Thursday, January 15, 2009

RantFest: The Library

Buckle in kids. Auntie Wylie is sounding off.

I write at the library because I need quiet - no distractions. I chose the research department because it's in the basement (furthest spot away from the kids who are up on the top floor) and even chose a spot around the corner from the main stairs for fewest distractions.
Most days, this works. People come and go, some talk in hushed whispers, most simply get on with their library business without uttering a peep. I pop my earbuds in, tune in to some soft classical pieces - and voila, word count goes up. Usually...

So,... today this dude (not one of the regulars) sits down at a study carroll, hauls out his cell phone and starts yapping away in a normal street-volume voice! FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES!
Dude... not cool.

Yes, other library users have had quick and quiet conversations that usually consist of a whispered "I'm in the library. Call you back, kay?", which is the polite way to handle the situation, imo, but this guy clearly didn't understand the whole "shhh!" concept.
Quite a few people (including moi) tried 'the look', the throat clear, but nothing seemed to phase this guy.
And... AND... he further vexed me because was babbling in a foreign language which meant I was cheated out of a perfectly good eavesdrop!!
The nerve *huff*

On my way out, I said to the woman at the main librarian desk, that perhaps they could put a sign in the research dept politely asking patrons to refrain from cell phone usage.

But srsly... why? WHY should a sign have to go up??
WHAT happened to good old fashioned manners? Respect for others? A little decorum??

Your thoughts: Sign, manners, oh-Wylie-quit-bitching-and-write-the-damn-book-already. Take your pick!


M. said...

My last post (trenchant stuff about Ricky Gervais) got eated!

I'm sorry Wylie, I'd like to sympathize with your very reasonable rant - but I'm too busy salivating at the concept of regularly spending afternoons at the library to do nothing but write, without laundry/dishes/dust giving me the evil eye (see, chores are just as good at 'the eye' as library patrons!) *g*

Was good to see you the other day - your little man is very sweet.

Wylie Kinson said...

Hi M! Likewise nice to see and your little one. We'll have to do it more often -- maybe a park in the summer.

And you hit on the very reason I go to the library in favor of writing at the dining room table, cozied up next to the fireplace... because when I'm home, the laundry calls me, the dusting nags me, the cats demand attention...

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Our library has a no cell phone policy posted on the front doors. I've seen people ignore it, but not abuse it, if that makes sense.

Me, I feel like I need to be reachable in case the school needs me. Home is MUCH closer than the library -- and how do you get work done when there's such wonderful people ogling to do?

Wylie Kinson said...

Hey SHG! Our town library is right next door to my son's preschool, so it works out, time-wise, to be a bonus. The library is very small-townish so not much people watching down in the basement behind the steps :)
btw - I'm okay with cell phones being on as I appreciate that people must be reached 'in case of'... just not having a loud 15 minute chatfest!

J.K. Coi said...

Ouch, I hate the ones with no manners. I do the same thing during my lunch hour--take the lapster to Tim Hortons to get some writing in. I know it's loud, and a general loudness that drones and becomes like television snow I can stand, but one day this week, these three guys sit down right beside me (even though there were plenty of other seats that were NOT right beside me), and start yaking--and I'm not talking polite chitchat, but loud, obnoxious, swear words and guffaw-like laughter. Ruined my whole day--since I didn't get any writing done and went back to work in a bad mood about that.

Whoo, had a mini-rant of my own there :)

Anonymous said...

You don't want to get me started on cell phones. Even ignoring the rudeness of some users, unless you have kids or it's a job requirement, who wants to be reachable 24/7? Not me, but maybe I'm showing my age. If libraries aren't safe, what is?

Wylie Kinson said...

Hiya JK -- and yes, I know the kind! I used to hide at Starbucks for an hour every Thursday while my youngest was at a little playgroup. Most times I could, like you, ignore the white-noise chatter but every now and again there was that one woman with the extra screechy voice, or that guy with the booming laugh... and yup, takes you right out.
As for the rude library dude, I spent another 15 minutes AFTER he hung up seething, which meant nothing got written. Grrrr.
Yeah, sure, I could of moved, but that's not the point, damn it!! :D

Wylie Kinson said...

Kristy - you make me laugh!! Maybe I'm showing my age too :D :D :D

Thomma Lyn said...

What a rude, self-absorbed ass!

And I agree with you and Kristy. I don't care for cell phones (other than for emergencies or brief calls of an important nature). And I just don't understand why so many people want to be "available" / "reachable" all the time. *shudder* Hell, I need so much space that I have to hike up on a mountain on a regular basis.

Wylie Kinson said...

TL - you summed it up beautifully! LOL
Wish there was a mountain or two around here...

Shelley Munro said...

Huh! He didn't even understand "the look"! That's rude. I find people are inconsiderate with cell phones in other places too. I agree a quick call would have been okay. I'll work in the library or cafe and hubby will pick me up when he's finished a job. We have a quick conversation and that's it.

Amy Ruttan said...

That's down right rude. Okay it's just as bad as my trip to the hospital.

My OB is in the hospital, near heart monitors and stuff that ... you know ... help keep people alive not to mention keeping eye on fetuses.

A blatant sign is up on that floor, NO CELL PHONES. They aren't supposed to be on. Nothing with a WIFI connection.

Yet as I waited for my name to be called in the hallway so many of the pregnant and non pregnant people were using their freaking cell phones.

Even when I was in the examine room, the walls are thin and I could hear them going off. WTF?? This usuage could potentially disrupt someone's life.

I hardly ever keep my cell phone on. I just find it rude in public places.

Julia Smith said...

Loved the story of typewriter to bookstore! Especially how most internet marketing is done through Second Life and World of Warcraft...

As for the sad truth of having to put up signs in the library for what should already be obvious - someone who is willing to disrupt your quiet library time is more than likely going to ignore the sign about it, as well. His entitlement to yak as he pleases supercedes any empathy for you - because he has no empathy.

Maybe this will cheer you up, Wylie - Tag! You're it!