Adventures of the Pick-Up Drivers, Part II | Newberry

Adventures of the Pick-Up Drivers, Part II

It’s not just the interesting people, you know. It’s the interesting places.

You get to visit bungalows where the carpet hasn’t been seen since 1964. You get to visit condos which have murals of Venice painted on the walls. You get to visit old-fashioned apartments where the hostess bell in the dining room still works. (The lady showed the pick-up driver how she could touch the button with her foot and the bell would ring in the kitchen to signal the servants. That particular pick-up driver was a fine old Socialist who loathed rich people, but he remained perfectly polite until he got back to the library and opined that she probably hired people to read the books for her.)

You get to visit buildings where the driveway rotates under your car to point you toward the street. You get to visit buildings where the receiving room attendant is conducting little ethnic wars from behind the safety of his wire-reinforced window. (He was really stuck when I showed up because if he opened the door for me, the Poles he’d been taunting—he was Hungarian—would get in as well. He tried sending me around front to the doorman, but the doorman sent me back and he had to buzz the door. He wasn’t at his post when I came back down with the books.)

You visit apartments where to get to the library you need to turn left at the Miro and walk under the Calder mobile. You get to see living quarters where the library is under the bed but you can’t take the box because it’s holding up the mattress. You get to go into buildings which have six stories and no elevators.  You find buildings where there are elevators but they’ve been commandeered by the staff because everyone in the building is getting a new dishwasher today.  You get to go into buildings where it is apparent the architect had no idea that his freight elevator would be used for moving anything wider than a barstool. And there are four steps down from the back door to the pavement. And they’re putting fresh asphalt on the street outside, so you have to park three blocks away.

Have I mentioned I don’t know why I’m down to my last two pick-up drivers? (It’s not the books. It’s them dang stairs.)

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