Yesterday as I was laying awake at night due to overzealous coffee drinking at Panera (turns out that drinking 4 cups between 7-8 pm doesn't help you with falling asleep at midnight) I started thinking about all of the odd things that I've seen or heard about in the library. And I began to wonder if constant silence isn't almost as effective at turning someone crazy as constant solitude.
Case in point: Dallas Public Library. The downtown branch has more homeless people in it than any other category of person. It could be argued that they are at the library because they have no home, but maybe it's the other way around... maybe the silence of the library turns people crazy so that they are no longer able to function in society and thus become homeless.
There is one man whose home is the third floor of our school library. I know this because every day he sits down and sleeps for six hours. He snores like a chainsaw. One of my friends once looked at the stack of papers that he brings with him to make it look like he's doing work, and there was nothing on them but nonsensical doodles. The times of day when he's not sleeping, he's looking up sports scores online. He's actually pretty smart to have chosen our library because the DPL does not allow sleeping inside, or even partially reclining. My friend Mark has been kicked out for breaking this rule.
Another time, some guy who was diabetic was focusing so intently on studying that he forgot to check his blood sugar. He became hypoglycemic and fainted, and they had to start an IV glucose drip right there in front of everyone. I don't blame him; the silence makes time stand still.
On Wednesday, I saw another weirdo. Someone came in, and before sitting or putting his books down to begin studying, he took a Clorox bleach wipe and disinfected his study table...But then he started to cough all over his disinfected surface, so he must have already been sick.
Wine and cheese party tonight. Much fun will be had by all.