I’ve been writing in a new spot these past few days that I have off from work, at the Brooklyn Public Library, at a long wooden table with a hardbacked seat. I sit by the window and, in these three days, the tree in view has gone from white to green to a wild wind-tossed blur.
I have learned that the library is no longer a quiet place. There are children running around crying, squealing and fighting like maniacs; librarians quoting Bon Jovi songs to the actor sitting beside me (I spied at his computer, read his email signature, discovered he was once on The Soprano’s.); people in deep conversations about a film called Vitus (which I’ve seen, which you should see.)
I just met Pat, who moved to the neighborhood in 1960, who once had a telephone conversation with Mike Wallace, who attended Yale graduate school because, at the time, they didn’t let women into undergraduate there (so she went to Brown.) She hails from Waltham, Massachusetts and she doesn’t cook, she gets her food ready-made from Caputo’s and she lives across from the park.
At one point, a child sat beside me, learning reading comprehension from a patient tutor. What’s your prediction? The tutor kept asking. Together, they looked at the cover and discussed what the book would be about. They read each page out loud and pondered what might come next.
At some point, the child stopped reading, mid-sentence. I want to change my prediction, he said. It’s not what I thought.
Go right ahead, the tutor encouraged.
It’s so rare we analyze a thought process like this. And, I think, if this is the way we comprehend what we read, maybe it’s how we comprehend our own lives. I wonder how it would feel to step out the front door, walk through life, make predictions about everything we might encounter throughout the day. How quickly our predictions would change, how fast our own stories would surprise us.
I want to change my prediction. I say this, without saying it, every single day.