The Library Noise Zone

The Internet’s latest viral video seems to be that of a young female student at Cal State-Northridge, loudly, angrily, berating her fellow students for “breathing too loudly” in the library. The video is apparently evoking much hilarity; I have not seen it myself and don’t intend to link to it. More evidence of excessively high-strung, grade-conscious, parent-oppressed, desperate-for-upward-mobility Asians, run rampant in the nation’s universities. Encoded somewhere in the hilarity that has ensued, of course, is the archetype of the “hysterical” woman, unable to “man up” and deal with what? A little heavy breathing?

I sympathize with the young woman; I suspect the “breathing too loudly” complaint was merely the tip of the iceberg. Before that, the endless chattering, the noisy headphones, the eating and drinking, and attendant slurping from coffee and smoothie cups, or the crinkly sound of bags of chips being opened, the use of library quiet corners for watching YouTube videos or updating Facebook pages, or snuggling up with one’s latest squeeze, must have driven her over the proverbial mental cliff.

I wonder if in the past, she had looked up from her textbooks, and sent an irate look or two some offenders’ way, hoping against hope they’d get the hint, and lower the volume of whichever urgent discussion they happened to be engaged in, only to be confronted with either a quizzical look or the blank look of the oblivious, or perhaps even a look that said “What? You got a problem with that?”

How peculiar, she must have wondered, that a shrine to literacy becomes the grand exhibit for a dazzling demonstration of the lack of ability to read the sign that says “Please help us in keeping our library a quiet place for study and reflection.”

One thought on “The Library Noise Zone

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