Thursday, July 14, 2011

In Search of Silence

Please let me rant tell you about my yesterday.

It's 10:00am.  I get to the library as it opens (as per uge/yooj).  I spread my stacks of books and pens and papers and supplies (re: candy) all over the table with purposeful selfishness to ward away potential desk-mates.  I open my books, highlighter poised.

And then, the loudness begins.

It starts with the piercing chip bag scrunch.  I could have sworn it was one of those ear-damaging Sun Chips bags, but apparently they stopped making those.  Whatever.  Still not socially acceptable.

Then it's the other guy with the iPod.  Volume pumped to the max so that everyone knows that that guy's listening to techno to get his study on.  To all you people out there who think your headphone buds are vacuum sealed to your ears, letting nary a sound wave escape: I CAN HEAR YOU (unfortunately).

But it's OK, I can do techno.  At least it's not trumpet scales or something.

A few minutes later, the crazy old man at the corner desk joins in.  Apparently, the lists of numbers he's been furiously copying have given him all sorts of new material for his conspiracy theory, which he so generously decides to share with all of us.  Who knew there was so much hidden meaning in the page numbers from the index of a coffee-table book about the history of L.A.

He tires himself out; he falls asleep.  Now it's just the iPod depriving me of 10% of my brain power.  Until around 11:00am, that is, when we get the CD riflers.  Yes, apparently people in the world still listen to CDs, and all of them come to the Santa Monica library to check them out.  They never know what they want, so they rifle.  Endlessly.  Slamming the plastic cases back against each other like they mean it.

My annoyance builds with every slap, and anger punctuates my thin layer of focus.  I glare over the railing down at the CD racks, hoping to at least make someone feel bad.  No one notices.  Of course not; they are too busy slapping CD cases togetherW. T. F.

In a moment of attempted rationality, I console myself with the thought that this is a public library, after all, so I really don't have a right to complain, right?  <Cue crazy guy yelling about Vietnam.>  Too public for me.

So I relocate.  I sweep up my books and I trudge through the stacks, seeking a desk without a deskmate, a corner without an iPod.  I climb stairs, I peer around corners, I pace hallways.  And then, I find it: The Perfect Study Spot.  A corner with only one desk.  By a window (with the shade down).  Surrounded by books.  A nice painting on the wall.  Odor-free.

....And right on top of the blasting air conditioner.

So I shivered in silence.

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