Laugh it up at your Library

My mom has a bright turquoise t-shirt that says “Laugh it Up at your Library!” in big cartoonish letters. We usually end up just laughing at her and it instead of the library, but we like when the shirt makes an appearance all the same. You may recall in my earlier post my new-found object of affection, the Kansas City downtown library. Well, it drew me back only two days later. (I was never one to play it cool.)

R. & I headed out early last evening. It was a clear, mid-80s night. Absolutely perfect. We wandered around the 5 floors looking at various antique hutches and benches, and then came upon the children’s room. Oh, to be a child in an invigoratingly imaginative room. On either side of the entry way were pages of a book. As you walk in, you run into a sitting area with a felt tree that reaches the ceiling and little mushroom stools. I had to keep myself in check and not look under a stool for the Alice in Wonderland caterpillar. How I wanted to grab a book, lean against that man made patchwork tree, and read the day away. The ironic thing is that the only child in there was on the computer playing solitaire. So many friends around (albeit imaginative) and solitaire is the pastime of choice. To each their own.

After wishing I could turn back life’s clock, we wandered down to the basement. And to our delight, came across a tiny movie theatre located in the old vault. It was cleverly named “The Vault”. How have I not come across this in all of our cinematic travels? Don’t beat yourself up this late in the game, Carrie. Look to the future.

But, my most favorite morsel was on the top floor balcony… The life size chessboard. When I first saw it, memories of 5th grade came flooding back. My beau and I would sit in the back of the room everyday discussing hammerhead sharks while his knight flirted with my bishop. We later had a very serious break-up after our recess touch-football team lost to the 6th graders due to his tactical error. We almost had ’em. It still makes me upset.
Before playing, R. and I placed ourselves in the position of the piece we most embodied. He chose the pawn and slumped his shoulders. I chose the Queen. And not because I looked like a drag queen for senior prom, but because she has no direction. She just kind of wanders all over the board. The King & I got to know each other and like all of my relationships, it ended up being either hot or cold. One minute, we were snuggling up with each other…

..and the next I was yelling at him to clean up the bathroom, for god’s sake.

Even though I was content with my game board balcony…at one point during the match, I glanced around and saw an even higher rooftop with potted greenery. What was up there. Was there an even bigger chess game? Or even better, did it house a life size Connect Four?? What am I missing out on??? At that moment, R. yelled Checkmate….

…and this is what I saw. The board after our first game. Notice how many total pieces were captured and placed on the sideline. No, your eyes aren’t fooling you. There’s only one. That’s my pawn, who selflessly died protecting his king. Needless to say, I wasn’t laughing it up. But R. was.