Do you ever go to certain places so often that you begin to recognize the people who also regularly frequent that location? You don't know them. But you sort of do.
I have a name for these people. These are my Familiar Strangers at Queen's. Also, a disclaimer for this post: I'm really not creepy. I just, you know, observe people. A lot.
So, a couple of months ago, I decided I didn't like studying at Stauffer. Too noisy. Too many chances of running into my students. So I relocated to studying at another library on campus. And, I'm telling you, I fell in love.
So much love for this library that I'm there everyday. It's the perfect study spot. Not a day goes by that I don't spend at least 5 hours at my usual table, writing essays, reading. And so, when you're at the library everyday, you tend to familiarize yourself with the ~library regulars~. The people who spend just as much time there as you do (if not more). Enough that you can recognize each other on the street. Or at Starbucks. Or, you know, at the Grizzly Grill on Friday night.
So here, my friends, are just some stories about a couple of my Familiar Library Strangers. I don't know their names. I don't know where they're from. I don't know what year they're in. I just know that we see each other every single day, sitting at our usual tables at the library.
And after regularly spending hours at the library together, I'd like to think we're, you know, sort of friends (hehe).
STORY 1 - THE IVY LEAGUE POSER
The first time I discovered this library in December, I planted myself down at the nearest table, and looked around in satisfaction. I liked it. I loved the quiet. I loved the atmosphere. The study hall wasn't too big, but it wasn't too small that I felt pangs of claustrophobia.
Glancing over at another table, my eyebrows raised as I checked out a guy wearing a Harvard University sweater, decked out in crimson and gray. Janice and I watched him in fascination, wondering if he had gone to Harvard for his undergraduate degree.
The next day, I was back at the library. Planting myself down at the same table (it has, indeed, become my usual spot), I glanced over to see Harvard Guy heading to a nearby table. No big deal, right?
Harvard Guy placed his backpack on the table and started to unzip his jacket.
Except, as he took off his jacket, I noticed something weird. Harvard Guy was now wearing a Columbia University sweater.
I watched him curiously, in fascination. What's this guy's deal?
A few hours later, the library was getting pretty hot. It was an uncharacteristically warm winter day in Kingston that afternoon. So, naturally, what do you do when its hot? You take your sweater off.
Out of the corner of my eye, I discreetly watched Harvard/Columbia Guy slowly take his sweater off. Except I noticed something weirder.
Harvard/Columbia Guy was wearing a Princeton University t-shirt underneath his sweater.
LOL. Oh, love. Love him so much for all the the Ivy League Trying. Since then, Janice, Josephine and I have labelled him the Ivy league Poser. We don't know his name, what year he is. All we know is that, in our heart of hearts, he is the fantastically hilarious and endearing Ivy League Poser.
Now you see why I think the library is so amusing? This particular library isn't the depressing, desolate place libraries usually are. You make your own fun, yea?
STORY 2 - THE LIBRARY ASIAN
There's more where Ivy League Poser came from.
Like, for example. I think I've found my favourite Asian drama actor's doppleganger.
No, no, really.
A couple of months ago, I noticed that another library regular was an Asian guy who looked oddly familiar. I couldn't put my finger on why I thought I knew him. And so, day after day, I kept staring. Thinking that, you know, I would eventually figure out why he looked so familiar.
That's when it hit me.
He looked like a popular Korean pop-star-turned-drama-actor who, I admit, I'm a ridiculously major fan of. And when I'm a fan, my friends, I'm a fan. A delusional, crazed fangirl at that. Ever heard of him? His name is Rain.
I'm so much of a fangirl that, initially, I thought the guy at the library really was Rain.
And so, one day, as I was leaving the library, Korean Drama Pop Star opened the door for me, nodding in acknowledgement. (Because really, at this point, after seeing each other at the library everyday, you're bound to recognize each other). I nodded back cheerfully, wondering how, pray tell, I could bring up the topic of his doppleganger when I had never spoken to him before. I needed to figure out if he really was Rain. Or, better yet, maybe even related to Rain? (The resemblance is uncanny, I tell you).
And so, I glanced over at Janice and strategically raised my voice a little loudly to enthuse, "We spent so much time at the library today, we should go home and watch Korean music videos of Rain!"
Because I thought, you know, bringing up the topic would make him pause and talk to us.
However, Korean Drama Pop Star just looked at me oddly as he walked by. He didn't stop. Didn't give any indication that he was even remotely related to Rain. Aw, darn.
And so, since then, he's looked at me a little oddly. Like, you know, I'm That Asian Girl who just fell off the boat and watches Asian pop music videos in her spare time.
But don't worry, I'll set him straight one day. I will speak to Korean Drama Pop Star before the year is over to let him know I'm not an obsessive, crazy fan of Korean pop culture, I promise!
STORY 3 - BRADLEY COOPER AND HIS WIFE
Yeah, I'm creepy. We're creepy. But this doesn't make it any less fun.
There's a guy at the library everyday who looks like Bradley Cooper. No. I'm serious.
The first time Janice and I saw him, we were floored. Like, he could pass for Bradley Cooper's twin brother. We also noticed that he always studies with his wife. I'm thinking they're in the same program, in the same year.
There's really nothing else I can say about these two. Other than the fact that they're insanely, ridiculously cute together. They study together, eat together, spend 10 hours at the library together.
I think they may be newlyweds. Coopers, I wish you both a happy life.
STORY 4 - MY ENCOUNTER WITH LAGUNA
Readers, I'm sure you've all seen Laguna. He doesn't frequent the library I go to now, but he's a regular at Stauffer. You guys, this guy is a Stauffer legend. Everyone knows who he is! He spends his life at the library. And people stare at him in fascination because, well... he's Laguna.
Ever seen him? Queen's students have dubbed him Laguna of Laguna Beach. Because, you know, he only ever dresses in beach wear. You've seen him. You know you have. The Hollister t-shirts, the spiky hair he often (in a model-esque fashion) runs his hands through, abnormally large arm muscles he proudly displays as he wears abnormally small tank tops in the dead of winter.
You've seen this guy at Stauffer, trust me. He's, like, famous.
So a couple of weeks ago, at Zappas Lounge downtown, Josephine and I were giggling mercilessly when we realized we spotted Laguna across the dance floor. Except, suddenly, something weird happened.
Laguna and his posse crossed the dance floor and walked over to us.
They stopped in front of us and Laguna looked directly at me and said, "Hey, do you want to dance?"
We were waiting for a few friends, so I quickly replied, "No, it's okay!"
Laguna frowned. "Are you sure? This is a one-time offer."
Surprised, my lips twitched in laughter. "Yeah, I think I'm good," I said.
Laguna and his posse walked away. Confused. HAHAHA. I swear, those guys are a walking MTV reality show. Josephine and I died laughing. We couldn't believe we actually had a face-to-face encounter with the legendary Laguna.
Good thing I don't frequent Stauffer as much anymore. I have joined the ranks of those Who Have Rejected Laguna. I just hope I didn't offend him too much. I can still be his friend, yea? Because, like I said, he's a Stauffer legend. A legend!
So next time you're at the library...
...be aware that someone could be watching you! Not in a creepy way, of course. More like in a I-see-you-around-all-the-time-because-Kingston-is-so-small way.
There are way more Familiar Library Strangers that I can talk about. But this post is getting long. And I'm procrastinating from doing actual work. So the next time you're at the library, look around, observe. Get to know your Familiar Strangers! And keep in mind, there may be someone watching you too!
Oh, Kingston. Oh, Queen's community. You never fail to amuse me.
"For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen while one stands."
- Christina Rossetti
"Thus, nature has no love for solitude, and always leans, as it were, on some support; and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate friendship."