Hard not to be an old fuddy duddy but public libraries have become a vile new haven for the worthless and the dregs of the streets. Sad enough that books and periodicals, (that’s magazines and newspapers to the unenlightened), in favor of videos, cd’s and computers, but now that the clientele has degraded to the snoring unwashed and the pedophiles, perverts and those too poor to use McDonalds for their internet connection, it’s not a fit place to visit. There is an aroma of cheese in the air, and not a good cheese but the scent of a yeast grown in nasty socks or between the toes of an untouchable. It permeates the air and it’s difficult not to hold a bludgeoning grudge against whoever is emitting it, (hope it’s not me). It might be the older woman with the shopping bags, seven, that has been answering her cell phone, (yup, vagrants got phones) loudly every few minutes and explaining that she’s at the library and about to run out of minutes. Might not be her, she is reading, a paperback bodice ripper she brought in herself, and swilling a can of pop, maybe, it’s still in the sack, while toying with her hair. Hope it was the young homeless guy just now leaving, shouldering a battered army green backpack after his nap. Next to where he was sitting is a man whose head has lolled back and forth under his baseball hat a couple of times, mostly when his own snores disturbed his slumber.
The students are still in school, the high school students anyway, some of the community college students are bent over their research materials or netbooks. They have my profound respect, they patiently ignore the chip-crunching, loud woman and the snoozing homeless. Last week one student had the tact to wake someone who was snoring in a loud guttural, diesel engine rumble with an, ” Excuse me.” when I would have kicked the chair from under him if I had the nerve.