The Regulars: Bling-Bling

The library, like most public places, has it’s own cast of characters. Just about anywhere you go you’re likely to run in to a few people who aren’t exactly well balanced. The library seems to attract these people in droves. The unemployed, the homeless, the weirdos, the pervs, the crazies, they all come to us. It’s free, you can stay all day and it beats sitting outside when it’s -40.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. There are worse places for them all to hang out and they make the days a little more interesting. Personally, I could do without the ones who tend to get belligerent or violent. But overall they’re interesting if nothing else.

Many of these people show up rain, shine, snow, sleet or plague of locusts. They’re part of every day life. These people all get nicknames. I don’t imagine any of them are aware of the names we’ve given them but it makes it easier for the staff if we have something to call them. Nearly all the names are pretty self-explanatory, some of them have back stories.

The Regulars are just some of the people I’ve met at the Library.

Bling-Bling

Bling-Bling has been a regular at the library for as long as I’ve worked there and from what I hear he’s been there a long time before that. He’s one of a handful of regulars that everyone keeps hoping will go away. There’s kind of a collective sigh of disappointment when he walks through the door and he’s there almost every day.

He’s a tiny little man with a thick eastern European accent and a constant sour look on his face. He’s hard to miss as he dresses like a Hollywood interpretation of a gay sailor. From what I’ve seen, he’s got a Hawaiian shirt collection to rival Weird Al’s, tan slacks for every occasion and more white loafers than Herb Tarleck. Oh and the hats. He loves his sailor hat and his white panama hat.

But why Bling-Bling?

This tiny little man, with his loud clothes and bad attitude, owns and wears gold chains and rings to rival Mr. T. Honestly, on his petit frame it’s a wonder he doesn’t topple over.

Like I said, he’s hard to miss.

Over the years he’s been rude to the staff, confrontational with the other patrons, demanding, demeaning, insulting and infuriating. Every now and again he’ll take a liking to one of the new girls and harass her until she’s afraid to go upstairs to do her job (I wish I could say that only happened once). He constantly lays claim on a stack of news papers he refuses to give up to anyone and holds them hostage until he leaves. He leaves his things piled on a table, keeping it from everyone else while he photocopies articals on, well, I really don’t know and should you touch his things – God help you.

He also writes. He has journal after journal full of his tiny, manic script. I’ve never gotten close enough to see what he writes about but whatever it is he writes about it plenty. I was told once that he was building a case against a security guard who he believed had done him wrong. I don’t know whether that’s true or not but knowing the guy, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. Whenever I see it I can’t help but think of the journal Dustin Hoffman kept in Rainman, keeping track of every wrong ever done.

In short, he’s an asshole.

I know what you’re thinking. Why, if he’s such a blight, don’t you ban him?

Well, for the most part, banning a patron takes time and work and there has to be a serious infraction of library policy for anyone to be banned for any real length of time. Believe me, if anyone thinks it ridiculous that he hasn’t been banned all together, I’d be the first to raise my hand.

That said, we were given a whole Bling-Bling free year. Not only that but we got it in one of the most glorious ways possible. Two birds with one stone sort of thing.

Bling had been pushing it a bit farther than usual last year. I think it was because he’d gone so long without a formal reprimand and he was getting cocky. He’d played his daily game of collecting his news papers and setting up shop at a table on the mez. Apparently one of our other patrons missed the memo about not touching his things or taking his papers.

When they tried to liberate one of the papers from his pile he snapped.

They complained to the librarians.

This is one of those things that will get you banned. Yelling at other patrons and being a big enough asshole for everyone in the library to notice.

The librarian charged with giving him his ban notice just happened to be a librarian we all like about as much as we like Bling (and oddly enough is about the same size). He’s one of those people who had burned all his bridges with the staff with a boyish glee years before and who carried an attitude only someone of his small stature could truly carry off.

It was a match made in heaven and a show-down for the ages. I’m still not sure who I should have been cheering on.

When everyones favourite librarian (let’s call him Ontario – it’s where he was from and so he liked to tell us regularly) went marching upstairs, notice in hand, Bling was on a roll. He was having none of it.

He didn’t want the notice, he didn’t care about the notice and he let Ontario know. (Imagine the “Badges” scene from Treasure of the Sierra Madre) Ontario, being Ontario, insisted on presenting him with the notice anyway in his typical “service with a smile” kind of way.

Bling took offense.

He also took a swing at Ontario.

It was a golden moment in library history.

Bling was banned for a year in the most beautiful way possible. Especially since the original ban notice would have only been for a month.

In that brief, shining moment I think I actually liked the guy.

-Late Fines.

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Published in: on March 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a great story! I just laughed out loud at the outcome of it all, so how amusing it must have been in person! 😀

  2. I’ve told this story a dozen times and you’re right, it’s really a “you had to have been there” to have gotten the full effect of watching it all go down. Library patrons are always such a good source of amusement.


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