with a pile of library books. Along with a bottle of white wine, an improvised but delicious orange cake, cozy pillows on the couch and a good fire in the wood stove, they were a perfect for a gray January weekend.
But they were actually more than that. They were a way to celebrate the arrival in the mail of our so-called id-numbers earlier that week. Whoopee! There are tons of things to sort out now that these precious digits are here, opening the door to endless administrative joys, but somehow the first thing we actually did was to go and get ourselves a library card each.
When I think about it, it was a pretty nice way of thumbing our noses at administrative loopholes and reaffirming what really matters. Reading matters, for example.
As an academic researcher, I used to spend quite some time reading papers and textbooks. It was part of my job, and therefore I was even paid to do so. This, in turn, entitled be to move to a new country quite easily. Strangely enough, when I decided that I’d be happier and more useful spending an equally significant part of my time reading piles of library books covering a broad range of important subjects, from philosophy of science to writer’s biographies, local history, renovating houses and growing vegetables (among other things), it went a little less smoothly.
Finally, things are falling into place. We don’t live (yet!) in a world in which doing something useful is sufficient to be able to blossom in peace, but we fixed up our own little space in which we’re hoping to make a living doing things we’re interested in. A tiny red house, a little studio of our own, and library cards. Plus 10 precious digits that mean we can start for good.