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I have a bunch of new numbers in my life, acquired over the last few hours. Most of these numbers are represented on a card… my pocket is stuffed with cards. I have a room at the Marriot downtown (nice, plush, small, centrally located and very anonymous – exactly what I was looking for!) which has a key card, I have a “researcher card” for the Library of Congress, I have a desk in the LOC, I have a claim check for my personal belongings stowed in the LOC cloakroom, I have a copy card, I have Metro card with a few bucks left on it, and I have call slips for the books I’m pulling at the LOC.
Getting to DC, then to my hotel, and finally to this location – a desk in the main reading room of the Library of Congress – took many hours. I am now quite tired and really in dire want of a cup of coffee and a snack. Considering all the stops and checkpoints I had to traverse to get to this desk where I now sit waiting for my first load of books to arrive, I am not sure I am willing to go in search of such delicacies, however.
One (small) conclusion about DC: this is a city of mumblers. I’ve had the hardest time being able to hear/understand the security guards and information station attendants I have had to interact with at restaurants, security scans, and cloakrooms. This pains me. I have never researched here before (except for a discreet and short venture to the manuscript room long ago) and it is a huge place. The LOC is actually three buildings and in order to get to where I am now, I’ve had to visit all three buildings. I dislike not knowing where I am going or how the system works. I read signs carefully so as to have to ask fewer stupid questions, but some things must be asked and to get unintelligible responses is rather frustrating. This has definitely depleted my energy and contributed to my growing headache.
On the up side, I now know where I am going and what I am doing. I will be here at this desk early tomorrow morning and will have the hyper productive day that probably will not happen in the remaining hours of today. Considering that, I think I will go get that cup of coffee – it is in the next building over, but if I use the tunnels, I can get there without having to go through security at building entrances/exits. Besides, my books have still not been pulled… no use sitting around and staring at the dizzingly high and ornate ceilings of the reading room.
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