Has The Anti DC ever wanted to punch someone in the face? Yes. Has The Anti DC ever wanted to punch a homeless man or a librarian in the face? Not until yesterday!
You see, yesterday I went on a not-so-excellent adventure to the downtown MLK Memorial Library. In short, that place is a hot mess for so many reasons. For one, it's probably the ugliest central library I've ever seen in a major city. But I have a feeling that's just indicative of the disparity between Washington, DC, "the city" and Washington, DC, "the nation's capital." (I have yet to go to the Library of Congress, but I'm assuming that it's less of a makeshift homeless shelter with two broken copiers and a illiterate librarian and more of a, say, place where people can actually come to conduct research.)
But, truth be told, I don't mind that the down-and-out congregate in public libraries. I mean, it makes sense. They're free, they're warm, they have bathrooms, they're quiet and there's unlimited entertainment. However, when a certain wild-eyed gentleman steals the eight books you just spent three hours poring over and book-marking while you run to multiple establishments in Chinatown trying desperately to buy a roll of quarters on a Sunday afternoon just so you can make copies using the the jankiest of two janky Xerox machines, which also happens to be surrounded by used Kleenex, a person can get a little angry. Just sayin'. Anyway, apparently, the millions of other books just weren't good enough for this guy. And it was also totally awesome to discover that he'd removed my bookmarks. Touché, sir, touché.
But before I say something about the homeless that will surely validate my ticket straight to hell, I must recognize the role of that illiterate librarian in all of this. Because, really, it's his fault.
Turns out the "shelf" this very special librarian told me to set my books on while I ran all over town looking for change like, um, a homeless person (irony!), actually turned out to be the reshelving cart. So, when the homeless man "stole" my books, there's a good chance he didn't know I was coming back for them, despite my vociferous complaints about the copiers' lack of working paper-money-accepting technology and the library's inability to make change, as well as my obnoxious declaration that I would be returning for my books after my "pilgrimage for quarters" that I'm sure the whole floor was able to hear.
Anyhow, the whole incident probably took place over the course of 20 minutes. And because I'm magical, I knew as soon as I set the books down that they probably wouldn't be there when I returned (and it wasn't because there was a "Reshelving Cart" sign around either because there wasn't -- that'd have made too much sense). So when I got back with my rolls of quarters, I wasn't surprised at all. I marched over to this moron librarian and told him fairly nonchalantly that my books had disappeared:
Me: So, looks like my books are gone from the shelf you told me to put them on 20 minutes ago.Alas, I made my copies and actually did something nice (gasp!). Like I promised, I brought the books back to this dude, who I can only hope enjoyed looking at Khrushchev loving Castro as much as I did.
Retarded Librarian: Are you sure?
RL: Hmm. That was the reshelving shelf. Are they on another shelf?
Me: Uh... do you mean one of the other gazillion shelves in the library? Um, probably, I guess?
Me: OK, do you know where they could be?
[At this point the librarian looked around and walked over to the above-mentioned homeless man.]
RL: Excuse me. Those books belong to someone else.
Homeless Man: What? This is a public library. These books belong to everyone. [Ed.: Zing!]
RL: Well, someone else is using them now.
HM: But they were on the reshelving cart. [Ed.: This is when I realized the librarian was an idiot (duh, the reshelving cart!), so stepped in.]
Me: Hi. I didn't know that shelf was for reshelving since the librarian told me to set them there while I went to round up change for the copier, and there was no sign...
HM: Why'd he tell you to put them there? [Ed.: The librarian bailed at this point, hopefully feeling like a dumbass.]
Me: Excellent question. I have no idea. Anyway, if I could just borrow those for 10 minutes to make copies I'll bring them back to you.
Me: OK. Thanks.