I found myself sitting in the Haskell Free Library again today (by now you probably think I’ve moved into the place – see Day 76). While I was reading, a couple in their sixties came in and started taking photos of each other standing over the tape that runs across the floor indicating where the U.S./Canadian border falls.
I noticed the same kind of picture taking when I visited Greenwich, England, at the Meridian – I guess it’s one of those times when a line on a map or in a history book comes to life. It appears to be a simple strip marked on the ground, so its significance requires a leap of imagination – perhaps standing on the physical mark and photographing it helps underscore that significance. It’s also just a cool thing to do.
Even though I’ve seen many people snap pictures in this library, today was the first time I’ve ever stopped, put down what I was reading and offered to take a photo of the couple so they’d both be in the same shot. I’ve done it at other locations when asked, but have never spontaneously volunteered before.
I can’t take much credit for this, however, because a friend (I’ll call her Heather – actually her name is Heather) suggested the idea to me as a possible good deed to try. So when this couple walked in with their camera, I must have had it in the back of my mind.
After a few false starts with their digital camera (I’m no Annie Liebowitz) the husband told me they’d been visiting Montreal from Maine, read about the library planted atop the border and decided to make the two-hour drive southeast of Montreal to check it out.
I asked if they’d gone upstairs to see the Opera House and by the look on his face (shock mixed with confusion and delight – like he’d walked into a surprise party in his honour) I could tell he hadn’t even heard about it.
“Ask the librarian if you can go up,” I suggested. “They have tours too – you should take a look, it’s really special.” So they did.
Once you visit, you’ll realize what a good deed this was.
And I’m happy to promote the place – maybe it’ll stop them from charging me rent….