The day before yesterday was nothing but tribulation. A little section of the library is sectored out for the teens, who might be better described as latch-key kids, a term dating back to my early years to describe children who are given the keys to the house so that they can get in after school since their parents work during the day. I suppose some kids might take advantage of the privacy and convenience and ask friends to hang out there and, when they get caught, they forfeit the luxury of being trusted with house keys again. When that happens, they have no alternative but to find shelter from the hot sun, the smog, and whatever other maladies Angelenos are exposed to in the city. What do they do but come to the library to play video games on the computer.
Things didn't start acting up on Wednesday until after 6pm, and I could feel it in my gut that these kids have more energy than I have ability to enforce the library rules. You know the side pain joggers get when they drink water too fast while running? That's the pain I get which I'm just gonna assume is an ulcer. As I hear the word "fuck" come out of the casual conversation that these kids, standing by the 'puter playing video games and discussing cheat codes, are disciplined in, I check the librarian's desk to see whether she heard it too, but she happens to be handling a call on the telephone. I walk over and say that they're being loud with their crude language, but I'm either ignored so that I'm reduced to stooping to make eye contact (as these kids practice ignoring people by looking at the floor) and literally talking to them as though they were challenged. "Do you understand me? Can you hear me? Do you speak English?"
Finally. I mention that their attitude sucks, and try to enlighten them with the obvious mistaken illusion they have about who they think their friends are, a posse of wanderers. It's a thin line between the posse they call friends and gangs, IMO. So to retaliate, the kid who's voice I'm 99% certain the word "fuck" came from tries to humiliate me by saying "Do you have any friends?" in order to save face in front of his cohorts. I explain logically that I not only have friends, but I have more friends than he, but speaking to peeps like this is like teaching a parrot to squawk. I return to my desk when I hear the boy infer that it's unbelievable and he has to see it to believe it, and my friends must be plastic (a reference I took to mean inflatable pleasure dolls).
By the time things calm down, and the librarian finishes her call and I show her which kid it was that was being rude, I begin to feel the pain. I'm making a decision not to get involved anymore. It will be a jungle of apes and primates swinging by their tails, and I still won't flinch. Better to work in a circus and get along with the performers than to try to explain to freaks that they should submit to the rules of society.