Thursday, January 25, 2007

Trash Talking

The gray skies reflected my mood perfectly; I wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep the day away. Unfortunately, the world still revolves despite my wishes otherwise, and so I had to emerge into it.

At the top of my errand list: the library. Generally, the library cheers me up - all those books, all those words, knowledge and characters hidden away, waiting to be discovered usually causes my heart to grow a size or two.

Why was I in such a funk? I couldn't say; the holidays were rushing up ever closer, and the fact that it was Sunday meant the weekend was drawing to it's inevitable close and the thought of a full week of work just made me want to curl up in a ball.

So there but for the grace of God I went, and of course I arrived ten minutes too early. So there I stood with about 20 other bibiophiles, students and wayward souls.

As I leaned against a pillar thumbing through a book, the voices rang out nearby:

"Is this yours? Here, I think you dropped it."

"What the hell are you doing?" replied a second voice.

I looked up to see a tall, lanky middle-aged man who looked as if he were still living in the '60s - and couldn't be happier, standing next to a dark blue, beaten-up sedan. The driver of the sedan shouted out.

"Don't throw things in my car, man. What's your problem?" And he threw a scrap of paper out the window at the aging hippie.

The hippie, nonplussed, picked up the scrap, tossed it back into the car through the open window. "I don't have a problem; I don't like litterers."

The paper shot back out the window. "You throw that back in this car again and you'll be sorry!"

Back in the window. "There's a bank of trash cans just right there. Use them!"

Out the window, and followed by the driver's side door opening. A younger, thick guy around my age stood up. He was wearing a shirt the same color his car once was and a deep scowl on his face. "Stop messing with my property, man!"

The hippie pointed to the ground. "This is your property too! I'm tired of people messing with my property! Why aren't you?"

The guy stomped around to the hippie and stood in his face. "I don't like litterers either, but I don't like you messing with my stuff."

"I'm just cleaning up after you."

At this point, a third man enters the scuffle. "Good Lord! Here -- I'll pick it up. Why are you acting like this? There's kids around! Just pick it up and let it go!"

He stepped between them and picked up the offending scrap and carried it to a trash can.

At this point, the car owner began appealing/attacking the crowd. "I don't like litterers either, but this is wrong. I'm going to have security ban you and you from the library!" he said this while pointing at the hippie and the samaritan.

People started giggling and rolling their eyes. "The holidays must be getting closer," a woman muttered - loud enough for everyone to hear.

"I don't like trash and litterers either! Why don't you just mind your own business?" the car owner stared whining.

The doors opened and he stormed into the library. Everyone else followed.

Throughout all this, I stood there, leaning against my pillar, trying not to laugh at the utter ridiculousness of the situation. I might have tried to stop the fight had it happened, but I didn't feel any need to get involved otherwise.

However, something cheered me about the exchange. Maybe it was the triumph of the rational people over the goofy litterer. Maybe it was the way the hippie handled the situation. Or maybe it was the fact that I wasn't the only one the holidays were apparently getting to.

In short, I think it helps to know that nothing helps a foul mood to know that there's always someone grouchier and moodier than you.

Or maybe I don't like litterers.

I followed the crowd into the library, took care of business and moved on with the beginnings of a smile on my face.


Student of Life said...

This post put a smile on my cranky face, too. Thanks for the link. I added you to my links as well. I love your writing.

Brian said...


I sat on this for awhile, since I never had time to write about it, but man, I couldn't have asked for a funnier way to spend 10 minutes on a Sunday.

Chilly said...

You see the weirdest stuff. I never see things like this.