Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another Funny Thing Happened at the Library...

I would venture to guess that if you were to conduct a survey of the number of attractive women that frequent the public library, compared to the number of deeply disturbed gentlemen that frequent the library, you would find that disturbed gentlemen outnumber attractive women by a margin of six to one. This, I have noticed, is a rather unfortunate truth that the gentler sex has had to deal with, as deeply disturbed gentlemen seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to confront and hit on these poor ladies whose only desired companionship is that of a good book.

This is why I generally refrain from approaching women at the library, for fear that they will assume I am disturbed. That, and the fact that you're suppose to be quiet at a library, but mostly the first thing.

But the other day, as I was at a table, writing away and minding my own business, I found myself confronted by an attractive woman. She was an older woman, older than me at least. I would say she was somewhere between 33-36. She was ethnic, maybe Persian. And she was cute. She was definitely cute. Especially when she smiled. When I first saw her she was smiling at me.

"Excuse me." She said as she approached me. "But do you know where the other outlets are. I need to plug in my computer." She motioned to my computer, which was plugged into one of the outlets below the table.

"Oh, no. I think that is the only one." I said casually-yet confidently. "You can have it if you want. My computer has a few hours charged already."

"I tell you what," She said as she leaned closer towards me. "Why don't we just share your charger. I have the same computer as you, we can just trade off."

"OK!" I agreed, a little too eagerly. I made a mental note to tone down the enthusiasm.

And so for the next hour, we sat at the table and shared my charger. Our system was pretty brilliant if  I do say so myself. One of us would use the charger for ten minutes and then the other would use it for the next ten. But here was the brilliant part about it. Every time we would trade off, one of us would ask a question about the other. We would talk quietly for a few minutes, learning a little more about each other, and then go back to our work, before doing the whole thing again ten minutes later.

After an hour of this, I knew quite a bit about this fellow librarian dweller. Her name was Anna (not her real name) and she was Armenian. She had lived in Armenia for most of her life. But she moved out here some years ago and now worked part time in a bar in Pasadena, and lived with her mom in a small house. And she learned quite a bit about me too. She learned that I was a strong, impressive writer who had been mostly ignored by the Hollywood system because of his focus of substance over flashy writing. Oh yes, she knew me quite well.

We both knew each other so well, that I felt confident enough to ask her to join me for coffee at the coffee stand just outside the library.

"No, it's okay, I'm really not thirsty." She replied. This left me dejected, but I did not show it. Instead, I increased my typing speed by 40 percent, showing her how truly skilled I was. Ten minutes later she popped her head out from her laptop and looked over at me.

"You know, Randy," She smiled playfully as she said my name. "I actually think a coffee would be great right now." 

Gotcha, I thought. The typing fast manuever always works on the ladies.

And so, we stepped out of the library for coffee. Unfortunately the first thing she noticed was that I did not, in fact, order I coffee, but rather a grape soda.

"Truthfully I can't stand coffee." I explained. "But I thought it would be easier to talk to you out here than in there." I said. And then I waited. This was the moment of truth. Would she be annoyed by my deception, even fearing that I was actually one of those disturbed library types, or would she find my directness endearing, even attractive?

She smiled playfully again and I let out an almost non-existent sigh of relief.

"Very sneaky, mister."

We sat down at a patio table, and for the first time since we met, we had a conversation in normal, audible voices. And we talked about a great many things. The weather, the people of LA, the traffic, all the usual b.s. that people talk about while drinking coffee and grape soda. But then I asked her what it was like to be Armenian in Los Angeles and things got interesting.

"Well, for the most part, I don't really think people treat me any different. But-" She paused suddenly. As if she had something important to say, but wasn't sure if she should share it. 

"Go on. Say what you were gonna say."

"I don't know if I should. We just met each other."

"We shared computer cords, Anna. That's a connection that can never be broken." I joked. She laughed.

"OK. It's just that... I feel like we Armenians just have a better grasp of the world we live in." I opened my mouth, but before I could get a word out she reached over and touched my hand, which instantly silenced me. "I'm not saying that we are smarter than anyone else. It's not that. It's just that, the Armenians have been through so much, so much suffering and bitter disappointment, we had no other choice but to learn the hard truth about life."

"What kind of hard truth?" I asked while slyly looking down at the pretty hand that was touching mine. 

"Like, for example, the fact that this country, the US, is completely controlled by a secret society. A society that holds power over everyone and everything."

"Uh huh..." I muttered in confusion. I could tell she wasn't happy with this response, as her pretty finger left mine abruptly. I did not like this, so I tried to keep her talking.

"So, um, what secret society is this, exactly?"

She leaned in across the table. "The Masons. It's the secret society of the Masons. They are the real leaders over this country. And they will use their puppet to destroy the people of America."

"Puppet?" I ask.

"Obama, of course. He is not the real leader of this country, he is just some pet of theirs. And if he gets reelected the Masons will have completed their final piece of their plan. Then your country will turn into the Soviet Union, just like mine did."

"Did the Masons have power over your country too?"

"No, but clearly they are following their plan."

"I see..." I said, because I had no fucking clue of what else to say.

"I'm telling you!" She exclaimed rather suddenly. "You cannot vote for that man! He is under the Masons control! You must vote for the other one. Romney. He is his own man. He will destroy all of the Masons if he is elected. You must believe me!"

But I didn't believe her. And I was kinda weirded out by this current turn of events. So I slurped my grape soda in silence and tried to think of something to say.

"So, can I get your phone number?" I finally said. Because why not, right?

That night, I laid in my bed and wondered a great many things. I wondered if Anna was the female version of the deeply disturbed library dwellers. I wondered if it was fair to call her that considering she was from a different country and had, evidently, seen a lot more hardship than I ever will. And then I thought, what if she is actually right, and I'm the fool for not believing her. What if ten years from now I will be standing in a deserted street, huddled around a fire barrel while America burns all around me, thinking back to that one cute girl from the library who tried her best to warn me of the dangers ahead.

Either way, I finally thought, I should probably wait two days before I text her.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened at the Library

Well technically, it didn't happen at the library, it happened outside the library, in the parking lot.  I was out there in my car waiting for a spot. You see, unlike many of the public libraries in LA, the Pasadena library is a nice, clean library. This is why many people go there. This is why I go there. But, as a result, it can be difficult to secure a parking spot there. While this can be frustrating, it is not nearly as frustrating as the library closest to my place, where there are only five "good" seats inside. What does that mean, you ask? It means that these seats are separated from the rest of the seating, which means you don't have to deal with the loud, disturbed people that come in and out of the library all day. These five seats are so coveted that when the library opens its doors in the morning, there is a mad dash of ten or more people to get those seats. Ten grown people scuffling quietly but as quickly as possible down the library, playing the saddest game of musical chairs in the history of the world. I have played this game many times. I am not a proud man.   

 So yeah, now I go to the Pasadena Library, and I've graduated from mad dasher to parking space stalker. It's like Harvey Dent said in The Dark Knight, "You either die the hero, or live long enough to become that weird guy outside of libraries who just waits for a parking spot."

Anyway, so there I was, waiting in my car near the library exit, hoping to catch someone on the way to their car. Finally I see a person, an older Middle Eastern gentleman, leaving with a book under his arms. My shrewd detective skills told me that this meant that the man was probably leaving the library for good. So, not wanting to lose him to another parking lot stalker (there always out there, sometimes in hiding), I called out to him from my car.

"Excuse me sir, are you leaving?'

The man stopped walking and turned to me.

"Yes, good man. I am. Would you like my spot?" He said this with a great smile and a voice full of hope.

"That would be great! Thanks!"

"Just follow me, my good man, follow me!" He said with the same cheery disposition.

So now I was driving alongside him as he walked to his car. As I was driving, I felt a great amount of debt to this man, not just because he was giving me his spot, but because I had been feeling rather down about life earlier (in case you were wondering, I am living the library-dweller lifestyle because I recently got back into town and need to find more work), but now thanks to this man's genuine charm and hopefulness, I found myself feeling better about everything.

Perhaps this was the reason that I felt compelled to talk to him.

"So what'd you end up getting?" I asked him as we continued to slowly move down the parking lot.

"Oh you mean this?" He excitedly pulled up the book he was holding. I nodded. "This book is called Superbug. It's about this new disease that has been popping up in hospitals around the country."

"Oh, so it's like a fictional thriller book?"

"No, no, my good man. This is a true book. The disease is real. My friend got it while he was in the hospital. And then he gave it to me. Look, this is where I got it." He pushed his forearm close to my face, pointing out the discolored blotched circle on his skin. I think at this point I made an awkward grunting noise, but I can't be sure.

"And now, would you believe it, I have boils, big painful boils, all over here, and here, and here." He said as he motioned to his rear end and upper leg area.

"Oh...that's horrible. Do you know how you got it from your friend?" I asked, now thinking about my own well being more than his.

"I don't have a clue! That's why I got this book." He said with the same cheerfulness he had used when we were talking about parking spaces. It was as if this scary new disease he was now carrying, and potentially spreading, was like a fun little mystery from him to solve.

I could feel my butt start to itch.

"Well, good luck on all that sir."

"And good luck to you too, my good man!" He said, although I was not sure exactly what he meant by that. And then he got in his car and began to pull out. And just as he did, another car pulled into the lot on the other side of him. This new car seemed intent on claiming his parking spot. But before I could get angry, the Middle Eastern man rolled down his window and said to the other driver:

"Excuse me, my good man, this young gentleman has been waiting for this spot. I'm sorry."

And can you believe it, the other driver actually left. The Middle Eastern man then smiled and waved at me before leaving me with his beautiful empty spot.

"What a nice man," I said to myself. "I hope he didn't give me a horrible disease."

Then I scratched my butt, and thought long and hard about the life I was leading.

Then I went home and took a shower.

The End