Here’s why I’m a library asshole, and you should be too
It’s a dog eat dog world
Only those of us who live in the shadows know that few things are as gratifying as getting away with bending the rules just slightly. Nothing can really compare to that smug feeling you get when you successfully manage to skip the club queue by randomly name dropping someone you vaguely know, or when you check the bill only to find out they forgot to add the second cocktail. To come about something otherwise prohibited to you by merit of your own wit exclusively is the closest us humans can get to God.
I’m not talking about stealing people’s drinks in the club while they’re distracted (which is a noble art that requires equal parts dexterity and sharpness), or stealing entire rolls of toilet paper from university buildings for the benefit of your flat. No, this is both an ode to and a justification for the most controversial, yet necessary assholery of all: that of being a dick in the Main Library.
Back when I was in first year, I remember accidentally walking into the post-grad level, only to leave in a hurry before I got kicked out by all those very focused, very quiet students who could so obviously tell I wasn’t post-grad, and who obviously cared so much about me being there. Come second year, however, and all those rules have blurred, giving way to one primordial instinct. A singular priority. Survival.
I’ll always abuse those 15 minute computers
Anything less than two consecutive hours in the library qualifies as “a moment” to me, and I therefore refuse to climb more than a flight of stairs to find a desk. I could argue for hours about why the ground floor is the absolute best space in that god-forsaken library, but this time I’ll only focus on those computers by the entrance. Listen: they’re close to the door, they’re close to the loos, there’s always one that’s empty, and I can clearly see everyone who comes in. There’s no reason for you to be a dick to me about the fact that I’ve been sat in front of one on my laptop for way more than fifteen minutes; just tell me you need to use it, and I’ll move, I promise.
I will use the disabled bathroom if I have to
There’s never a queue for them, they’re big, they’re private, AND I’ve never ever had someone knock violently on the door because of an emergency. Morally corrupt? Yes. Do I feel proud about it? No. Am I aware that there are several layers of wrong in what I’m doing? Yes. Does that mean that, out of honour and respect, I will go back to using the normal one and therefore queueing for at least 10 minutes to then partake in an activity that takes two at most? Absolutely not. Less toilet time = more work time.
I eat wherever I want to
Lunchtime usually finds me in the first floor mezzanine, sprawled over one of those weird chairs and staring at the people smoking by the door – that is my preferred way of eating. However, there are times in which I just don’t have time for the “break” part of my “lunch break”, and I’ll have to gobble my crips in between paragraphs of an essay. Whether I am on the ground floor or the second one becomes therefore irrelevant, and it’s pointless for you to glare at me on the odd chance the bag rustles (I try to be delicate). Just put your headphones in or buy some crisps of your own, please.
I will happily hog a pod
Unless you get to the library before 10am and the planets have aligned favourably in your favour, it’s best not to expect to get a pod until at least half five in the afternoon. It’s therefore hypocritical of you to blame me for wanting to hold on to the pod I managed to snag for as long as possible. So what if my friends and I will set up an unspoken rota of bags and coats, ensuring that there’s always at least one of us sat there while the others are in class, saving it for the subsequent hours? Someone mindful enough of library rules to know that our behaviour is unacceptable will surely also know that groups of three or more have a legitimate right to those pods, so don’t be afraid to fight fire with fire and go ahead and kick us out.
On that note, I’m a desk hogger, too
You see my thermos and two pieces of paper spread out over a desk, marking my territory, and instantly picture me cackling as I throw on my pashmina, ready to indulge in a three hour meal, calm in the knowledge that I’ll have a desk waiting for me when I come back, all while you desperately search for somewhere to sit. But that’s NOT THE WAY THINGS HAPPEN. Chances are I left to go get a quick sandwich and got distracted along the way, thus prompting a break that was much longer than expected. It’s not my fault I got there at 10am, while you slept in until 12pm and then came back to find no seats. Early bird gets the desk.
Most of the people that get butt-hurt over us library rats are the ones who just haven’t realised that they too could indulge in this lifestyle if they had a little bit more cheek. Imagine all the time you could save if you just took yourself to the quick use computers and got working, or chose to come up to me and call me out on my behaviour with a normal, adult conversation. Stand there, glare and me and bitch to your friend, and that’s your own time you’re wasting. It’s survival, honey.