People Watching in Mustard Yellow

Louise Gundry plays the library game

 Well, here I sit. With my renewed short loan book, my 80p cup of tea and a sense of nostalgia as I contemplate life next year, when The Bubble, or at least  my bubble, has been unceremoniously popped.

Looking back on the primarily cold and blustery three years I’ve spent in this small haven buried deep in the depths of Fife, I realise that, rather  depressingly, my time in the library has become more frequent and, I  suppose inevitably, lengthier. Risking gale force winds, icy snow storms and  puddles deeper than the one The Vicar of Dibley jumped into, I have battled  my way here time and time again, if only not to miss out on my daily dose of  radiation from our (still!) mustard yellow carpets.

But there’s something else that has defined my days spent here, holed up on the third floor procrastinating. The stereotypes. Yes, they’re generic and yes, they are in some sense inevitable – given St Andrew’s uniquely definable student body – but, we never seem to tire of articles just like this. Perhaps it’s the smug feeling that creeps over us as readers, as we allot our friends to a category whilst knowing that we ourselves are ‘above the stereotype.’ But, deep down we all know which category we belong to, it’s our spiritual home, our protective niche and our safety blanket, and it’s where we each retreat back to as the Hogwarts Express chugs towards Leuchars.

So, it is with the above in mind that I invite you to indulge yourself in some ‘friend allotment.’ Shuffle your peers up and deal then, slowly and carefully, commence the game. And don’t worry, you yourself are, of course, exempt.

 

The Post Grads

You know the ones. The ones who kick you off your nice big post grad desk and the ones who stare angrily if your whisper reaches any decibel above sign-language. Usually they walk in with just a pen because all their stuff is cosily tucked away in your desk. The fact that the desk next to you is empty doesn’t seem to register with The Post Grad, all sense of propriety is eliminated as they stand and watch you cram your pens, paper, books, laptop, phone, sweet wrappers and coffee cups into your bag…couldn’t they just come back in twenty minutes? 

The Meer Cat-ers

Ever noticed all the heads that bob up out of the blue lined cubicles as you walk past? Like Meer Cats their occupiers’ heads bob up and down from their holes with tired and startled eyes, desperately hoping for a friend, a distraction, but each time disappointed that that particular heel clip, ugg-boot slop, or loafer scuff isn’t for them.

The Catwalkers

Yup, you have been named. Stop strutting up and down the library isles please, this is not the time to practice for your model casting. Oh and also, you can stop with the Starbucks skimmed-frappa-latte-spiced-flat-cino or whatever, they have perfectly good coffees downstairs.

The Socialites

We all know who you are, you with your mobile phone an inch from your hand as it incessantly vibrates with BBMs, Facebook updates, text messages and phone calls. You with your constant parade of friends, who incidentally should go to the damn model casting and stop practicing here, and you with your coffee dates so frequent that it really seems futile to even pretend to work for those twenty minutes that you’re actually here.

The Computer Hoggers

Please, please can you check Facebook, watch that YouTube clip, make your Skype call or catch up on the latest episode of Made in Chelsea somewhere else? All I want to do is print this JSTOR article…and check Facebook.

The Annoying Noise-Makers

We’ve all sat next to one, the geographers noisily colouring their maps, the sniffers, the coughers, the knee-tappers, the one with a Professor Umbridge-esque ‘ahem,’ and the one who can’t seem to accomplish normal sounds in whisper. It’s more like a shout.

The Minimalists

With one pen and one notebook and maybe a laptop, how is that all they need for the day?

The Baggage Handlers

Those pour miserable souls who trundle in with their hold-alls and their wheely suitcases stuffed to the brim with books. They are here for the long haul – they’ve probably brought a sleeping bag.

The Picnic-ers

We’ve all sat next to one of them. Quite suddenly, without warning, they’ve set up a restaurant in the middle of the library. Today’s specials include stuffed tupperwares, piping hot thermos flasks, crunchy tin foil and succulent cling film. Yum.

 

Louise Gundry

Image Credit – garethjmsaunders

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