Monday, May 9, 2016

Don't You Wag Your Fingers at Me

What is wrong with people?

I wish I knew.

Today, I was struggling to finish some work at a computer in the library. If I have to wait for Nick to finish at Driver's Ed, I might as well get something done. Using the library computers helps to keep my load lighter. All I have to carry is a small binder with notes and a thumb drive.

I sat there, stumped about where I needed to put some text. People around me were loud and obnoxious. Some guy across from me tried unsuccessfully to get the librarian to fix his problem. I would have sworn he was the same guy monopolizing the librarian last week. People chatted. They talked to their computer screens. It was not easy to concentrate.

Then, the man who was sitting to my left caught my eye and said, "Let me use your pen."

Now, I like my pen. They don't make this kind of Itoya pen any more and it's getting harder to find refills. People might not realize it, but when I give them one of my Itoya pens, it's a high honor.

This guy did not register on that scale so I pretended to be hard of hearing.

"Let me use your pen," he repeated and pointed.

"What?" I said, finally looking at him, not moving toward my pen.

"Let me use your pen," he said slowly as if speaking to an idiot. Then he waggled his pinky and his ring finger together. That motion that is so akin to a finger snap that I hate it and anyone who uses it.

"Oh, this?" I slowly held up my Itoya some distance from his hand, wondering if I should refuse him. It seemed petty to refuse, but I wasn't above slow motion. He waggled his fingers at me a little more.

Then, he proceeded to fill out two pages of an application while I waited for him to give my favorite pen back. I stared at him, willing him to write faster so I could go back to focusing on my work. I did not want him to think he could walk off with my favorite pen while I wasn't looking. Reading his paperwork didn't work. I tried, without success, to focus on my own work.

Then, he got onto his phone and had a conversation with someone as if he were in his own living room. Do people realize how loud they are speaking when they're on the phone? The man held my pen in the air. Finally, he got off the phone, finished the second page of his application, and handed my pen back to me.

"Thank you," I said, trying to be civil. My words may have been civil, but my expression could have started a war.

I went back to work on my aggravating text and just when I thought I might have a solution, the man said again, "Let me use your pen."

What the hell was wrong with this guy? I made him repeat himself again, but it didn't deter him or lead him to be any more polite than he had been in the first place.

So, as I watched him scratch away at another page of his application, I saved my document, gathered my stuff, and stood up.

He didn't look up from his work when I stood over him with my bag in hand. Finally, I dug into the depths of my bag, located a free pen from a hotel I'd visited, and pointed at the pen he was using.

"I can't spare that pen. I can spare this one. Here."

He kept writing for a moment. I leaned over him and put the pen next to his hand where he couldn't keep writing.

"Take this one. I can't spare that one." And I plucked my Itoya out of his hand.

He glared at me. I rolled my eyes at him and and tucked my favorite pen deep into my bag. I noticed that the cheap pen was a different color on his application. Good. Then, I turned and walked to a different computer and sat down to get some actual work done. I don't know if he noticed my new location. I didn't look up from my work. 

When I left the library, I walked back over to where the man had abandoned my free pen from the hotel. I tossed it into my bag for the next asswipe that that wags his fingers at me.

Thank you for listening, jules

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