18 February 2011

the library // the former u.s.s.r.


helicopter guy, so named because all he does is look at (and print) blueprints of helicopters, sits across from army guy, so named because when we were first introduced to this character he was trying to re-enlist in the army (but we now know, in fact, that he was never in the army to begin with). never acknowledging each others presence, they both get on with their respective internet interests (army guy is particularly fond of phil collins videos and who can blame him?).

the public computers in the library are grouped into four pods of six and are generally full-up most days; this being a day when the aarp runs a tax assistance program, the computer area is especially crowded. over the quiet din of keystrokes, cell phone conversations, and the confused murmurs of those filling out tax forms, we hear in an extremely loud and socially unaware voice:

helicopter guy: army guy... army guy... army guy.
army guy (exasperated): what?
hg: have you ever wanted to go to a foreign country? a country that was not here?
ag (clearly annoyed and if he finds somebody else annoying, that speaks volumes): i dunno.
hg: well, which one? which country have you wanted to go to that is not here?
ag: [inaudibly mumbles some country that i'm not sure exists]
hg: where is that?
ag: [mumbles the same country, which i am now sure does not exist]
hg: where is that?
ag: [mumbles the same country, which now has the people around him looking confused]
hg: where is that?
ag (standing up suddenly): i. don't. know.
hg: oh. well, (and you're suddenly very aware that this was the whole point of the original question) i've always wanted to go to russia, army guy. do you know russia? that's part of the former u.s.s.r. u.s.s.r. stands for union of the soviet republic (good try, there). yes, i've always been fascinated by stalin. i'd like to see the homeland.
ag: you made me miss my video.


  1. sooooooo weird. and funny!!!! you need a hidden camera in your glasses...ha!

  2. What an unusual duo. I bet you have quite a few stories like this one. :)

  3. man, oh, man, sometimes i wish there wasn't such a thing as patron confidentiality so i could take a quick snap of these guys! i do no justice to their enunciation, facial expressions or fashion choices (think napoleon dynamite for both). i am convinced there should be a mockumentary a la the office for libraries. it would be so revealing! many more stories to come as they happen and i'll probably dig into the archives or ask my fellow librarians to contribute. there is seriously a good story every week, if not every day.