The Third-Weirdest Person I've Ever Encountered at a Public Library

I am a person who spends a lot of time writing in coffee shops and libraries. I do this because working from my apartment gets lonely and boring, and because my sink is always full of dirty dishes and I hate being reminded of that fact. I realize I could just do the dishes, but what do you take me for? Someone who tackles their problems directly? Absolutely not.

So I go to these coffee shops, and I sit there and I work, and apparently I am wearing a sign on my back that that says "COME TALK TO ME, AND PLEASE BE AS WEIRD AS POSSIBLE" because this happens constantly.

Take today, for instance. I was working at the library. A man in a suit approached me and asked if he could sit in the adjacent cubicle. I thought he was going to read a book, or work on his laptop, or perhaps take a surreptitious nap before his conference call with a guy named Trent.

I did not think he was going to begin whisper-singing along to screamo music right there in the middle of the periodicals section, but I guess life is full of surprises.

Look, I'm not usually one to tell people where they should or shouldn't be singing along to screamo music. I just thought the public library would be one of those places you’d think of and then think, "Mm, probably shouldn’t."

Twice the librarian came over to tell him to keep his voice down, and twice he apologized before apparently forgetting about the interaction entirely. Within minutes, he was back at it. I could have moved seats, I suppose, but I was drawn to this inexplicable puzzle of a man, drawn to him like a moth to a flame. The rest of us are bound by social etiquette and cowardice; he answers to no one, plays by different rules, bows to different gods. And I had questions. Boy, did I have questions. Why had he gone to the library only to whisper-sing in a cubicle? Why was he wearing a suit? Who was this man? Was he a man at all?

Now, he is not the weirdest person I've ever encountered at the public library, but he's up there.

23 comments

  1. I really like your writing! keep it up girl!

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    1. I hate everything you stand for in this world. You

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  2. Why didn't you ask him?

    (Only just found your blog but this entry is only about a month old so I'll give it a shot.)

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    1. PS I'll read more if I don't lose the link.

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    2. I wasn't sure I could handle the answers.

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  3. Very lively writing.. it seems like talking to a person

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  4. I read sparknotes for my academic purpose and I feel it gives a spark to my knowledge. Lots are doubts about literature are cleared.. is there any other way to talk to you...

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  5. So now you know how to answer a similar question in the future: If I say 'yes', how likely am I to regret that answer, seeing as I'm someone who appreciates a quiet library?

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  6. I read your post and it made me feel like dung !!!

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    1. I concur with this thorough analysis

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  8. I like this: "COME TALK TO ME, AND PLEASE BE AS WEIRD AS POSSIBLE". There is no thing as "weird" itself, only "weird good" or "weird bad". We all are weird good/bad in someone's other perspective.

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  9. Omg I love your posts on Sparklife/Sparknotes and this post was adorable:)... Will keep following you

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  11. How do I know if i am having sex?

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  12. What's the purpose of even using headphones? Don't you think that we would all rather hear a professional's recording over an amateur's whisper-serenade?

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  13. Why do you think so much...? He's there cuz he wants to, could be as simple as that. But I guess you need material to write about, so eh, good job!

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  14. Protip on doing dishes quickly & easily. Use only durable plastic plates, bowls & cups. Dump them into the washing machine (upright washer only!) and wash it on hot, preferably with liquid laundry detergent. Stuff comes out clean with minimal effort. Just dump 'em in, then pump 'em out. Weird but effective, and if you don't tell anyone then no one will know. =)

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  15. Hello Courtney, I'm just a friend trying to help out. You'd be less lonely and unhappy if you got a part-time job which involves interacting with people in person, (something easy like a barista, cashier, or circulation desk assistant), and if you tried not to judge people for their quirks and focused on looking for their inner benevolence. Also, maybe you could still land a nice husband if you changed your appearance by getting rid of the bangs, trying smaller glasses, and smiling with your lips closed, and tried to CARPE DIEM by worrying less about judgement and texting boys more. I've read your "Never Been Kissed" series, and about how overjoyed you were when you got your first kiss from some frat boy when you were 22, so don't pretend that you don't care about this!

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    1. I really hope you don't go around telling people how not to smile. Making someone feel self-conscious about their smile is one of the worst things you can do.

      That said, I didn't kiss a frat boy when I was 22, I don't want a husband, and I don't care what you think about my face. I hope this addresses your most prominent concerns.

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    2. Anonymous: so rude and condescending. Great response, Courtney.

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