Earlier, I walked over to a table in the library where a teenage girl was sitting having a conversation, pointed to the sign on the wall next to the table (QUIET STUDY AREA), and told her that if they wanted to talk, they were in the wrong part of the library. Which was remarkably polite because what I really want to do in cases like these is to grab one head firmly in each hand and ram them into each other.
She said they'd move and thanked me for being a jerkwad. This kind of self-absorption pretty much defines public life nowadays. From talking in a library or at a movie or concert to strolling across a street in the middle of a block in front of cars to blocking sidewalks to blasting earphones to SUVs and snowmobiles, the dominant zeitgeist is a celebration of irresponsible arrogant ignorance. There, I'm a cranky old jerkwad.
And of course, I've left out the ubiquitous prime offender, the cell phone. And there's a reason I saved the best for last. After I'd heard the same cell phone ring and ensuing voice for the third time since I've been sitting here, another cranky old jerkwad came over and asked me to turn it off because it was supposed to be a quiet area. ;-) Naturally, after I figured out what he was talking about I proudly told him it wasn't mine and that I didn't own one. He snarled, "Well, whose is it then?" and we walked off together to find heads to ram together.