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.