Thingish Things

Librarians from Hell

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Feb• 02•11

Is there anything worse than someone talking loudly into a cell phone while on a train?

I think there is.   It’s the people who ssssssh them — the self-appointed train librarians.  The ones with bunched up underpants who feign deep personal offense at something that, at the end of the day,  really isn’t that big a deal.

The talkers are annoying; the librarians are intolerable.

This morning on my way to work, a young Chinese guy was yammering away on a cell phone in his native tongue, which, let’s face it, is somewhat less mellifluous than, say, Italian or French, and can, in perfect candor, be a touch grating to the occidental ear in confined spaces.  At least to these two.

The scene was more comical than annoying.  Even a little bit cute. The young man, who paid with a single ticket, not a monthly pass, clearly was unaccustomed to traveling on a commuter train and he didn’t know the etiquette.  One hundred percent of the people on the train car noticed his talking;  many of them smiled at it, and 98% would have let it slide without comment. He seemed like a perfectly nice young guy.  He just didn’t know.

Not the lady next to me. She, it turns out, was our car’s head librarian. After loudly chastising — and traumatizing – the poor fellow, she protested under her breath for the remainder of the trip.  It seems by speaking for under 30 seconds on his cell phone, the young man had stolen away an irretrievable volume in her library of happiness.  I have never wanted to speak Cantonese more than I did this morning – to learn it and then shout it at the top of my lungs.

That was at the start of the day.

At the end of the day, I learned that the New York City Council, with the full support and encouragement of Mayor Bloomberg, voted to ban smoking in city parks and beaches.  I see these two things as directly linked.

I remember when the smoking patrols were the librarians.  I remember when they started to get organized and lobby elected officials I worked for.  They were a little bit kooky – and lot bit relentless.  Now they have banned smoking outdoors, just as they banned speaking on cell phones in city movie houses, and are trying to ban salt in city restaurants. They’ll ban anything that annoys them. (I haven’t yet gotten my head around the fact that smoking in Central Park – or any park in the city for that matter  – is now illegal.  Are you kidding me?)

Thin skinned librarians rule our world.  And we let them get away with it, drop by drop.

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  1. Me says:


  2. Your Friend says:

    My favorite story about a librarian is a friend who was on the train being annoyed by a young lady who was making many calls on her cell. After she left her number on the voice mail of her friend, my friend called her while sitting a few seats away from her and told her to shut up. Perfect.

    As a former smoker, I support Mike and his army on banning them and taxing them as much as possible. There are very few products on the market that are truly evil. The cigarette is clearly one of them.

  3. That’s no librarian. That’s a genius. Love it!

  4. Nick Viest says:

    Taking the other side of the cell phone issue I think they should be told as my Aunt once said,”We really don’t find your conversation very interesting.” Speaking on a cell in a confined space is the height of bad manners especially as most of the conversations are incredibly boring and inane. I say sick the librarians on them with relish.

  5. Bill says:

    I agree that it is. But the “librarians” tend to institutionalize everything.

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