Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shelob's Lair

So the library here at the lab is a sad, dismal place. It is stuffed into a small second story of an old, brick building. My despise of it increases exponentially with every use of it. The books are out of date; there is a complete lack of organization; the one, lone librarian is never there—which is especially detrimental as the organization of the books follows no explainable logic, and one can roam around for hours and never find what you are looking for.

But the worst part is the lone librarian’s office. It looks like a bomb went off in there. A person could die in there and probably not be found in the near future. This person would invariably die from the combined effects of suffocation and the impact of all the paper that fell upon her at the smallest of disturbances. And this person, this librarian, is the keeper of knowledge. She is the person who decides whether or not I get my references or not. This is the person I must trust in order to successfully complete my thesis.

I have no trust.

Her office is a scary, scary place.

And today, when my office mate came back from the library and described it as a lair, I knew then what the library here reminded me of.

Shelob’s lair in the Two Towers:

Here the air was still, stagnant, heavy, and sound fell dead. They walked as it were in a black vapour wrought of veritable darkness itself that, as it was breathed, brought blindness not only to the eyes but to the mind, so that even the memory of colours and of forms and of any light faded out of thought. Night always had been, and always would be, and night was all.

The Two Towers: "Shelob's Lair," p. 326-27

This is what I experience every time I step into the library: I am suffocated by the dust; it is dark; and happy thoughts and memories are sucked out of my mind. The librarian’s office is the great round pit where Shelob dwells, infused with the sense of uncompromising evil and cluttered with the remains of her past meals.

I have a sense of foreboding every time I step into that library. Like I may never come out alive.

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