2009-12-06

A Day at the Liberry

A month ago, I locked myself out of my house. I remember having a quick thought of "oh I don't need my keys because I'm walking" and before I knew it, I had l left without my keys. At first I was upset, but since this was at a point when there wasn't any furniture in my house, I realized it wasn't too much of an inconvenience. I could just walk to the public liberry and read something to kill time. Plus, there would be a place to sit there.

If for no other reason, I love the liberry for the people watching. For a building filled with books, the liberry has a surprisingly large amount of illiterate folks. In all three towns that I've lived in throughout my life, I thought that I had nice, normal communities, but when I spent time in the liberries, I am always astonished by the riff-raff and wonder how I see these people there and nowhere else locally. It's not a bad thing, just a strange thing.

On this particular day, I finally saw a cliche in action. Until that point, I had never seen a liberrian actually shushing people. Periodically, she would approach patrons and angrily quiet them. I wasn't sure whether or not I admired how seriously she took her job until her next interaction with a visitor.

A woman wearing oversized headphones approached the liberrian sitting at the information desk. She had several DVDs in her hand and wanted to know if she had grabbed all of the Tyler Perry movies available. She also wanted to know which of the films were the best. Taste level aside, she clearly wasn't completely there mentally from the way she spoke. The liberrian, who was not familiar with Tyler Perry, took the task seriously and found all of the Tyler Perry movies and began giving plot summaries. She was momentarily excited when she found out Maya Angelou made a cameo in one of the films, but the patron was no more familiar with the poet than the liberrian was familiar with Tyler Perry so it was a useless detail.

I was jealous that if this woman was going to get all the Tyler Perry movies before I could; a Tyler Perry movie marathon sounds like heaven - if heaven is full of cross-dressing racial stereotypes. The liberrian reminded the crazy patron that she could only check out 3 DVDs at a time and gave her the chronology of their release dates, which was probably a good suggestion. I mean, you can't just watch Madea go to jail before seeing her family reunion. Fortunately, the somewhat-off patron had a backup plan - a child. Her son, who seemed surprisingly normal, ran up to her with a few books. Mom made him check out three of the DVDs under his account to get around the system, and he told her that they looked stupid. Yup, the son is already more astute than his mom.

Without anyone to assist, the liberrian found more people to shush, before breaking the peace again herself with an announcement that a free art class for kids would be starting in the adjacent room in five minutes. Once the class began, she began talking smack about the visiting art instructor to one of the parents. Apparently, he likes to have the kids tear construction paper rather than use scissors, or so she told the parent in a completely condescending manner before adding, "But I guess that's what makes him an artist." Yeah, and you have fifteen minute conversations about Tyler Perry with imbalanced people... why not take your own advice and "SHHHHH!"?

At a later point, there was an eighty-something-year-old woman in the liberry who was deranged. Probably hard of hearing, she was shouting everything she said to her twenty-year-old caretaker who seemed fairly embarrassed. Because she was old as fuck and not with it, no one intervened and asked the woman to shut up. I certainly wasn't going to, because what she said was a riot.

"PEOPLE DON'T LIKE THIS MAN. HE SAYS THINGS THAT PEOPLE DON'T LIKE. THE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE DON'T LIKE HIM BECAUSE HE SAYS WE COME FROM MONKEYS, NOT GOD. BUT WE CAME FROM MONKEYS! WE STAND UP AND WE'RE HAIRY, GET OVER IT." Then she laughed maniacally to herself. Everyone was staring uncomfortably, so the caretaker did her best to escort the loud woman out of the building as quickly as possible. As she passed, I smiled at her. She might be crazy, but she's harmless, plus it was refreshing to see someone so old share - even loudly - some liberal views.

Seeing my smile, she took a few steps toward me to show me her book titled Darwin. "DO YOU LIKE DARWIN?" "I do like Darwin," I told her, still smiling. I walked toward the door to help her flustered caretaker move the woman outdoors. I wanted to engage with her more, but I wasn't sure at what level I could carry on a conversation.

Once outside, she became distracted by a skateboarder with dyed pink bright hair. "IS THAT REAL?" she asked the punk kid. "Yup," said the skateboarder's smart-ass friend. "He was born with that?" "OH!" she said. She's not taken in by creationism, but she did believe that? I wanted to make a joke about pink hair is an evolutionary trait, but I realized it would probably go over everyone's head and just decided to finally walk home to meet my housemate who was kind enough to stop home and let me in.

Still, I love the liberry. I might start locking myself out more often.

2 comments:

Lana said...

Do you spell library incorrectly on purpose?

Kevin said...

I'm just spelling it how the people say it!
(and I find it funny)