As usual I was sitting in the library working on the blog post for yesterday. A woman who worked on behalf of the library—I never met her here before but she obviously worked higher up in the system than those that I have—was showing an insurance agent around. They were calmly and professionally talking about the building and in the room we were in especially. I accepted what they were doing and thought nothing of it. However, there was another man sitting in the corner opposite me who didn’t seem to feel the same way. He started in with something about it being a library and could they please keep it quiet. I don’t remember exactly what the woman’s response was but I dont’ think it was much of anything. She might have just ignored him. At first I thought they knew each other and he was just joking around.
Apparently he wasn’t because he repeated what he said with even more agitation. She tried explaining to him what they were doing but he just kept repeating “Could you just keep it quiet.” I’m paraphrasing, I don’t remember his exact wording. At one point she said he could go elsewhere if he wanted to be where it was quiet. He then used the phrase “Don’t give me that.” That one I remember clearly. It’s a stock phrase which I’ll get to in a moment. Ultimately she and the agent went to the next floor up without finishing their conversation about the room we were in. Eventually the guy left. The reason he wanted to the quiet… was so he could sit in a chair and stare at his phone.
I’m not going to blame the phone. I’ve railed against people using their phones too much but that isn’t really the case here. The guy came across as a douche-bag to start with. The phone was merely a tool for him to use in expressing that. What got me was the fact that the woman was clearly a representative of the library that he was sitting in. If anybody should complain about the noise in that room it would have been her. I never would have presumed to talk to her that way. Besides, like I said, I was writing and still their conversation didn’t bother me at all. Maybe it would for some people. But that doesn’t give them the right to treat others so poorly. Especially if that guy could have taken his phone elsewhere if what he was doing on it was really that important.
Once you use the phrase “Don’t give me that” I always say that you just lost the argument. I don’t care if the facts are in your favor. An argument isn’t always about who’s right. If you give the other person that kind of snotty attitude you just lost points. Recently I got pulled over for running a red light. I did run it, I admit it. However, I was trying to tell the officer that the reason was because I mis-timed it. I know now not to talk to cops when they pull you over (especially when they ask you questions) but at the time I was just trying to explain my actions because I thought it was the right thing to do. As I was speaking he cut me off with “Don’t give me that.” There wasn’t much I could do in that situation but that was certainly a bad public relations move on his part. I wish I got his name again so I could call the police department. However I was afraid that they would then keep an eye on my car. As I got off with a warning I didn’t think it was worth it.
As the fight progressed yesterday I started feeling really uncomfortable. I started getting agitated with the guy myself. I wanted to tell him off. Then I remembered that it wasn’t my fight. I was only a witness. I instead started to find the situation hilarious. It wasn’t like there was anything serious going on and the fight itself was pretty brief. The guy only made himself look like an asshole through his actions that weren’t really affecting anybody. Probably if he started yelling and calling the woman names I would have stepped in but I don’t know if I needed to. He was already outnumbered. It would be funny if the fight got so bad the police had to show up. Around here that would be news. I’m not sure that I would want to be in the papers for getting in a mini-riot at the library. I already looked too much like a hero when a local news paper printed a story based on the armed robbery at the convenience store I worked at a few years ago… based on an incorrect police report.
I didn’t have a big point in mind when I started writing this blog post. It was really just an amusing anecdote. I could say that the story was an anecdote showing how one shouldn’t mistreat those that deserve your respect, especially when you are in the wrong. Finally, don’t ever use the phrase “Don’t give me that.” It only makes you look like an idiot.