For those who think they want to write.
Ever felt like you’re the premier Mr Bean character in a library?
Then you’ll understand when I explain what happens to me every Saturday at about 1pm in the Gayaam Room of the Bargoonga Nganjan North Fitzroy Library. It’s a large modern room, with good heating / air con, with one grey felted wall and the rest Ivory white plastic walls, black plastic chairs and those fold-away Ikea-ish tables with plug-ins to recharge your laptop / devices. Flouro-lit (but stylish, embedded flouros, 70s ironic, hipster woke even), it looked boardroom clinical, but then I come in, bumbling like Bridget Jones, all flops and excuse me’s and trying so very hard to be quiet but failing abysmally.
Instead I manage to trip over someone’s computer chord, launching forward and dragging his plugged-in laptop with me as I go. I avoid (narrowly) a face-plant, but his laptop doesn’t look too good. It still works though and he scowls at me as I continue to apologise, handing him back the device, and proceeding to a place at the boardroom table type desk. Unzipping my backpack I managed to unpack each item loudly and separately: diary, cartridge pen, ball point pen, phone, sunglasses, laptop, charger, orange juice bottle, lined paper in a plastic sleeve. Then I proceed noisily to take off my jacket, place it on the chair behind me, plug in my laptop and put my hair up (because who can possibly type anything worthy with their hair down?).
All this takes me a good 20 minutes. So I am “in the space” of writing, feeling like I am “really just about ready to find some sentences” and “capture the great ideas “floating around in my head” somewhere. Then my friend walks in, starts doing much the same thing, noisily, and clearly pissing off laptop man, as well as latte-sipping serious woman, and fedora hat older man. They clearly want a completely silent working space (so don’t go dropping those pins). Alas, they really should have seen us coming, up-tight jerks. We have to catch up on the latest week’s worth of stuff, despite their heavy sighing and tsking, and we can’t care less about the eye-rolling. In fact, that is the one thing that makes me laugh. Out loud. With orange juice tears pouring from my nose, which of course sends my friend into hysterics. And she falls backwards on her chair, onto serious latte woman, who shrieks back in horror at having to touch another human being. Fedora man yells out “OH FER FUCKS’ SAKE!!!”, grabs his stuff and storms out of the room.
Which, of course, elicits more guttural snorting laughter from us. Laptop man turns to us saying “Libraries are supposed to be quiet.”
“Yes, but then so are laptops and they’re not really, especially when you use them to trip up unsuspecting library patrons.”
“That’s it. I’m going to talk to the staff downstairs. This is unacceptable.” And with that, he tries to angrily stuff all his belongings in his pannier, which looks like it has seen better days, and really doesn’t fit much. He leaves with his laptop falling out of the pannier, and the charger chord dragging along behind him.
Not half a hilarious exit.
More orange juice out my nose as we laugh uproariously.
Then the librarian comes up. Nice middle-aged ginger-bearded man, with stove-pipe mustard coloured pants and a hoodie.
“Hi there. You know that this room is supposed to be a quiet working space for members, right?”
“Yes, of course. Is there a problem?”
“Well, this gentleman has made a complaint that you have been a bit rowdy. If you could just keep noise to a minimum, we won’t have a problem.”
“Of course. Sorry, but he did have his charger chord where I had to step over it.”
“Yes well that’s what the power points in the tables are for. I’ll have a word to him. Cheers for helping out.”
“No worries. You’re welcome.”
He left and went downstairs. I think he was relieved.
And below, the raised voice of Laptop Man could be heard…”What? I was in the wrong? Are you kidding me????”
Then I got about 20 minutes of “writing” and “brainstorming” on Facebook done, and sadly, it was time to go.