I had 20 minutes to kill this afternoon before my Shakespeare class so I sat down at one of the little study cubicles on the second floor of the library. I saw someone I knew--Sam Amadon whose book you should pick up here--and had a little chat before beginning a short paper for my postmodern fiction class. The last line I typed was a quote from Robert Coover's essay on hypertext, "the novel… as we know it, has come to its end." when someone reached over the cubicle wall and grabbed my laptop as I was typing on it.
This confused me.
My first thought was that I would turn around and see Sam holding my computer. Not that this was the sort of joke Sam would normally make, I just honestly couldn't think of any other possibility. I didn't see Sam's beautiful, laughing face, however, but some guy running through the library holding my computer. O, that possibility.
This disappointed me.
Naturally, I ran after him--which really seems to have been the flaw in his plan all along--and chased him all the way through the second floor of the library, down the staircase, past the circulation desk, and right through the front doors where I caught him. He very politely handed me my computer back, shrugged my off hand, and ran away. I still didn't quite understand what had just happened when I came back inside panting and sweating. Two dudes came up to me and we got to have this conversation.
Dude 1: Did that dude jack your computer?
Me: I think so.
Dude 2: Dude, that sucks. Why weren't you yelling?
Me: Um, it's a library.
Dude 1: We were going to tell the cop dude but he's not there.
Dude 2: Did you hit the dude?
Me: Do I look like I hit the dude?
All through Shakespeare the only thing I could think about was what this guy's plan must have been. He clearly chose a time when the security guard wasn't at the entrance, but if he was ever in danger of getting away I would have started yelling (I was sort of joking about the library thing but only sort of. Mostly I was terrified he'd throw the computer if caught). Did he think I wouldn't run after him? Clearly if he'd heard about my exploits on the basketball court he would have thought twice about choosing me as his mark.
(It did occur to me later how strange it was that only two dudes out of the hundreds of people we ran past thought it was odd that one guy was chasing another through the library. Does this happen often here? Um...maybe.)
By the way, I'm again typing on my laptop in the library only now I'm doing it while glancing over my shoulder at the foreign exchange student with her face in a biology textbook. Try it. I'm begging you. Do it.