The Library


As an expert in people watching I cannot recommend a more entertaining place to disappear into a corner and judge our fellow human beings. First of all, it is very easy place to disappear and no one really questions you sitting in the corner silently,this behavior tends to freak people out otherwise.

The most prevalent, and very best thing, about the people you see in the library on Saturday morning is the self-satisfied smirk that everyone is wearing to one degree or another that clearly says, “Look how intellectual and smart I am, I am in the library, and I’m here to get a book unlike all of you other aimless library go-ers.” The smirk prevails even when they nonchalantly walk past the map one or twelve times in an attempt to figure out where they actually want to be without giving anyone the impression that they don’t know exactly where they want to be (thus cracking the self-important facade).

But even before the map-sign dance there is the entrance. Besides the cranky library card officials who quite honestly have nothing better to do, there’s the people who don’t walk far enough in to actually make contact with any books, but stick to the free DVD rentals- and maybe glance at the New Arrivals shelf just to legitimize their trip. Yet, for some reason, they have no qualms about surveying you from head to toe when you walk in and trying to guess which department you’re headed to. Obviously the very tiny people have given themselves away by being children and thus go to the room allotted to them. Everyone else has five seconds in which their clothes, facial expression, and carrying device are all scrutinized even though everyone watching is going to find out where you’re going in about three seconds. You can practically see the bets being placed.

I was in a black sundress, smiling, with my purse- so it was generally assumed that I was going to do some damage in chick lit. Or, since I’m blonde, not-so-subtly venture into the picture books. When I made a beeline for the Reference section there were more than a couple dropped jaws, and not a couple of people waiting for me to circle back with a look of utter confusion. Never underestimate the power of a little advance googling.

I not only knew what section the book I wanted was in, but had memorized the reference number and walked straight to it without any assistance. One must be careful not to adapt the put upon airs of the grad students who have been sequestered in there for so long they feel you are intruding on their living room- pretentious is never cute. But the confidence of “Yes, I know where all of the books are” is just smug enough to make you feel like hot library shit. And that’s not a bad accomplishment for a Saturday morning.

Please avert your eyes from the archive basement dwellers on your way out. Or have coffee with them- it’s a good habit not to judge anything by its cover.

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