I get offended whenever someone tells me they went to the library to “do homework” or “study” or do homework and study at the same time because they are library magicians sent down from Narnia or some shiz. It feels like a personal attack on me and my strict “No Library Ever, Under No Circumstances, Forever and Ever” policy. People should respect my anti-library views and stop shoving it down my throat that they don’t agree with me. Jesus, it’s like dropping off a vegan at a butcher shop.
My views feel suppressed in the elite, academic forest of wonder that is UC Berkeley. Peeps here love the library, they rely on the library, they make the library a nice cup of joe and whisper sweet nothings in its ear on a weekly basis. It gets fairly graphic and weird, and honestly, it makes me a little queasy just thinking about it, kind of like when I think about pretend-candid Instagram photos.
But let me ask you: Why in the flying barnacle house of juniper would anyone ever go to the library? My goodness.
A lot of times, it’s just an act. It makes people feel better about themselves. It makes them feel like because they went to the library and opened up their notebook and their laptop, they at least made the effort and can continue to live their procrastinating lives relatively guilt-free.
When in reality they sit there for two hours Facebook stalking people. Particularly the dude who approached them a week ago at a frat party and whose pick-up line was calling them a “cute little ninja,” and they went along with it, for some reason, probably because the $5 tequila in their hand was telling their brain that a ninja is pretty sexy and thus it was a pretty killer compliment. Then, they gave him a little smooch, only to run into him in their political science class the next morning, filling them with regret and shame. He mistook their regret for interest and decided to invite them to a Giants game after class, and for some reason they said yes. Then they found themselves stuck with this dude for 17 hours on a Wednesday night making small talk between bites of an overpriced hotdog, only to try to let him down softly afterward by telling him he’s great, but also kind of ugly, and they didn’t want to hang out with him anymore, and he responded with an invitation to a day trip to Monterey that weekend, seemingly not getting the message. And now they are Facebook-stalking him, conflicted, confused and troubled. And then they close their laptop, leave the library and feel like an academic superstar because they library-ed for two hours.
My friend even told me that one time she was in the Morrison Reading Room, and this girl had the audacity to walk in, pick out the best leather-bound book, sit in a comfy, exquisitely antique-like chair, pull out a selfie stick and take a picture of herself “reading.” After taking approximately 23 selfies that all looked identical, she was all like, “Oh LOL just kidding,” and then put the book back and walked out. The castle of knowledge that is the library did a figurative fist pump and jig to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” in celebration of this intellectual experience it provided for this person.
Going to the library is like voluntarily signing up to be miserable for a few hours. Everyone looks blank-faced and sad as they stare at their screens in complete silence. The silence! It is deafening. The palpable tension automatically makes me question everything in my life: Do people realize I’m wearing the same shirt as yesterday? Was that person who told me I looked like a mix between Ryan Gosling and Rafiki being sarcastic? Was that leopard-print speedo I wore in middle school actually cool? I don’t appreciate confronting these inner demons and I try to avoid any sort of critical thinking as much as possible, making me curse the library once more.
The stress there is contagious. Suddenly, the paper I have to write or the midterm that is coming up — both of which I’ve blissfully been ignoring — become the most important, behemoth thing in the world. If these people are so stressed and working so hard, then I should probably stop spending my time drawing pictures of Winnie the Pooh smoking a cigar while he waits in line at Chipotle and actually focus. It’s a vicious stress circus. It’s so serious in there, I just want to shake everyone and say, “Do you realize that fuzzy socks with pictures of asparagus on them exist? How can you be so gloomy?!”
Then, during Dead Week and finals week, people actually sleep in the library. They bring sleeping bags, pillows and little study goodies and reportedly never emerge again. This is what we in the medical community, including WebMD, would mostly likely call “concerning behavior with a sprinkle of unnecessary-iosis.” This is where the competitive, intense nature of UC Berkeley comes to have a rollicking fiesta — except with bad B.O. and Cliff Bars instead of pinatas and happiness.
So, I’m going to stick to my “No library” policy and continue soaking up some rays on Memorial Glade in my leopard-print speedo instead. Please, no photos.
Taran Moriates writes the Monday column on the dos and don’ts of college. Contact him at [email protected].