We bought the mister a kindle, and because it is 3G which may or may not work in Abu Dhabi, and because it would be easy to pack if we unwrapped it, but incredibly bulky and space-consuming if we did not, we unwrapped it and had a play.
This caused eldest to become enamoured of it, and he has spent all the money that he saved (a substantial amount, because he never spends anything and he gets twenty dirhams a week which was, when we first set it about seven dollars a week, but is now, exchange rates and all that and dirhams being pegged to the US dollar, somewhat less) on a kindle. He desperately wanted the 3G, but was convinced to buy the wifi version, partly by financial constraints, and partly by the illogic of paying an extra sixty dollars for a function that may or may not work in the place we will be in this time next week.
So, kindle purchased over the smokes counter at woolworths (you can tell steve jobs isn’t in charge over at kindle, can’t you?), we had to find a wifi place so eldest could download some books.
‘We will go to the library,’ I said and took us to one.
At the library, we were prompted, by the library’s wifi to put in our user name and password, so I went to the counter and asked if we could have a password. I would first need to join the library. Did I have some identification? My passport, I said. ‘Some identification with your address?’ I don’t actually live here at the moment, we live overseas. Okay, well then, sorry, you can’t join the library, and if you can’t join the library you can’t join the wifi network.
‘Not even just for an hour?’ I asked. ‘There isn’t a visitor id we could use?’
Eldest put his arm around my waist and pulled gently as I tried to probe more deeply into whether there were a solution to this problem of the kindle with no books and the wifi with no access. The more I talked, the wider he smiled at the woman behind the counter. He began to pull a little less gently and I remembered how it was to be that child hanging around with that mother and so I said, ‘Okay, well, thank you.’
So there we were, in the library, with our kindle, unable to access any books. On the one hand, I don’t suppose it’s the library’s job to provide unlimited internet access to the world. On the other hand, WTF, here’s a little boy who just wants to experiment with reading, and that is why I sometimes hated being a librarian.