awkwardly

Wednesday

Hell is in downtown Ann Arbor
There was a really good story in an old Hellraiser comic book. Instead of using a demonic metal puzzle to open the gateway to Hell, this story involved a building with mazey corridors. If you walk down corridors in the right order, you solve the puzzle and open the gateway to Hell.

Try to find 15 different periodicals titles on seven different floors in two different areas of Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library at the University of Michigan. If you're on the third floor North, you can only get to third floor South by going back down to 2 and moving to a separate bank of elevators. The North section has floors labelled 1, 1A, 2, 2A, even Basement and Basement A.

Then when you have your cart loaded with thick, old volumes, you have to take it back down to the second floor and find a third bank of elevators.

To enhance your feelings of disorientation, some of the shelves and stairway handrails and fixtures appear to be 80 or 100 years old. In the North section, it appears that the shelves were built prior to the floors, so there are litle gaps at the edges of the shelves where you can see down to floors below or above.

In the South section, the shelves are packed tightly and the rooms are massive. Standing at one end and looking all the way down to the other end is like that famous matte painting from Raiders of the Lost Ark showing the endless rows of crates in Warehouse 23.

I would say the whole experience of Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library is hellish, except the librarians have been very friendly, even when I bring them a cart stacked full of ancient volumes to check out, and they have to add barcode stickers to half of them. None of them has told me, "We have such sights to show you!"

Parking in Ann Arbor anywhere near campus, however, is Hell. If you look directly at the students with cellphones plastered to their ears walking through the streets as if no such things as cars exist, they will appear human. But if you glance at them with peripheral vision, you'll see the nails, chains, hooks, Pinhead riding in your passenger seat.

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