Tuesday, March 26, 2019

People at the Library

I'm at the George Bothwell library in south Regina, surrounded by high school students. An angsty guy is sitting directly behind me listening to rap music sans headphones (yikes, these lyrics are decidedly inappropriate for the afternoon library crowd) and staring at the back of my head. I know, because I can feel it, and because I peeked a few minutes ago and saw that he was. Still as a statue. What's the science behind being able to feel a look?

A kid came up to me a bit ago and asked what grade I'm in. I said, "No grade; I don't get to go to school anymore. You?"

She grinned. "No grade either! Kindergarten!"

We chatted about kindergarten and about being nervous to go to school for the first time and stuff like that and then, while I was telling her that my son will go to kindergarten in the fall, she stood abruptly and walked away, as though she'd gotten really bored with me really fast. Maybe I should've been offended, but I just felt jealous of her ability to suddenly and unapologetically exit a conversation that didn't, you know, "spark joy" or whatever.

I'm at the back, by the big windows. There are comfortable chairs with wooden TV trays in front of them; it's too comfortable a situation to be productive, but today I've decided to think in circles instead of move forward (both are important). I'm people-watching, too, which is also important—you have to watch people if you want to know how to write about them.

So far:

A tiny woman in a luxurious velvet dress with a large bow on the back of it, and a shiny gold purse. She is hunched over a table, highlighting things in a migonstrous textbook and has a little girl with her who is content to sit at the table beside her and read book after book. They have matching hair, mother and daughter, shiny and black and shoulder-length.

A teenaged girl with a toque and scarf, seemingly walking the perimeter of the library without stopping to look at anything in particular, who scowls at me every time she goes past. She has short, fluffy, curly hair and thick, fuzzy eyebrows that sit low over her eyes.

An older lady and a boy, probably in his teens. She's a guidance counselor, I think. She's asking him about his "plans" and he's talking so low that I can't hear what he's saying. Maybe they're an unexpected bank robber duo. Maybe they're planning a heist.

A troubled-looking man who looks like he probably always looks troubled even when he isn't. He's sitting at a table staring at the magazines like they're what's troubling him, but a minute ago it was the carpet, and before that it was something out the window. Trouble everywhere.

Three girls at one of the big tables. They look like they're straight out of a movie; very fashionable and put together—and the product placement! A Manchu Wok bag, Booster Juice cups, Coke and Pepsi bottles, an Orange Julius... Everything's labels are fully visible and facing me, like I'm the camera.

I always wish, when I write posts like this, that someone across the room was writing a similar one, and that we could compare notes, and that I could read what they wrote about me.


A blonde woman by the big windows in a comfy chair. Too comfortable-looking to be productive. Watching everyone; thinks she's being inconspicuous but really isn't. Probably cuts her own hair.