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)