I wasn't elated, but, whatever, it wasn't enough to dissuade me. I sat down. Set out my books I took from the shelves, set up my netbook and hunkered down for some serious study time.
Then he came in.
First was the wheezing: I’m talking gasping as if it’s your last breath before all goes dark, wheezing. Should I contact someone? Was there any next of kin I should notify? I don’t know if he ran down the stairs from the fourth floor or he had just completed a marathon but, whatever he was doing, this man was seriously out of breath. This, I had to endure for about fifteen minutes while he was sitting next to me.
Second was the talking: Not to me. Two female students he was working on a group project with came in soon after he did. At first they discussed their project. Soon, though, the conversation shifted to life, love, past mistakes and a whole bunch of other bullshit I really did not need to be trying to ignore at the time. A few disapproving glances in their direction only bought me several seconds of peace each time.
This eventually ended when his companions left. FINALLY! He was quite. He hunched over his laptop – no wheezing, no talking – just sweet silence. I focused on the task at hand. Studying! That was my mission. Nothing more would deter me.
Wait! Is he... Is he snoring? Holy crap! He’s asleep. And he’s freakin’ snoring! And, what a snore! I mean, I hate to admit it but this was impressive. At this point my head hit the desk. The loud thud created by that was drowned out by the jackhammer being worked right next to me.
I lift up my head and contemplate my options. The library is still full. I can’t see any free seats to move over to. I notice that, by now, others have begun to notice him too. I see them glance over and shift uncomfortably in their seats. A few smile and snicker. Yeah! Real funny! How about we trade seats? No, really. Anybody?
“Poke him.” One of the librarians mouths to me from her desk across the room. She gestures a poking action with her hand.
“Nuh-uh,” I mouth back, nodding, “He’ll eat me!!!”
“POKE!HIM!” she mouths again, her lip movements and gestures more pronounced.
I look over to my right and size him up. After a few seconds, I reach out and gently poke him in the side. He snorts awake and looks around, dazed.
“Dude,” I whisper to him, “You’re snoring.”
“I fell asleep? Sorry.” He rubs his eyes and straightens up.
Now, I’ve been in similar situations where I’ve fallen asleep in public. Of course, I’ve never been as vocal about it as he was. Normally, the initial embarrassment of being caught in such a state is enough to keep me awake for some time, usually throughout the duration of whatever I was enduring and...
HO.LY.FREAKIN.CRAP! He’s snoring again!!!
I don’t bother to wait for anyone else’s suggestion this time. I poke him again. Not as gently this time, either.
“Shit! Sorry. I didn’t realize how tired I was. You know what? This is a sign that I should probably just go home.”
(No shit! Really?) “It’s probably for the best.” I agree.
He packs his stuff and leaves. About twenty minutes later, the librarian announces that the library is about to close. I chalk this one up as a defeat and begin to pack.