June 15, 2009

Bumpy Library

Holy crap! I just about had to whip out my ninja skills on a library patron!

Here I am in one of our lovely and award-winning local public libraries and it being first thing in the morning, it's nice and quiet. I see about eight or ten people on computers. There's an elderly gentleman reading a paper in a comfy chair. At two tables nearby women are tutoring young children. All you can hear are keyboards and soft voices.

This was shattered a few minutes ago by a man who seemed to be quietly working at a table directly behind one being used by a tutor. Apparently his concentration was broken and he angrily stuffed his briefcase and began loudly remarking for all to hear that "this is a library, not a damn tutoring place" and as he walked toward the back of the library, apparently to find a quieter spot, he continued to rant.

I am quite fond of libraries and have a problem keeping my mouth shut.

After his third or so iteration of this not being a tutoring place, I perked up with, "I think it can be used for whatever we all decide to use it for."


He spun around and came right at me. No longer projecting the demeanor of a well-dressed library patron, he suddenly became a wide-eyed and out-of-control street thug. "You got anything else to say to me?" he shouted. "You wanna take it outside?" he threatened. "You wanna bump?!?"

By now he was in my face.

I remained calm and simply said, "No sir." I could see three staff members coming over. The closest one engaged him and he was no longer in danger of being slain by a ninja, but I ask you: Have you ever seen anything like this? It was new to me.

He didn't leave right away. I got a few more "You wanna bump" threats and he even told me to shut up and shoved one of my books at me. Lucky for him that he was asked to leave and complied. The poor kids were scared to death.

I guess he forgot that our libraries have quiet rooms set aside.

(image cc flickr)


SAH said...

"The poor kids were scared to death."

That would scare me.

Sorry that happened.

S said...

Bump? That's a new one to me.

I think you handled it rather well though!

toni said...

Yes, I have seen this before. Everyday at work we go through something like this. Especially the ones who think it is a library and we have to explain that it isn't.

Teacherninja said...

SAH: Thanks for the comment and concern.

S: It was new to me, but he made his meaning quite clear. Thanks!

toni: That's the unquietest bookstore around! Crazy people, I tell, ya. They need to be introduced to those "quiet rooms". Thanks.

C. B. James said...

I'm pretty sure that's aginst the law. It would be grounds for arrest if done on school grounds, though I've not seen it happen with an adult before.

We had a similar experience in a Chinese Restaurant once. One patron threw his fork down and started in about how bad the food was. We did pipe in with a "We actually really like the food here." Quite a few other patrons joined in stating how much they also like the food.

It's a very popular restaurant just a block away from the U.C. Berkeley campus.

The angry patron left.

Teacherninja said...

It was definitely assault since he touched me. If the librarians had thought to write down his plate # and call the cops I would have made a statement, but I think everyone was just happy to see him go. I'm in a different branch of the library today.

Thanks, C.B.

Nancy said...

Damn! I'm sorry you had that encounter.

Teacherninja said...

Thanks, Nancy. But I think it's the only bad experience I've had in a library, so I can't complain.

Doret said...

You wanna bump, LMAO you can't make something like that up. Surprised no one's done a reality tv show in a library yet.

Teacherninja said...

Or a big bookstore!