Saturday, October 15, 2011

Perils of a Library Goer

College is an intense place full of homework, obligations, and most importantly, distractions. That's what generally brings frustrated undergrads to the library. It's a good, quiet place to study because everyone's studying or doing school related things. No one is going to ask you to go get frozen yogurt at the library unless they seriously don't understand what the library is for. Granted it's full of Asians (whom you're sure are talking about you in their native tongues), people talking to themselves when it gets closer to midterms and finals as they start to lose their sanity a little, and then, of course, there are those people who you want to drop kick down the stairs because they have the audacity to answer their phone in a study area. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!? However, it's generally a good place to lock yourself into for a few hours and get some much needed work done.

That's what brought me to my favorite library on campus the other day, and that's what started my whole perilous day of perils.

Peril Number One: finding that your favorite place to study is being occupied by some sort of expo. Everyone has a favorite study spot at the library, whether you like to lock yourself in one of those horrifying, solitary confinement study rooms, or if you like to park yourself in a large reading room populated with a demographic that is roughly 50% Asian and 50% not Asian. Finding out that your favorite spot to study is unavailable is annoying. You feel that you work best in that environment and when it's unavailable you find yourself in a bit of an identity crisis: can I study somewhere else? Should I just go now?

If you're like me, you like the reading rooms and you like the more relaxed of the two study rooms your library offers. It has large windows so, when you get bored, you can look out the window and try to figure out where the people walking around campus are going. Also there's a fair amount of space between you and your neighbors- everyone generally keeping to the movie theater rule (leaving a seat between other seats). The study room I ended up in, however, was the more intense of the two.

Problem: it's SILENT and echos like a mofo. This is a stressful feeling in a study room. It causes paranoia as you wonder if others can hear the Prince music your'e jamming out to or you chewing your Garden Salsa Sun Chips (deliciousness).
Problem: you're a lot closer to the people around you, making it uncomfortable when one of your neighbors stares off into space mouthing words to themselves, or the Asian girl across from you gives her Asian guy friend dirty looks for not being able to figure out the math homework that looks like it was written in Sanskrit it's so above the math you've ever seen.

Peril Number Two: arriving at the library without all the necessary materials for studying. That is literally the most annoying thing that could ever happen to a human being, especially when you live off campus. It immediately spirals you into a terrible dilemma: you can either pretend you didn't forget the shit you need to do the assignment you wanted to do and pretend that you want to do another less important assignment, or you can leave the undoubtedly great location you got for your studying endeavors and pick up your shit.
Peril Number Three: Witnessing a member of the cleaning staff vomit on the stairs he was cleaning. This experience is hopefully not so common for everyone. I pray to every deity that I never hear anyone say,

"you know when you're walking down the steps of the library to get a snack and some caffeine and you see the the cleaning guy sweeping the stairs and start to mentally prepare to slip by him without having to engage in any kind of communication?"

"Yeah?"

"Oh good, yeah and then you notice that the sweeping guy has a kind of frown on his face and makes some odd coughing sounds, and you wonder if there's something kind of wrong with him?"

"YEAH!'

"Yeah, and then he vomits on the stairs you're going down, and you're just frozen in horror."

"YES! Happens to me all the time!"

"Oh god, and then he gives you a slightly rueful smile suggesting that you guys are in this together and you're like FUCK THAT, as he slides to the side of the step and gently sweeps up the small puddle of orange vomit that just poured out of his mouth. You slide by, eyes wide with horror, unable to shake the image from your mind as you go buy your Sun Chips and Diet Coke?"

"Yeah! Happened to me last time I was at the library!"

That would easily be the most disturbing thing to happen to people all the time and, not to mention, a serious reflection on who library management hires to sweep its stairs. Why are their employees throwing up orange vomit on a regular basis? Do they keep Tang in the break room instead of coffee?

I would also like to point out for good measure that I am not a racist. I have no problem with Asians and their computers that America has never seen before. I kid you not a kid two seats away from me was using a computer the size of a large flip of calculator; it was probably a 3 by 4 screen. Their overwhelming presence in the library is pure fact.

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