Wednesday, November 7, 2007

At the Central Brooklyn Public Library



I frequently go to the library to borrow videos and DVDs. They have a great store of world cinema. This time I decided to access the Internet. A few years ago, my PC was in the shop and I was dependent on good ole Brooklyn Public Library for a week. I never forgot how I was able to check my email, visit websites and modify documents by signing up for time in different sections of the library. Today was a bit of nostalgia.

Things changed in 3 years. You reserve a PC by swiping your digitized library card through a slot in the keyboard and typing in a password. Once granted time, there's a mounted reservation board that you watch to see when your time is coming near and to know which seat will be yours.

The PC screens indicate when your time is up and gives the next user at least 5 minutes to get to the seat before moving to next ID in the queue. Being a Curious George, I walked through the aisles to learn all of this and to spy the Web sites other people were enjoying. Some were using the PCs to wordprocess; the majority used it to watch things like music sites, sports and Web TV. It was fascinating to watch men and women, young and old and from various ethnicities enjoy collective personal time.

My time came to sit at #17. I went to Idealist to check out PR and marketing jobs at local nonprofits. The man to my left--older, slim , white--was gazing at a bikini-clad women. He scrolled up and down her body. He did this so much that I wondered when he was going to stop. Naive me was surprised that someone would do this in public. I focused on my mission and busily scrolled through job descriptions and wrote down the ones that appealed to me. When I wrote in my pad, I kept my face to the pad and not into the man's screen. Why annoy myself with the objectification of women.

Soon, another man seated himself to my right. He seemed to be late 30's, slim and black. I lifted my eyes from my screen and noticed he was looking at lady bodybuilders. He scrolled up-down; right-left. This site had many pages of either the same woman or different women. What's the matter with this men? Satisfying their fetishes in public! Again, I said focus on my mission. I busily wrote job notices and took notes of an earlier meeting I had today.

What I observed about me was that I wasn't scared about being in between two men who got sexual gratification in public. Believe me when I say I'm concerned about the children and teens that they and others may influence. I wondered how they interact with real and average women. Scared didn't enter my mind.

In the spirit of the 60's crime show: There are 7 million stories in the naked city. WOW.

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