Yet another peculiar encounter at the Berkeley Public Library


I swear I get all the winners. I’ve got a computer at the library reserved, but when I go to the cubicle there’s this stocky, crazy old woman who’s sitting there. She’s got headphones on and 5 big bags of stuff piled near her — including a big potted plant — and the desk is full of her papers and crap. 

“Excuse me, I’ve got this computer reserved,” I said.

She turns around and glares at me and says: “YOU AGAIN!” (which is weird because I’ve never seen her before)

“I’ve got this computer reserved for 3:22,” I said.

“You’re lying. I don’t believe you,” she said.

“Well, I’ll go double-check, ” I said.

“You go do that,” she said.

I go to the computer on the librarian’s desk and check. Yes, I have that computer reserved. I go back and tell her: “Yes I do have that computer reserved for 3:22.”

“And at 4:22 will your reservation come to an end??” she said.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Well I need to know! I MUST know!” she said.

“Well there’s no way of knowing,” I said. “Sometimes they extend your reservation for a second hour.”

“Very well,” she said. She FINALLY gets up and starts moving all of her stuff to another desk. Then she adds, “I’m taking the chair with me.” And she drags my chair off to the other desk.

Life goes on.

Clearing up a misunderstanding at the good ole’ Berkeley Public Library

At the library today the guy sitting at the computer cubicle directly across from me kept making all these weird noises while he listened to his headphones. The guy sitting next to me repeatedly told him to stop making the noises. But he kept making them. So they started jawing back and forth.

The guy sitting next to me gets up and goes to complain to the librarian. The librarian approached the guy and said: “Excuse me, sir. If you don’t stop making noises and stop threatening people, we’re going to have to ask you to leave the library.”

“I wasn’t threatening anybody,” the guy explained. “I just told him I was going to stab him.”

Well, it’s good that he cleared up that misunderstanding.

One more reason why I make a point to avoid eye contact in public



Another wonderful day at the Berkeley Library. The guy sitting down at the cubicle directly in front of me, two words out of his mouth and I got him pegged as the Just Out Of The Joint type. White guy about 30 with a tight, black ponytail, long-boned, chest and arms covered with tattoos showing through his sleeveless t-shirt. Plops down his huge frame backpack and immediately gets into it with this old guy sitting at the cubicle next to him.

“What you doin’ staring at me, boy?? Is this some kind of faggot shit. You got no right to look me over like that just because I’m wearing a tracking device!!”

The old guy looks back at him, completely perplexed. Like: How did I get myself into THIS? There I was just minding my own business . . .

Now the guy is glaring at the old guy with daggers. “You look at me one more time and I’ll take you outside and cut you up. You thinking I’m playing? You don’t know me. I’ll cut you up. You wanna go outside?”

The old guy stands up and backs off, you can tell he’s pissed that this complete asshole is going off on him in public for no reason, but you can tell he also doesn’t want to escalate the situation.

Then three library employees, including a burly black security guard, are hovering over him, trying to calm the guy down..

“Are you telling me I gotta leave??” he says. “I wasn’t doing nothing. You just heard the second part when I was going off on that white cracker. But you didn’t see the first part when he kept staring at me and my tracking device. . . No I’m not leaving until I talk to my parole officer. I gotta check in with my parolee whenever I get into a confrontation.”

He takes out his cellphone, calls his parole officer and tells him the same basic story he told the security guards. I can faintly hear the parole officer’s voice squawking on the other end in an official tone, no doubt offering sage, sensible advice that translates in the real world as: “Don’t cause any more trouble, you stupid fucking asshole.”

“OK, I talked to my parolee and now I’ll leave,” says the guy. He hoists his big frame backpack on his back, and another big pack on his chest, and the security guards escort him down the stairs and out of the building.

I think he had been in the library for less than a few minutes before he got into his confrontation . . . Guys like that, you wonder how they make it to the end of the day.



This is probably not breaking news to anyone here, but there are some people in this world of ours who are truly flaming assoles



It’s another wonderful day at the Berkeley Public Library.

I just went to sit down at the cubicle where I’ve reserved a computer. But some genius is sitting there trying to log onto said computer. “You can’t log onto that computer because I have it reserved,” I said, helpfully.

“No you don’t,” he sneers. “This is MY computer.” He continues to try and log on.

“OK,” I said. “But you’re not going to be able to log on because I have it reserved.”

“No you don’t,” he says. “Get the FUCK out of my face!”

I back off and wait at the end of the aisle. While he feverishly, and pointlessly attempts to log onto my computer. Getting more frustrated with every attempt. I can literally see him grinding his teeth. He suddenly jumps up and comes rushing towards me with his fists clenched like he’s about to attack me. Apparently he assumes I’ve been “fucking with him” somehow. I back off with my hands up, saying, “That’s just how the system works.” (and uh duh) But he’s convinced that I’ve somehow wronged him and therefor must pay.

He goes rushing to the librarians at the front desk to angrily express his grievance at my terrible mistreatment of him.

I go to sit down at the computer, but realize he’s left all of his stuff all over the table, so he will no doubt be back, with further ugly scenes. So I rush up to the front desk to see if we can resolve this grievous misunderstanding. “Listen, ” I said. “if it’s REALLY that important for you to use that computer, I’ll log off so that you can log on.”

“Oh. OK,” he says, gruffly. (the librarians give me a sad but grateful smile that I’ve peacefully resolved a situation that often escalates into security guards and police being called)

I log off of that computer. And log onto another computer. The genius gives me one last sneer. And then we both live happily ever after.

Don’t get me wrong. I can be just as macho and confrontational as anyone. Especially when I’m in the right. And especially when I’m dealing with a flaming asshole. But generally, if possible, I’ll just take the path of least resistance. My credo: “It’s a big world. And the best solution is to occupy a part of it that doesn’t include the asshole.”



Quick Klutz



I sometimes refer to myself as a “quick klutz.” Because I often do stupid things. But I’m also quick at reversing myself. Like sometimes I’ll accidentally drop something with my left hand, but I’ll catch it with my right hand. Stuff like that.

So anyways, today I was at the library and i like to drink my morning coffee while I’m on a computer. So I always sneak my to-go cup of coffee into the library in a black plastic bag, to hide it from the security guards and librarians. Now nobody ever told me you CAN’T drink coffee in the library. But I suspect they would frown on the practice. Because, well, some idiot might spill his coffee all over the table or the books or the computers.

So I go to the front desk to sign up for a computer. But when I put my cup of coffee on the counter, the bottom of the plastic bag wasn’t level and the cup tips over and all the coffee spills out onto the counter and spills down all over the floor. Making a big fucking mess.

But fortunately, a lot of the coffee spilled into the plastic bag. Which I quickly grabbed and held upright to prevent further spillage. And even more fortunately, I happened to have a bunch of paper towels in my back pocket. Which I used to quickly mop up all the coffee on the counter and the floor. And then I dumped the whole sopping mess into a nearby garbage can.

And I pulled the whole thing off so quickly and nonchalantly, that the three librarians standing behind the counter just a couple feet away from me, didn’t even notice me or what I had done.

Quick klutz.


Welcome to the Berkeley Public Library



Another day at the Berkeley Public Library.

The guy sitting at the computer directly across from me — who happened to be African-America — just got into some kind of disagreement with this middle-aged woman — who happened to be white. The argument escalated to the point where the guy was shouting threats at the woman. Then this other guy jumped into the middle of it — allegedly as peacemaker — which only escalated it further. The guy throws several punches at the guy in the middle. Before a big scrum of people stepped in and separated the combatants.

A security guard shows up, and then two cops and they try to sort out the whole mess.

“This man assaulted me!!” said the one guy.

“I was just sitting at my computer minding my own business and this woman wouldn’t stop bothering me!!” said the other guy. He goes back and sits down at his computer.

“You have to go outside and we can talk this over out there,” says the cop numerous times, calmly but firmly. But the guy refuses to leave, maintaining his innocence. Then it starts to get physical. “GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!!” he shouts, brushing off the cops arm. Then he’s standing up and they’re trying to handcuff him, but he’s resisting, stiffening like a board. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there about 5 feet across from them, waiting for all hell to break loose and the table to get over-turned and come crashing down.

But somehow they manage to handcuff him and haul him towards the stairs, while he shouts “WHITE PRIVILEGE!! WHITE PRIVILEGE!!” over and over, the entire time he’s being escorted out of the building.

And as usual with these things, you don’t even know what the fight was about, let alone who’s to blame.

But on a nicer note, Patricia, one of my FB friends, spotted me at the library earlier and stopped by to say hi.


Yet another odd scene at the Berkeley Library


Just had another odd scene at the Berkeley library. We’re all at our cubicles working at our computers when this woman with a spanish accent starts loudly talking on her cellphone. The guy sitting next to her keeps telling her to quit talking, it’s bothering him while he’s trying to work on his computer. But she keeps talking and talking, anyways. And he gets more and more pissed. Finally he stands up, hovering right behind her and says: “WHY DON’T YOU GO BACK TO MEXICO!!” and storms out of the library.

The woman watches him go, and then says: “Why should I go back to Mexico? I’m from El Salvador.”


So there I was sitting there minding my own business. . .




I swear to God. Even when I’m just sitting here by myself minding my own business I manage to get into trouble. I’m sitting here at a computer at the library when this guy rushes up behind me.

“GET UP!! GET UP!! GET OFF OF THIS COMPUTER!! THIS IS MY COMPUTER!!” he barks. He even snaps his fingers several times like I’m some dog he’s ordering to get off the couch.

“No it isn’t. This is MY computer,” I said.




He turns and marches off to talk to the librarians at the front desk.

Shortly after he comes walking back towards me. And I’m glaring at him every step of the way.

“My apologies,” he said. He walks past me and sets up at the computer next to mine where he has his reservation.

“No problem,” I said.

I’m usually instantly appeased by an apology. Plus, he’s drunk. And I’ve been there. So what the hell.



A young woman goes nuts. Literally


The scene of the crime.

People seem to be flipping out more and more these days.

So I’m sitting there at a cubicle in the library, at a computer, screwing around on my Facebook page, and minding my own business (what could possibly go wrong?). The person sitting at the cubicle next to me is this little chick with a shaved head. She looks like she’s about 17 or 18. And she’s got all of her stuff in one of those luggage-on-wheels things. So I got her pegged as a homeless teenage runaway type. But who knows.

So anyways, when her session at the computer ends, she suddenly bolts up from her chair, knocking her chair over, and then she slams her luggage thing to the floor, which makes this loud WHACKING!! sound. That gets everyone’s attention.

Then she takes her cellphone and some other stuff on her table and throws it against the wall. Smashing it to bits.  She’s got tears in her eyes, she’s crying, she’s obviously upset about something. Did she recently suffer a traumatic experience? Or is she just nuts? Who knows. All I know is that she’s nutting up right next to me.

She starts to leave, slamming her luggage thing on the floor with every step. But then she comes running back to her cubicle (and at me). Takes some more stuff from her table and smashes that against the wall. She repeats this process 2 or 3 more times where she starts to leave and then comes rushing back to smash up more stuff.

I’m giving her a sympathetic look. I feel bad for her, and wish there was something I could say or do that would make her feel better. But I’m also looking to make sure she doesn’t have any sharp objects in her hands.

Then she takes out a big bag of shelled peanuts and starts throwing them at us. This old guy who is sitting across from me — who is taking the brunt of her peanut assault — starts to complain.

“Hey! I’m just sitting here at my computer! I don’t deserve to be pelted with peanuts!”

But that only pisses her off even more. She throws some more peanuts at him, shouting over and over:


“Quit it,” whines the old guy. “Where the heck are the security guards when you really need them?”

She smashes one more item against the wall for good measure. And then FINALLY makes her exit. I hear her going down the steps, loudly whacking her luggage thing on every step.

And I went back to screwing around on my Facebook page.

Chock full of nuts

There are so many crazy people in this world.

Today I go to the local Berkeley library, reserve a computer, I’m sitting in my cubicle looking at my computer minding my own business.

The guy in the cubicle next to me — a certifiable nut as I will soon find out — sticks his face into my cubicle.

“How ya doin’,” he says with a big smile.

“Fine,” I says.

He reaches into my cubicle and gives me a big friendly hug.

I smile back at him. Thinking maybe he’s somebody I know but can’t remember who he is.

He pushes his face into my cubicle again and starts talking to me. But I can’t hear a fucking word he’s saying. He’s talking so softly.

“Listen,” I says. “I can’t hear a word you’re saying. I’m hard of hearing. You have to talk louder.”

But he continues to blather at me in a silent pantomime.

“I can’t hear what you’re saying,” I repeat

So he takes a library book and pushes it into my cubicle. And starts writing some message on the page of the library book. He’s urgent to communicate SOMETHING to me. For some unknown reason.

“I just wanna log onto my computer but you’re in my way,” I says.


At this point I realize the guy in the cubicle next to me is completely insane. Like I said — and this is hardly breaking news — there are a lot of nutty people in this world.

He flashes me the two-fingered Mark of the Beast gesture, that devil’s horn thing that all the heavy metal dudes flash.

I put on my headphones and search for a YouTube link that might temporarily amuse me and help me ignore the fucking nut whoever he happens to be who happens to be in the cubicle next to me.