The library is full of busy, but mostly just loud, sounds. Ordinarily, I would assume a library to be quiet, but not tonight. I still remember all my days in libraries in public school and at the public, community libraries. Librarians would hide behind their circulation desks, huddled over something to keep their minds occupied during the long shifts–occasionally one would pop his or her head over the edge to “Shhhh!” in warning. In this corner of the university library–though it shouldn’t be this way–people do not seem so keen on keeping quiet. The librarians are far enough away that “Shhhh!” won’t accomplish anything; I suppose they’ve just learned to ignore the liberally-minded white noise that fills the corridors.
“He just casually farted in the middle of his sentence,” says the loud girl. She’s sitting at the table in front of me. Now she’s talking on her phone. Her group of friends was highly amused by her fart joke. The snob in me wondered why she couldn’t have at least pretended to be studying for something.
“I hate the empirical formula!” says the loud boy at the table to my left. Finally, something school-related, I think.
“Dude!” his friend exclaims. “The empirical formula is easy!”
“Like your mom!” says a girl at their table. And we’re back.
“I’ve only queefed once,” says the loud girl from table one. I can’t help but feel that I’m learning more about these people than I could have ever wanted.
In fact, “loud” sounds too repetitive, but that is all these students are. Loud, loud, loud. I realize I’ve forgotten my headphones, but I can’t do anything about that now. The queefer from table one is off of the phone, and now giggling loud with her friends about something that happened over the weekend. Allison is next to me–her headphones are where they should be (in her ears)–and she is playing around on her computer. I’m sure, like me, she can’t focus, either. Most of the students here use “whatevs” unironically, and I can’t help but wonder why. At least the table to my left is leaving those of us still in the library with the impression that they understand chemistry–they’re all moaning about having to attend their labs in the morning as they exit, but at least that means they’ll probably go. The queefer?–I doubt it.
I finished my homework some time ago, but I know nothing is waiting for me in my dorm room–nothing too particular, anyway. Nicole, my roommate for the semester, will be on her computer or watching something. She always is. Before arriving here, I managed to take a shower and avoid most of her private viewing of “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.” After the first two “He’s so hot!”‘s, I had had enough.
The library is growing quieter now that some of the crowd is leaving. But the lack of noise doesn’t deter the queefer and her friends–it only invigorates their need to fill the void with conversation I never wanted to overhear. Perhaps if I were sure they were studying I wouldn’t feel so irritated. I’ve lost countless hours of sleep here while actually working. They’re just wearing the seats on the chairs thin.
Sometimes I want to tell these students to use their time wisely. I didn’t take my time as a freshman seriously enough, and I spent too much time playing and not enough focused on my studies. Now I find it difficult to work harder the more imperative it becomes in my later years here. This is my last semester–my last chance to spend these nights by the periodicals of the library and prove myself to my professors and the university. I want to implore them to take more hours and have a legitimate reason to be in here more. I can tell them they won’t want to spend their last semester of college huddled in here on official business. Four years from now, if they change their minds, they will be glaring at the freshmen making noise in the library, too.
I have to remind myself that midterms and finals are just weeks away; we all act like ADHD victims, stuttering and deliriously giggling our way through the nights as we try to focus on our studying. The caffeine we obsessively consume will just make us jittery and want to do laps outside. I won’t be able to look at a computer screen without my glasses because my eyes will try to cross. My classmates will sit around me giggling at their phones and computer screens while somewhere on their desktops are minimized PDFs of what we should be studying earnestly. That’s when you go outside for another cigarette, dose of Adderall, coffee break or breath of fresh air. Allison is staring hard at her screen again. It might be time for one or all of the above.