Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Oh Happy Day!

The library is open again for browsing and borrowing! YIPPEE! I am thrilled! THIS is what I've been waiting for! Today I went in because I had a request in--one that's been 'in transit' since December, when we went into the latest lockdown and the libraries closed again. This was the first time in over a year we could go in and look around, not just do contact and collect. Don't get me wrong--I was SO grateful that Fiona, our librarian, was doing contact and collect, but it was wonderful to just meander around and peer at the shelves to see what was there. Even though the library is small, I did not have time to explore everything between the time we moved here and the first lockdown, so today I had fun poking around in the Irish and local history sections. There is more there to check out in future. I was not greedy and I did restrain myself 😁 Plus I filled up my request list as soon as they turned the request option back on, so there will be more books coming from various libraries around the country.
Why the Germans Do it Better (the subtitle, which I love, is Notes from a Grown-Up Country) was the request I went to pick up. I read an article about it back in December and was interested. 

Some people are happy about shopping, going to the cinema, or eating out again. Those aren't things I did before, except on a very occasional basis, and they aren't things I care about doing now. The library is a different story.

It's funny--a few months ago, I was talking (on the phone, not in person) to a librarian in one of the places we used to live, and I was saying that I'd gotten used to not using the library anymore, other than for digital stuff, and I wasn't sure how much I'd use it when it opened back up. 😆 Obviously I was having a delusional moment. If there is an open library nearby, I'll be in it. And if my card works in that library, I'll be walking out with a pile of books. 


Joy said...

I get you on the 'going back to other things in life' sort of deal. I rarely did those things either and I'm still 'inside' because they've just decided to 'chuck-all' and let everyone lose to do what they want before the pandemic is over. They're acting like it is. Time to get ready and hunker-down for the new wave which is probably going to happen. I can't see how it wont. Those who always thought it was a hoax will use this as an excuse to say it was never real in the first place. I feel less safe now than before. I'm so glad that things are actually being well-managed enough there to make it worth it to be able to go places like the library. I'm not surprised that you are going back, I think when people have a curious turn of mind it'll always be there operating, even when there's some long-term interruption of access.

Oh I love that so much, 'Notes from A Grown-up Country'. I have commented for years about the US being 'the sophomoric nation' on the world scene and how it needs to 'learn from their elders' like any other society. It's so odd/ironic that those who have that sort of thing actually 'written into their cultural guide book', completely disregard the importance of it (and anything else worthwhile that it teaches). I'll be so interested to hear more about that book and what you think of it. (I've never heard of anyone who thought like me in that way but that's probably because I'm still in the US and this is part of the things I learned when I wasn't.)

I'm glad to hear that things are on the responsible upswing there. We still don't seem to know enough about all of this to make any of the dogmatic assumptions that are happening here (and of course there has to be preventatives created to protect the children and others with compromised immune systems etc, still). Happy Reading and Browsing!

Shari Burke said...

Only a few people can be in there at one time, because it's small, but there was no one else there when we were there. The librarian is behind plexiglass and we do self-checkout. Masks must be worn. I double mask, even though I've had my first jab. You're right that this won't be over anytime soon ☹️

Vicki said...

Glad you can go to the library again. We've been able to go in ours for a while but there has never been more than a few people at a time in there when I go. Our librarians are behind plexiglass and you put your returns into a slot by the door so I feel safe.

Iris Flavia said...

You sure had me giggle (a bit bitterly even) at the second one.
Friends in Perth/Australia used to say Germany is so advanced. Too often we had to tell them the truth. What they have we get inn a couple of years...

Yay for things/places opening up! If slow, we´ll get back to normal!

Shari Burke said...

I feel safe, too, Vicki. :-) They do not yet allow people to meet there in groups, use the computers, etc, which is something people miss. There was no one else in there when we went and there were plastic bins outside the door for returns (the library is inside an old church and shares the building with other organizations, so the bins were inside the building and not in danger of being rained on!). And there was the hand sanitiser outside the door. So much hand sanitiser everywhere!

I have only read the intro to the book so far, Iris, but I would not recommend it for you :-) The author is British and seems to be focusing primarily on comparisons between Britain and Germany. The Brits have a very strange paranoid obsession with Germany and WWII, which I personally find comical and pathetic at the same time. They (particularly the English) seem to have an inability to move on from that and their own 'glory days' of empire in many cases. Sad. Anyway, I did think of you when he was pointing out Angela Merkel's strong points, because I suspect you would disagree with him, since you don't seem to like her or your country of origin that much. That is interesting to me in this context because I also do not like my country of origin (the US) and this author does not seem all that keen on his (Britain). The author mentions the childish nature of his fellow English citizens (thus the subtitle, I guess). I know my opinion of England has gotten very low since I've been here, but he would know better than I do.

Iris Flavia said...

Well, as far as I know the British wanted to "mark" German products as "of bad quality" and it was the other way round, it became a sign of very good quality, as the German is not only on time but also precise. (Boy, I got laughed at when being late, happened twice in my life, LOL - no, first time my friend was worried even - I came from Wolfsburg and was 2 minutes late! Because of a colleague who was late, no kidding).

Germany. Hm. I love Braunschweig. I love being near to my family (haha, "Corinna").
Merkel I dislike for political reasons. She makes failure after failure and has to take no consequences.
I liked Obama and was "sad" when his time was up, but the concept is good (well... in theory). 16 years of Merkel is way too much. If I worked that bad I´d get fired and Merkel... and the money she gets and will keep on getting. That´s not "for the people".
And to be honest... I have no idea whom to vote!!! And no, I cannot do a better job, either. Politics is... difficult and unfair.
Winterkorn, boss of VW, knew of the Diesel-affair yet went away with millions of Euros... Us little ones.... nada.

Keep me updated, if you like, with that book. Hope it has some parts to laugh, also :-)
(Oh, could imagine you´re done already, fast as you are!)

Shari Burke said...

Yes, there are funny parts! He writes about his own experiences being in Germany, starting in the 80s when he was a young (in his20s) journalist. He told of a time when he and a friend were invited somewhere for lunch at 1 o'clock. The friend drove and they arrived at 12:53, so the friend parked and said, 'Good! Now we have some time to chat!' They chatted for exactly 7 minutes and then went to the door at precisely 1 o'clock. :-)

One of his arguments so far is that while countries like the UK and the US tend to look backward for their cultural identities, Germany was forced to look forward. This is interesting and makes me think again of something I've been fascinated with from an anthropological perspective since we got to Ireland, namely how the foundational cultural myths of a place impact the culture in the present. For example, the US is a nation built on slavery and genocide. That's simply objective fact, but most people ignore this and have these delusional ideas about the creation of the nation. And the government has reneged on the treaty obligations they have with various Native American groups, much like BoJo is busy breaking international law by reneging on agreements he signed a few weeks/months beforehand. Neither entity ever had any intention of abiding by these agreements, of course.

Anyway, what has fascinated me is the difference between living in a place like the US that was a colonizing genocidal power with all the accompanying attitudes and cultural impacts that come with that through time and now living in a country that was, until very recently, colonized and where the memory of the attempted genocide by the Brits is still a big part of the culture. This book so far includes some illustration of how this plays out in Germany as far as both the aftermath of both the Nazi era and the fall of the wall go. It's given me much to think about and made me want to learn more, which I always like, so I'm glad to be reading it!

Joy said...

I'm still glad to hear first-hand from you and others, that it's being more sensibly managed in other nations. At some point this society needs to 'watch and learn'. This honor system here is only going to be abused by the ones most likely to carry and spread it and cause those 'mask-less gate-crasher' types who have been doing this all along, to have permission to do it but worse and with impunity now. I hope my favorite stores wont discontinue mask use but how likely that is is something I can't count on now. Twitter is full of people saying 'this latest CDC change is insane' but who is listening?

Shari Burke said...

I've been grateful throughout this to be in a place where it's been taken seriously. People are good at adhering to the guidelines, mostly.

Joy said...

Yes, that's much less worrying than here I'm sure.

So with all you've said how far through the book are you by now?

I wonder if he has written other things similar or is among a group of writers on this sort of topic? It's good to 'have-out-with-it' and just call things as they are if we're ever to improve on things but sadly people keep trying to cover-up and dismiss the past as tho it wasn't important. I think as humans we need to do this with our various relationships to bring things right as well. How those in power don't see the point of it just seems purposefully ignorant as many of them grew up around the idea of going to therapy / analysis etc.

Shari Burke said...

I'm not sure what else, if anything, he's written. I read a review of the book at the end of last year and requested it without looking into it further. I am about 1/3 of the way through. No reading today :-( Some idiot was power washing the sidewalk for over an hour, starting at 6 this morning and they kept right on when the rain began lashing down. The bedroom window is open so it doesn't get too stuffy in here, so she woke us both up and I couldn't get back to sleep. That's way too early for me, so it's a zombie day. I am exhausted. Hopefully I can carry on with the book tomorrow.

Lowcarb team member said...

Pleased that it is open again.

All the best Jan

Shari Burke said...

Me, too! Going back tomorrow to pick up more books that came in!