Monday, February 14, 2005


One winter night at closing time a male patron refused to leave. I was the only librarian on duty, and this patron had come to my attention earlier for hawking and spitting repeatedly in one of our large potted plants. Not only was what he was doing completely disgusting and unsanitary, there was a taunting, confrontational quality to his actions. He made sure to do it only when my back was turned, as if we were playing a game of Mother May I. Even if I couldn't see him I could still hear him 'watering' the library's plant, and when I finally caught him in the act I told him to knock it off or I would have him thrown out. He behaved the rest of the evening until it was time to close. Despite my making several announcements about the library’s impending closure he remained settled comfortably in a desk upstairs, looking as if he were not planning on leaving any time soon. After beseeching him with several “Sir, we’re closing and you must leave now!” we flicked the lights like it was last call at a bar and he got up. He was the only patron left and he dallied putting his things away and meandered toward the exit. Then he but suddenly turned around and planted himself by a chair at the door. He sat down by the door, glaring and sizing me and the two female pages up with this malevolent leer that said, “I’m going to first rape you, and then you, and then you.” I didn’t want to be the kind of hysterical ninny to overreact and call 911 but this time I was really scared. I looked around for weapons to defend us with and the best I could come up with was a stapler and the Physician's Desk Reference to throw at his head (it is dangerously heavy). Right before I picked up the phone to call the police he got up and skulked out the door.

Since we have no security guards stationed here and practically an all female staff, I really feel defenseless at times, especially at night. To improve my peace of mind E gave me a month unlimited pass to a Krav Maga studio. Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art. It’s specifically geared for street fighting and has no philosophical grounding or artful form. It’s all about eye gouging, biting, groin smashing; in other words, disabling your attacker by any means necessary. I went to my first class on Sunday. I spent an hour punching, kicking and kneeing a bag at its groin level. I LOVED IT, but I today my arms are these dangling, useless appendages of discomfort. I feel like I lifted a burning car off a child in one of those displays of freakish strength that people claim to have in times of emergency, the phenomenon that Dr. David Banner was studying when he had his little accident in the laboratory. I can’t wait for my next class. Even if I never have to use it, this will get my ass in shape.

Yikes. Hope your martial artsy thingamajig goes well. Having worked in a bar for sometime I know how frustrating it is to remove unwanted bodies (both living and dead) at the end of a night. I imagine the rules would be a tad different for yourself because;

a) I'm a guy and,
b) I only have to deal with wimpy jazz lovers who tend to skulk away when you throw water at them.
Uh, I don't know that training C to knee anything at "its groin level" is an entirely good idea. Keep her away from the Southern Comfort.
Yeah! I took a Krav Maga class last month and even if I'd never normally want to do it, I have to admit that learning to throw ANYONE who might come near me was extremely empowering. Best of luck!
We had a personal security seminar last week that was really useful. And one of the things was to look for weapons, just like you did. It really sucks that you don't have security, especially since your library is a clone of my scary one. But good for you for taking the martial arts class. Way to be empowered, girl! :)

Tiny Librarian
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