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Hurly-Burly Hubbub
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This afternoon I spent some time at the library in an attempt to find a place where I could spread out some work on a clean table in a peaceful environment. The table needed to be free of cat hair, dog-chewed placements (I still can't find all the beads he chewed off and will be damned if I go search through all the poop in the yard), unfinished craft projects or other household detritus.

The main branch of the Chester County Library is a beautiful, light-filled building with generous space devoted to couches and tables that overlook the windows with a view of lawns and trees. This area is conspicuously labeled "Quiet Zone", in case anyone mistakes it for a dance floor or a jackhammer testing room.

As soon as I had my books and papers and pens arranged on the table, the first assault on the Quiet Zone occurred in the form of the Mommy Brigade. This consisted of a series of:
1. Loud kids
2. Crying babies
3. Loud kids carrying crying babies - yikes! considering that the kids were only slightly larger than the babies
4. Loud moms trying to quiet loud kids and crying babies while actually paying no attention to them at all

Once this attack had passed - presumably to allow the children quality time to go play in traffic - another, more insidious offensive began. Halfway across the library (I sat right in the middle of the tables, which probably says something very revealing about my personality), a man was attempting to use a laptop. First, he played audio of some sort which he allowed to boom across the open space apparently ignorant of the fact that the controls with the little arrows on them constitute VOLUME. He fumbled (slowly) and eventually, through the law of averages, came to the right buttons to turn down the voices (maybe the ones in his head were too loud to hear the ones from the laptop). You could see the other denizens of the pseudo-Quiet Zone snap earplugs and headphones in place - something I had not realized was a requirement to achieve actual quiet.

His next electronic escapade was with his cell phone. Although you will see in a moment that he did understand the function of this device, he obviously did not recognize his own ring tone (or maybe it was just those voices again). The song (some indistinguishable piece of hip-hop trash that would have had the Mommies clamping their hands over their little ones' ears) played and played and played some more. Finally (you could almost see the big light bulb zing into action) he picked up the phone and proceeded to have a conversation that lasted longer than the mastadons were around. He put his feet up on the table. He stretched and picked his teeth (surprising that he could do two things at once). He yawned cavernously. He crunched the phone against his shoulder while he turned on the laptop audio (again!!), taking longer than the first time to silence it.

Finally, all was quiet. The mommies were letting their babies grow up to be cowboys or porn stars. The uncouth cretin had started to read (his lips were moving, so I can only assume). The librarian with the squeaky-wheeled cart had disappeared into some back room where she was making sacrifices to the library gods. I was able to get past the first sentence I had been reading repeatedly for the last 30 minutes. The second sentence started so well, and the end was in sight when...

He wasn't reading. His lips must have been twitching while he was dreaming. Because the loudest, wettest, most vulgar SNORE I've ever heard echoed throughout the entire library. It bounced off the rafters and reverberated for a good ten seconds. Babies that had been screwing up their faces getting ready for a good squall were stunned into silence. Snickers were heard all around. And then it was repeated. With even greater diaphragmic gusto. Which was just the sign from above that I needed to pack up my materials and move to a more serene location - home. Three dogs, three cats, two teenagers, one husband, six guitars, one trumpet, two drum sets, and piano in a pear tree can't even come close to the cacophony that is the public library.

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