THE LEAST NUTTY OF THE NUTBARS
We’re an odd bunch — we who hang out at the North York Central Library. Everyday we serve out our sentences by doing time there.
The Holy Homeless Lady: Everyday she takes over a washroom for several hours singing hymns, praising Jesus and delivering sermons. Once she finishes her church service in the washroom, she comes out to the study area and prays quietly before she falls asleep. She prays and sleeps and prays and sleeps and prays and sleeps until the library closes.
The Teddy Bear Man: He looks normal. He looks so normal. He’s tall with a medium build and in his forties. He carries and talks to teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Sometimes he carries a brown teddy bear, and sometimes he carries several teddy bears. They are different colors which shows that he is not prejudiced. Other times he carries a stuffed horsey, penguin, duckee and giraffe.
Whatever stuffed animals he has, he talks to them intimately. He whispers in their ears and holds their mouths to his ear when it is their turn to talk. He hugs, caresses and kisses them, too. He places them in a semicircle around a computer screen and watches war movies with them. Sometimes he wears headphones while watching the war movies, but most times he does not. I suppose anyone who talks to stuffed animals does not need headphones to hear the sound from movies.
Take away the stuffed animals, and he looks normal. He looks so normal.
The Fart Lady: The Fart Lady is middle-aged. She has a round body, a round head with a round face and a snow-top round Afro. I call her The Fart Lady not because she farts, but because she imagines that any man near her is farting. She yells at the man for farting and will sometimes kick his chair.
Yesterday, she yelled at me.
“Stop farting! Stop farting! This isn’t a public washroom! Stop farting! Stop farting!”
I wanted top say, “Lady, if I farted then you wouldn’t stay next to me.” But I know that I am nuts, so I said nothing to her. Fortunately she did not start kicking my chair before the librarian asked her to leave.
I have never seen her imagining that a woman near her is farting. The Fart Lady only picks on men.
Wimpy: He looks and dresses like Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons. The only difference is that this Wimpy wears a red hard hat. He’s ready for when the sky falls, I guess. He also has a dolly cart with several boxes of newspapers. He’s harmless. He sits all day reading newspapers, and occasionally talks to people I can’t see.
There are several library patrons with addiction issues who surreptitiously drink beer from cans.
There are the masturbators, several of them, who carry on while sitting at a computer. I suspect that the librarians know what the wankers are doing and ignore it.
I could go on mentioning more nutbars. The library is full of them.
Several months ago, a librarian asked me to go to a meeting with the library’s planning committee. “We want feedback from people who use the library a lot,” she said.
“Why me?” I thought. “There are lots of people who use the library a lot. Why me?”
I looked around at the Holy Homeless Lady praying, Teddy Bear Man watching war movies with his friends, Wimpy, the addicts and the wankers . . .
To confirm the insight that whacked me over the head I asked the librarian, “Why me? There are lots of people who use the library. Why choose me?”
She said, “You’re here everyday, you’re articulate, and you present yourself well.”
What a diplomatic way to say, “You’re the least nutty of the nutbars.”