Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Conduct unbecoming

Hanging out in the library of a nearby town, the same place where we hand out pizza on Friday night. Been trying, unsuccessfully, to hunt down a woman who is on the verge of eviction. Bit of an ongoing drama. Hope it resolves itself soon. This is my second public library today, the first being in the town where I live. I took the baby to something I call Dan the stoned out music man after prying the maracas out of J;s hand I headed to the restroom. The librarian powers that be has posted intimidating notices everywhere forbidding eating, leaving things in aisles and misusing the bathroom, the first two of which crimes and misdemeanors I commit on a pretty regular basis. The Summa of the notice is thus: those committing acts unbecoming of public library may be asked to leave.

I think the library has confused itself with Barnes and Noble. But the Barnes and Noble is actually pretty tolerant of homeless people, the group that this notice is obviously meant to intimidate. I think of all the ‘acts unbecoming of a library” I have committed over the years. The lemonheads I consumed with the Girl Scout dues my leader never remembered to collect, the games of Dungeons and Dragons or Risk that the geeky boys I hung out with would play and in which I would feign interest, while at the same time trying to look impressive by reading the wasteland. (I was a teenager whose pretension truly was unlimited). There was an old green velvet couch on which I would often take long naps after school (now also apparently forbidden). Of course some of my conduct was “becoming of a public library” I read, a lot.

But as said I don’t think the library was talking about me, or the candy sneaking Ts Eliot reading young thing I once was. I think its more about keeping people who make us uncomfortable out of public spaces so that we can read The Progressive and the New Yorker in peace. Cynical much?


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