Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dawn of the Dumb

My favorite neighborhood coffee shop is always buzzing, but for the past several weeks it's been especially packed with students cramming for exams.

Such a comforting sight, with their weighty stacks of economics and medical texts. It takes dedication to focus on gross anatomy while listening to your iPod, having three Yahoo! Instant Messenger conversations, talking on the phone with your girlfriend, and updating your MySpace profile with pictures from last night's beer wallow.

These are the people who, one day, may be called upon to remove my gall bladder. The thought makes me want to dig it out myself, pre-emptively, with a grapefruit spoon and a pair of embroidery scissors.

Last week I slipped deftly into the lone vacant chair, and a moment later felt a tap on my shoulder. The tapping finger was attached to a nacsent trixie, still in the fledgling (university) stage, with a couple of medical books and a fully-grown sense of entitlement.

"Are you, um, going to be here much longer?" she asked.

"Yes, I just sat down," I said.

Her brow furrowed under her Depaul baseball cap.

"Um, okay. Well, I have a lot of work to do, and I was really hoping you might be getting ready to leave."

"Well, no. Sorry. I just sat down," I said slowly and distinctly, "and so I plan on staying put for at least an hour."

"There are no chairs right now," she said, biting her lower lip.

"I know," I said.

"And I really need to study," she said. "I have a midterm."

"Maybe somebody else is ready to leave?"

"They're all working, and you're just crocheting or whatever. So I thought maybe you wouldn't mind giving up your seat. This test is really important."

"Oh," I said, suddenly smiling. "It's an important test and you need a place to study."

"Right!" she chirped, visibly excited that the weird old man's brain had finally encompassed the gravity of her situation.

"You're a Depaul student?"

"Well, yes." She pointed to her cap and giggled.

"Are you homeless?"

"What? Um...no."

"Did the Depaul library burn down?"

"Um...no."

"Then I believe I've just solved your dilemma. You're very welcome."

She didn't say anything, she just stared at me. Probably memorizing my face so that one fine day she can exact painstaking revenge upon my gall bladder.

170 comments:

Debbie said...

Good grief, how incredibly rude of her. I would have told her "go to the library" too!

Glenna C said...

The libraries here in Toronto are swarming with similar undergrads. I mean, why doesn't the rest of the world understand that in their time of stress, they NEED to be able to commandeer 3 chairs in the library/cafeteria/common space with all of their personal belongings, while they leave and go get a coffee/chat with their friends/message everyone/do everything else besides work? BAH, I say. I'm impressed at your patience and witty comeback.

La Cabeza Grande said...

Ignorance that transcends the obvious. That poor, nervy little creature couldn't even *buy* a clue.

You live right. I think your gallbladder is safe, my dear.

meg swansen said...

Ouf! Franklin, what a great writer you are...

Sherry W said...

Try living near an ivy sometime. Sadly, this type of behavior is the norm.

ck said...

Lol! I love the "crocheting or whatever" part. I can't believe the nerve...are you sure she was a trixie because that took balls.

Elaine said...

Would you PLEASE come and speak to my son? I'll pay in angora crack. I swear, I have satin angora crack (lots of it) and I'd spend it to get you to direct this sentiment to my 17 year old who is at this moment "studying" for finals just the way you describe...please!!!!???

calicokitty6 said...

Great answer, Franklin.

Obviously, she didn't comprehend the importance your knitting was as well. Were you working on the shawl? It's just beautiful. I can't wait to see pics of it finished.

I never lived/attended college, but, don't they supply dorm rooms for some students just for them to live and study in ?????

Judy G. said...

My first thought when I read your descriptions of study habits was "My God. He's met my son." Then, as I read further, I thought "Nope, not my son." He'll never have the marks to attend university or college. Co-incidence? I think not.

canknitian said...

Oh Franklin. You're awesome. So nice to have an ally in the War on Dumb.

lori said...

OMG!! that is to funny

Kay said...

Coming out of the lurking forest to say THANK YOU! Living in a university town our bookstores and coffee shops are packed with students supposedly studying. I really would love to ask why they think they can study with all the distractions instead of the library or their room?

Knit Mongrel said...

As someone who knows Evanston you may laugh at the following: I used to study for exams at Kafein.

KAFEIN.

They would put nine shots of espresso into my beverage, that's all.

It amazes me that the link between education and intelligence grows ever weaker.

Go U.

Amy said...

Gah. I can not for a second imagine having done something like that back in my college days. Where did this sense of entitlement come from?

Rachel H said...

I was about to write something about the arrogance of youth, but then realized that even in the most cringeworthy moments of my early twenties, and darling, there were several I'd like to pretend never happened, I was never that that rude. Silly little chit.

I do so wish I had your talent for graciously putting people in their place.

Angel said...

Some people's children. People like that make me glad that I went to a rural collage and didn't have a car, I actually studied in the library (where a person could focus) and did really well on my exams.

Trixie wasn't worried about studying, it was more important to appear to study in the right place. Otherwise, how was she to attract the right guy. Don't you know, you ruined her chances of marrying ex-husband #1 because you had to relax and "crochet or whatever".

Janine said...

Ah ha hahahahaha!
I think I would have responded: "Oh, no. I'm not *crocheting*. I'm KNITTING!" all the while giving her a look filled with the mutual understanding that, well, KNITTING! Can't be interrupted!

maritza said...

Good for you! You are my new hero. I am so glad that you said that to her. I have never understood why it is that people have to "study" at a coffee shop. I remember studying at the library or even *gasp* in my room, but not in a coffee shop because, let's face it, it is too distracting. And the attitude and entitlement they carry around is just appalling. My friends and I were repeatedly shushed by some student from one of the several universities around here for laughing while they were trying to study - in a frigging coffee shop. So silly. I wish I could have explained to him that if he wanted silence, then a café would not be the place to find it.

Karen S said...

HE!!! (and that's all there is for a comment)

Anonymous said...

I graduated from uni 12 years ago and I always studied at home or in a library. I do get distracted easily and my computer was a 486 that could barely handle Tetris (my main study distraction) but all the same these kids surely can't get any quality studying done in coffee shops. Good for you for putting the priviledged little twat in her place. And I have a spare set of Fiskars scissors if your gallbladder does ever act up. :)

Mary Ann

Gwen said...

I just discovered I don't have anything nice to say. So I won't. (No, not about you, Franklin!)

Of course, I was obnoxious unfortunately often in college and high school myself. More thoughtless and loud (when in a pack) than deliberately rude. I have to try pretty hard to be rude.

Suzanne said...

Hahahaha! As a college student I find that truly hilarious! Seriously.. wasn't the library made for umm uhh students? How one can get any work done in a coffee shop is beyond me. I must not be as advanced as those students..

Cherice said...

My first thought as I was reading this was "You've got to be kidding", but sadly I know that you weren't. Personally I may have stabbed her with my knitting needles (carefully so as to not mess my project). But we're having issues with our middle boy (16 years old) which have given us a great many gray hairs and a perpetual eye twitch so I know how these kids act. I'm with Elaine, could you talk to my son? She's offering angora, can I offer something else? (and like Judy G, my son will never have the marks to go to college or university).

trek said...

We have encountered this at a local bookshop's café. Actually had a couple of people tell us we were "dominating" the café - all 8 of us in a room of over 40 people. One of our peeps told this individual exactly how to get to the county library - less than two miles from where he was sitting.

Nancy said...

And they probably are forgetting to call their mothers today (Sunday, Mother's Day), too. Great snippet of life in the Big City...

Yarngineer said...

Ugh. The sense of entitlement just kills me.

There are a group of us here, I am sure, that would remove your gall bladder for you with those fiskars, a crochet hook and a spoon. :)

I agree with Angel. I graduated 10 years ago. I avoided many of the libraries on my campus for said "face time." It was more important to flirt and be seen than to really study in the libraries. Hence, I either stayed in my room or sneaked my way into the law library's stacks to study (which was against that library's access policies). But hey, the law students didn't care as long as I was quiet, too.

blogless Grace said...

Bravo!! Living in a university town this is seen many times; but never to that extent. Usually they hover, twitching, waiting for a seat/table. Wonderful description.

jenfromRI said...

You rock!

Anonymous said...

she had a lot of gall, didn't she!?
That was funny and sadly true. The arrogance of a trixie...
:o)
Lori in Seattle

villiers said...

Franklin, I...I...love you!

"Crocheting or whatever." Ha!

A lesser man would have stabbed her with a needle.

hugs said...

Oh how we hates thos trixies. Hates them, we do!

Reluctant Penguin said...

My non-knitter college professor husband LOVED your portrayal of the over-developed sense of entitlement he also sees in this generation of students. He may become a regular reader, though he did visibly flinch at your proposed method for removing one's own gall bladder.

Catherine said...

Fantastic! Franklin, you can really tell a story. I could almost hear Trixie giggling and wanted to slap her.

Elizabeth said...

I love that definition! We have that type up here in Madison, too. They're probably lower down the developmental scale in that they haven't moved on to Chicago yet.

What nerve, in the worst sense of the word, that brazen young thing displayed. I'm glad you told her a thing or two. At great risk to your gallbladder's future.

April said...

I had to read this post three times and I still don't understand it. Someone was actually THAT rude? You were far more polite than I would have been.

Pamela said...

May your gallbladder live forever.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! As a college prof, I can tell you that the U's are becoming the daycares of many in this young adult world. I could go on and on how tests have to be 'dumbed down', how we are moving everything online because few even bother to go to class any more, or how students go ballistic if they get below a B--but I won't. Suffice to say that I love your blog and you are a terrific writer!

A+

alala said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

nathalie said...

Rock on! I love it. The nerve. It does my heart good when someone gets a well deserved reality check.

Jeanie said...

This really made me laugh. After a crazy weekend of my husband having to visit the ER room a couple times (golf cart rolled over him), I thank you for the laugh.

Yvonne said...

Both my undergrad and grad schools have started countering this problem by putting coffee shops IN the libraries.

I'm definitely a coffee-shop studier and can block out ambient noise well enough, but when the test is *important* it's just me, my books and notes, and a few writing utensils. And maybe my knitting for when I need to give my brain a break. I have no idea how people learn anything with all the electronic gizmos.

Cara said...

Ah, yes, as a former college prof (art, so not so much textbook studying for my students) I can well recall the attitude. I had one student, not one of mine, show shock that I would not let her turn off the Tom Waits I was listening to in favor of Britney Spears or some such pop drama. You are a much nicer person than I am, reminding her that there are other places to study. I have an extra advantage in that with an active 3-year old, people tend to leave a wide space around me.

Elemmaciltur said...

Hehehehe, good on ya!

Puttermeister said...

Your response absolutely rocks, Franklin. I teach at university and have for 13 years, and I swear that students' sense of entitlement is increasing exponentially every year.

Example: Earlier this quarter, I had a student from the PREVIOUS quarter email me to ask me to change his grade because he'd overslept and missed a midterm in class THIS quarter. And he called me "dude" while making the request.

The mind boggles. I'm glad your trixie and my dude are on different sides of the country: imagine the offspring.

(Unfortunately, I lack your style and panache, so I just emailed him back to say no--though I was tempted to lower his grade because he clearly hadn't developed a sense of audience.)

kemtee said...

This is but one reason why I love you, Franklin. Bravo!

Victoria said...

What is with these kids? I am doing the back to college thing myself and I don't get these kids! What a rude b***h...sorry I am around a bunch of them all the time and I see it and get...My university may not be Depaul but I would think that if my University's library is open everyday until midnight and if our student union is open 24hrs theres certainly is. Its finals week here and I never understand the kids sitting in the coffee shop trying to "look" like they are studying when I run in to get my coffee on the way to study at the library. I like the way you handled it. Sheesh...she needs to take a class in manners and respect.

Grumpy said...

Have just read my first Elizabeth Zimmerman. Thanks for that Franklin.

Jena the yarn harpy said...

Franklin, you are AWESOME. And very clever, too. :)

Sean said...

I cannot imagine every, EVER asking someone if they're ready to leave. I can see asking if you were using an extra chair at a table, but this is beyond rude. Actually, it's not so surprising. The entitlement I run into from time to time no longer surprises me. And lately, I able to laugh at it. Since when did coffee houses become study halls? Or am I dating myself.

So if understood properly, you were preventing her from studying by occupying one seat in a coffee shop? Maybe failure for her is a bonus for the rest of society!

Eternal Sunshine said...

I am an undergrad and went up to my library today with studying in mind. I got there to find that it was closed! I was not amused. After me and my friend briefly debated whether to overrun a coffee shop with our revising we decided to go back to my flat. We stole the kitchen table and some chairs and we made our own study in my room.

That girl isn't going to get anywhere in life if she doesn't respect her elders and any other human being for that matter!

knottykitty said...

A few months ago I would have been incredulous at the rudeness of that dumba**, but unfortunately, it seems to be the norm now! Welcome, sadly, to the 'self-entitlement' generation...Awesome the way you handled that! She might have actually had to rub her two brain cells together to use some critical thinking skills to solve her dilemma! You made my day! :)

MonicaPDX said...

Trying to memorize your face? Oh, no. That was the squirrel in the headlights look of an empty skull trying to process a - what do they call those things again? Oh yeah. A thought.

Sublime! And once again, I'm strangely thankful my HS had lousy counsellors, it didnt't occur to us that duh, with my scores I probably could've gotten a good scholarship, thus I never went to college. Just think of all the sheer, heedless arrogance I had knocked out of me faster than normal!

KellyD said...

I'm certain you didnt realize the world revolved around her. Glad you stayed where you sat.

mochiqtpi said...

If I had been sitting nearby I would have been laughing out loud! Good for you Franklin!

Rachel said...

I go to medical school in a different city, luckily most of my fellow students are not such rude ditzy people but the ringers sure do make their mark...sigh. Anyway, I particularly resent her implication that handcrafts and studying do not mix. I regularly sit in coffee shops listening to recorded lectures and knitting. Thus I train my mind and my hands to be deft and swift at extracting gallbladders. Also, all good doctors know the difference between knitting and crochet.

marie in florida said...

"she didn't say anything"

honestly, i believe she was too uhhmish to understand the burn you gave her. poor thing.

Longhorn Diva said...

I. Love. You.
Awesome.

Abigail said...

Ack, the trixies are killing me. As a non-trixie, 20-something DePaul Law student and Lincoln Park resident, I feel like they're giving me a bad name by association. Good for you, telling her no--probably something no one has ever said to her before.

Kirstin said...

When I was in college, I used to write all of my papers in the towniest old bar around. It had a bottomless cup of coffee for a dollar , huge ashtrays for chainsmokers, and never gave people the bum's rush after an hour or so.

Janice said...

LOLOLOL, proud of you!!!!!

Ann said...

I wish you had been my personal coach back about 18 or more years ago when I waited tables through college and had to deal with many of these trixies-in-training. The University of Virginia hybrids are really quite disturbing.

Ted said...

I don't believe this: you made it up.

If it were a true story, she'd have said "like" or "whatever" at least once.

Wouldn't she?

mary said...

Brilliant response! Too bad your biker look didn't scare her off in the first place.

AuntieAnn said...

Scary to think what she'll be like if she succeeds at becoming a doctor, isn't it?

Whaledancer said...

Yeah! Give it to 'er!
What an obnoxious wee twit!
I don't know how you didn't skewer her with your pointy sticks right there. Except it would have mussed your work.
Mentally I am cussing....kids today!

gail said...

Franklin, you make me a better person. If I *ever* have a confrontation where I respond so calmly and with such good sense I will start a blog and record the occasion! Hillary wasn't kidding when she said it takes a village.

TheAmpuT said...

She is so glad it's wasn't ME she was asking to move. Who knows where my needles would have ended up. My words don't come that quickly when my mouth is hanging that far open.

Franklin, you TOTALLY crack me up! :-)

Carson said...

I can't believe you had the presence of mind to have that calm interchange with her!

cedar said...

that was hysterically funny...thanks

Gayle said...

Unfortunately, due to wi-fi and internet accessible databases and coffee stores in libraries, the coffee shop and the library have become interchangeable for today's student. I often find that the University library and the Chicago Public Library are just as loud as the coffee shop.

However, this still does not excuse her rudeness. Glad you stuck to your seat.

Terri said...

It's a shame that the young woman with all the attitude and not a clue in the world never learned the basic concept of "first come, first served..." For the sake of all of our gallbladders, lets hope she fails her boards if she is studying medicine.

Jo said...

I just graduated last year (has it been a year already? Sheesh) and it never would have even OCCURRED to me to be that rude. I never studied in a coffee shop, either. There's free wireless at the university library, too, as well as a 24-hour convenience center that sells strong black coffee.

Good for you, telling her NO.

Lissa said...

When was it that a coffee shop became the ONLY place anyone could ever study?

Me, I never could get any work done in a coffee shop BUT "crocheting or whatever."

Perfect response. You are brilliant.

PICAdrienne said...

Obviously she is going to fail whatever exam she was supposedly studying for, if she cannot tell the difference between knitting and crocheting. Furthermore, if the exam had anything to do with bedside manner or empathy she is totally lacking in both.

The guy who stitched my oldest's toe last week resembled you physically, and was sweet and supportive to my daughter, and told her how brave she was.

I would guess that rude twit would not know how to cope with a crying 15 year old, and still give the shots she really needed.

Kristen said...

Oh. My. God. I'm simply speechless! The audacity!!!!

Leigh Witchel said...

Wow, it's like something out of a Julie Brown song ('member her?)

"My best friend is on a shooting spree! Stop it, Debbie, you're embarrassing me!"

DianeS said...

So glad you held your ground. She clearly needed to be reminded that she is not the center of universe.

My DD just finished finals last Friday for the semester. She shuts herself in her room with a little music, her books, her cats and a cup of tea. She doesn't care much for distractions while studying.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Franklin, you ARE da bomb. I'm old (64, even if it IS "the new 30" for petessakes) and I, never one for confrontation, now welcome it. This entitlement bit leaves me absolutely frigid and I will NOT stand up for it. Colleges are schools; they all have a variety of places to study. But so many students are just in school for the fun. When I think of all that tuition going down the tubes at the hands of the Trixies I could just cry; my "gifted" son would've made use of it if he'd had the chance. I'm so proud of you on ALL our behalfs. When a kid says something like that to me I go into Severe Passive-Aggressive Overload and she couldn't pry me out of that chair with mace.

Angela said...

Oh, the entitlement generation. You showed tremendous restraint. The funny thing is that somewhere there is a text message bouncing around the cosmos about some guy who, like, couldn't see how important it was for her to study right there at THAT table and if she fails her exam it will totally be the fault of that guy with the string or whatever.

Joy said...

You must live in the neighborhood I abandoned almost 30 years ago (Lincoln/Fullerton/Halsted) if the DePaul students are your bete noir also. Or still. About the only differences I can remember are a. fewer decent coffee shops back then b. the med students took themselves way too seriously to *ever* giggle - they simply looked at you the way they probably stare at paramecium (sp?)in microbiology lab. c. I was a twenty-something myself then and could come up with all sorts of spiffy rejoinders. The old brain is getting to slow for anything but returning haughty stares and sniffing, "I am NOT crocheting you silly little twit, I am WEAVING!" This should confused said twit sufficiently enough that she will never become a fibre artist of any sort and will stick to performing unnecessary cesarean deliveries or administering botox injections.

Hmph. Crocheting indeed!

Joy
Rewalsar, H.P., India

Kate said...

I live in a different coffee shop culture to the USA's so this problem hasn't developed here... yet. God help us when it does. Here in Oz, if you don't buy a beverage at least 10 mins after finishing your last one you're expected by staff and management to leave. If you don't they start doing subtle stuff like shifting chairs around you, wiping your table, removing your cup, staring at the table and then glaring at you. 20 mins is the longest I've been able to withstand...

I studied in the library but I must admit to feeling territorial about the corral I usually studied at. And I was a mature-aged student (at 23!) and so I was weird anyway...

Mary said...

Trixie's version:
"So, there was like this old guy ya know who made me feel so bad. All he was doing was crocheting or something and I go, 'I have an important test and have to study' and he just didn't understand ya know that like this test is important and I needed his chair because I have to like study for my test. Then he hurt my self esteem because he told me I was homeless. And I go, 'whatever.' And he like was really old and ya know he must have just gotten out of prison because he was like crocheting or something and isn't that something they learn in prison?"

Anna-Liza said...

You are our hero! But I have to say, I've run into similar attitudes in people my own age (somewhat older than you).

My favorite comment in those kinds of situations is, "You may be the center of your universe, honey, but you're not the center of mine."

lauragayle said...

Ah, Trixies live in a pre-Copernian universe. Yes, the library is too mundane for her; her potential mates would frequent the coffee shop. Don't worry, F, she won't pass her medical boards. Besides, if you need a good doc for the gallbladder, visit me. My doc was great, and you can recuperate chez Laura. Dolores is allowed for brief visits, but Harry and his mates can also move in for the meantime.

Mama Llama said...

Maybe we'll be lucky, and she will go into research, or something that does not require a courteous bedside manner.

"You're still occupying that hospital bed? But I removed your gall bladder almost 2 hours ago! Get up! Get up! Get up!! I need a nap and that's my favorite pillow!"

Carrie said...

Wow. Way to keep you head in what would have had me frothing. I think of good comments later, of course. What an odd girl. I assume she'll be gleaned out of doctors training shortly.... (crossing fingers)

Mini said...

My BF and I popped into a local pub the other night and the local college kids were in there (as usual- it's a hang out). We were watching a game on tv, and the news came on. My BF asked for the volume to be turned up (to hear the NEWS) and we had 20 undergrads groan and say "dude! we're trying to STUDY!". Huh? In the PUB???

I studied in a diner while i was in college... always during slow times b/c the library was too quiet... but, I never ever made myself a "problem". In fact, the diner staff would drill me on my studies!

martian77 said...

I studied at Cambridge, just as Starbucks was arriving in the city. I have to admit I never studied there. I did use the town library purely because hardly any other students seemed to know about it and it was the best place to get out of my room and avoid 300 other stressed out students (and they served surprisingly good coffee too - upstairs, away from the books).

That was a great put down.

Anonymous said...

Tell me, were you the actor for all of the special encounters you have described on your blog or were you sometimes just a priviledged observer? In the former case, you seem to have a real gift at attracting interesting people (or people with entertaining behavior)...

Manon

Corbie said...

Oh, good lord.

I had a similar run-in (via email, over something on my website) recently. I guess I don't run into enough 20-somethings to realize that it's a trend. Though I did have an assistant who acted pretty much like this (I blamed it on her prep school background). She didn't last.

Julia said...

That is definitely a frightening thought that she would one day be wielding a scalpel on some poor sap! Yikes. And since when did studying in the library go out of fashion? :-)

Ditzy Cadet said...

Well, then. Loyola, IIT and UIC are looking better and better.
and to "you seem to have a real gift at attracting interesting people (or people with entertaining behavior)..."

You've never been to Chicago, have you?!?

See you this summer, Franklin

Ditzy

Penny said...

i've notice my uni library is mostly devoid of students, the library "cafe" on the other hand, packed. i do not understand this phenomenon.

i'm not sure whether to shudder or laugh about this development.

As for the 3 chairs.. I love how they leave their stuff unattended for two hours to go chat with significant other and can't understand why someone who just needs to quickly write 5 pages will slightly rearrange a bit of their spread to sit down and type. *sigh*

Mary Lynn said...

Franklin, that was a great response. Silly girl.

For all those concerned about their kids . . . they will eventually "get it." I finally did but it only took me 20 years . . . maybe the problem is that no one should be allowed to go to college until they have worked for 10 or so years and recognize the value of what their education will bring them. They will also, hopefully recognize the value of quiet. Blissful and beautiful quiet. My kids never quite get it when I study, I turn everything off, the music, the tv, the noise.

By the way, our new library was built with four quiet study rooms because the "open areas" are too noisy. It is amazing though that when you look in them (there are glass walls), most of the students in there are older. Hmmmmmm.

Helen said...

"JUST crocheting or something"??
JUST
she wishes she were half as talented as you are.
You were very polite and kind.
Perhaps the coffee shop could post a wee sign:
Warning: Real Adults also drink coffee here. They passed all their exams without occupying this space; you can too.

Josie said...

Well, no wonder the library was always so empty when I was studying there. I considered it crowded when I had to sit in the same row of desks as someone else, or when I couldn't get a view of the river.

And I can't think of anyone I went to school with (less than 10 years ago) who would be so rude as that girl. Maybe that's the difference a small uni makes.

Eldronius said...

That is so great, and something I can only aspire to. At first I thought it was a story with Delores, but then I realized this was a real situation you encountered. You're my hero.

Liz said...

Oh, Hell yea! Although, I think the pre-emtive gal bladder removal might be a good idea.

junior_goddess said...

Heheh. You are officially crochety old guy, crocheting.

KT said...

As a university student, I gotta say that I could never, ever study at a coffee shop. Ever. Too freakin' noisy! You go, you get your wickedly caffeinated beverage, and you leave to go find someplace quiet.

Thank God my school's library just had a Starbucks put on the first floor. :) But, seriously, what nerve! That's beyond rude.

Mary said...

Nice come back. I'll have to remember it, although the issue we have here isn't hanging out in coffee shops, but rather taking over whatever space has 4 chairs and is left with a door unlocked.

Jen W said...

Ooooh, bravo! Give the Y-Gen what for! The constant sense of entitlement--never fails to amaze me.

Rob said...

A few years back, we had our monthly knitting night at a Barnes & Noble in Bloomington, IN. There were maybe 12-18 of us, knitting and socializing and drinking BN beverages and snacking on things from their in-store counter.

A similar event transpired, where local "trixies" actually asked us if we could be quiet--they were studying! One of the less forgiving members of our group (and a retired university professor of neurology) LOUDLY announced that if they needed quiet to study, they should A) go to the library or B) go home. The resulting HUFF was toooooo hilarious!

Bravo to you for handling the little twit in such a grand style.

Tina said...

Seeing people studying in the coffee shops always puzzles me too. I would be so distracted by all the traffic that I wouldn't be able to absorb anything. I also find it very rude that someone would actual ask you if they could have your seat. I would have done the exact same thing.

Stephanie said...

I was saying just this to my mother the other day. That teenagers (including my own children) can sincerely be rude and entitled in the dumbest possible way. Joe concurred and Ken nodded assent. None of us could believe the dimness.
My Mum just sat there laughing. When we finally got it out of her, she just said "I just love the way adults always firmly, absolutely believe, to the point of outrage at the insinuation of it....
That they were never like that at all."

sko_G knits said...

the nerve of her! not very bright for a college student. good for you.

Rob said...

Whoops, forgot the kicker...

Compaining Trixie threatened to "call a manager" to get us quiet. Same retired prof said "bring it--we're purchasing things, using space they PROVIDE for the group, and ....IN A RETAIL STORE!, not a library!"

Dolores (her actual name) was German and rather direct!

Liz from DC said...

I am so glad that you put that little twit in her place. No matter what you are doing, you were in the chair first. And, we all know knitting has priority over anything.

Although not a coffee shop story, I must relate this one. I went to Lexington, KY for the 3-day horse eventing show in April. Needless to say,there were myriads of portapotties everywhere. As I and a million other people were standing in line, one person came out of a portapotty, and out of nowhere some man came around the corner and slipped into the vacant portapotty. There were two teenage girls in front of me who turned around and just stared at me with their mouths open!

I told them that I was going to confront that man when he came out of the portapotty to let him know how rude he was. I said, I'm old, I can do that! They cracked up.

When the man came out, I made a beeline for him, and politely called him, Sir? You just butt in front of the line when all these (waves arm toward the 6-10 lines of people waiting) people are waiting to use the portapotty.

He gave me a sheepish look and said, I didn't know. Then he rushed off to his seat with his head down, hoping I wouldn't come after him.

What I didn't say was, I'm an old woman with a bladder problem. How would you like me to have an accident on you?

Glenda said...

Dare I admit that I was (and still am) one of those coffee-shop studiers... In undergrad, my friends and I would study at a local 24-hour cafe - by the time the after-movie crowd left, all the customers in the place were students. Now that I'm working on my PhD, I still wander off to the local coffee shop on a regular basis, with reading and laptop in tow.

Maybe I'm a victim of my generation (I'm 27), but I can't study in a silent room - I need to have some white noise to block out in order to be able to focus.

Mind you, I would NEVER be so rude as to ask someone else to leave so I could have their seat! Of course I may come over and ask to see what you're making, but that's ok, right? :)

Ina said...

Teehee! Knitting in public 1, studying in public 0. I hope the encounter didn't sour your evening.

Isua said...

I will admit to studying at the coffeeshop, but only when there was an actual seat for me. It seemed to make aquatic chemistry less hateful somehow.

ccr in MA said...

She probably didn't say anything because your perfect logic fried her few brain cells. I was laughing out loud reading this, thank you for saying what I would only think (and usually after the fact).

Rae said...

Gosh, That brings to light the exact reason I decided to go to a 2 year collage (for 5 years getting 3 degrees) & call it good. I can't stand to go get coffee near the big university & I could never live with those people.

Anonymous said...

Okay, another relative of the 'did you learn how to knit in prison' chick. I think we need to find where the stupid people breeding ground is and destroy it.

IRV said...

LMAO------That's almost as funny as Mike Wallace's interview w/ Mitt Romney yesterday. The world is full of fools!

KnitNana said...

The precise reason I do not teach any longer...
I LOVE the comeback!
(((hugs)))

Nancy in Kent said...

I live in a college town, and the students are the main reason I avoid the few coffee shops here; a shame, because the ones that aren't StarSchumcks are great.

Thankfully, their finals are done, and commencment was this past weekend. My town will be entitlement-free until late August!

Amy said...

Speaking as a person who's had her gallbladder removed, you really don't need it, and they're not difficult to remove in the first place. All you really need is a Swiss Army Knife and a Dyson vacuum.

Franklin, will you by my platonic boyfriend?

AlisonH said...

She totally lucked out that it was you she was so rude to. A completely gracious response like that leaves her nothing to fight back against except her own sense of entitlement. Maybe that'll teach her--I hope it does. But I'm sorry you got stuck with helping her grow up.

Lucia said...

I have the good fortune not to live near a uni, but I am so using that line someday, even if I have to move to Cambridge to do it. Twit. She'll probably grow up, all right, grow older, to work in customer service.

Sneaksleep said...

As a graduate of two schools known for the students' sense of entitlement, I have to say, I'm not surprised. Not everyone is like her, of course. But far too many are. I must also sheepishly admit to having been a bit of a coffee shop studier in grad school (but only for writing papers--somehow the distractions forced me to concentrate harder...don't ask). However, I can say that I have never, ever asked anyone to vacate a seat just because I needed to work on a paper. If the place was full, I went to the library or my apartment.

Anyway, good for you for putting her in her place!

Knit Wit said...

Can I just say how totally cool it is that Meg Swansen *and* Stephanie Pearl-McPhee posted on your blog?

I'm so jealous...

amy said...

I salute and thank you, on behalf of all of us who suffer the Trixies! At my undergrad school, I couldn't escape them, even in the library. Our library was a well-known spot for Greek members to socialize and flirt at deafening volumes. (Thanks for not kicking me out, law librarians!)
Way to go, and great blog!

Seanna Lea said...

Gosh, this conversation happens daily in the Boston area. Makes me a tad greatful to be living far enough into the burbs that the coffeeshops are mostly full of adults waiting for coffee.

David said...

You are not allowed to have two brilliantly comedic posts in a row. It makes the rest of us look bad. Please be more considerate in the future.

Ms. Angie said...

As both a recent graduate This past Saturday, in fact) AND a brand-new librarian (that's what the degree was for), let me congratulate you on doing the Right Thing. Send 'em to the library. That's what we're there for.

Rebecca said...

I love your response! I've always wanted to say that to some of the students at my favorite coffee shop when they sit and glower at me. LOVE IT!

sfmommy99 said...

See, now that is the witty metered comeback I would have thought of 5 hours later after running dialogue over and over in my head. Instead, I would have just rolled my eyes and popped in my ear buds (and not moved a muscle, good for you). Kinda scary how entitled these people feel. Well, at least she didn't say she had to "hella study."

lizbon said...

Holy crap. You Chicagoans are incredibly tolerant of your unimaginably rude youth. If she'd tried to pull that kind of thing here (nyc), she would've been smacked in the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. Bad Trixie!

Brenda said...

OMG. I never read the description of a trixie until today and now realize that it describes approximately 1/3 of the graduating class from my small Michigan high school. Although I escaped passe Michigan for Chicago, I did it for the U of C which, by it's pedantic nature, is incapable of supporting a trixie (and therefore, I declare myself exempt from the species).

jeanne said...

Franklin,

You might want to watch "Master and Commander" wherein Paul Bettany (yum!) performs abdominal surgery on himself. If you haven't seen it before, the first run through will be just for the pleasure of watching his beautiful sweaty face. For the next viewing, I recommend you take notes of his surgical technique. It may come in handy.

But truly, I shudder to think I'm going to be an Old Person when people such as your DePaul student are running things.

Snarled Yarns said...

Even my 8 year old said," why doesn't she go home or to the library?" Yeah, and she's an A student in 3rd grade.

Diane said...

Hysterical! And I wouldn't let anyone who didn't know the difference between knitting and crocheting come within 20 feet of my gall bladder.

Scattered Gemini said...

I happen to know firsthand that DePaul has a lovely library, not to mention any other number of locations that would be well suited for studying.

When did it become necessary to study at a coffee shop? Are students now unable to prepare their own coffee?

Anonymous said...

You didn't finish the story! Did her head explode, trying to remember where the library could be found?

Linda said...

Franklin, I cannot believe (only I do) how rude are some of the people you meet. Hideous. Continue to resist them.

blueyed wench said...

That's ridiculous! I'll admit that I am a coffee-shop study-er (internet access is too tempting at home, and the coffee shop I frequent has big, open sunny windows that are nice to look out of when the brain needs a break). I'll go there and bring along my ipod to drown out some of the louder patrons, but it's a public FORUM for lordy's sake, and I most definately do not expect someone to move FOR me.

But anyway, I'm a theatre major. It's not like the arts are important or anything in this country.

twig said...

Damn! I just scared my dogs with my howl of laughter.

Anita said...

LOL--thanks for a lovely chuckle! The students in Athens, GA are finally gone and the coffee houses are safe havens again. Thank God for the summer.

Jasmine said...

love your entry! love it enough to send it to my husband regularly, who doesn't read blogs. He enjoyed your "300" entry tremendously.

Bevin said...

That is so offensive! I can't believe the sense of entitlement! Also, I hope you told her that you were knitting lace and NOT crocheting.

obsessmuch? said...

Ha, ha, ha. Excellent. :) I am glad that you did what I always want to do with these people. Hooray!

I live in Chicago too. Oh the Trixies.... I don't even know how you can stand to live so near to SO FREAKING many of them.

Lisa said...

What an example of "Unearned Privilege!" Perhaps...just perhaps...she will continue to ponder this episode in her tiny little mind and one day "get it." Unlikely, I know....but... perhaps.

Dr. Steph said...

That student is probably whipping off an email to whine to me about her mark and how it wasn't high enough because she couldn't get the right seat in a coffeeshop because some rude guy was crocheting and wouldn't help her out.

Susan said...

As an academic librarian I know that what I should be typing right now is a perky "gee, thanks! Send the students to the library - yeaaahhh library! We need all the publicity we can get because libraries are Very Important in the world of academia!"

But what I'm really going to type is [groaning all the while] "Oh for chrisssakes NO NO NO NO don't send her over to me - I've had enough of those whiny little thong-wearing, IM-sending twits and their piles of pre-med texts interlaced with back issues of Cosmo!"

{AHEM} Love my job, love my job, love my job (term ends in 3 days) love my job, love my job, (term ends in 3 days), love my job...........

miss ewe said...

What a moron. It's too bad that "higher education" doesn't include common sense.

doulicia said...

you're deliciously wicked.

LesleyD said...

Hell yeah!! You go Franklin!!! Big high fiver to ya!!! Way to put that Twixie in her place!!!

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one with fond memories of someone whose nickname was Trixie?? Yes?? I'm it??? Well, ok. I was hoping we could all gang up the way the crafters did last week.

Maybe I'll call Dolores anyway. If she hasn't had a chance to get upset this week, she might want to help me out.

Gerrie

Kris said...

Way to go, Franklin!!!

Just one more example of a child leaving home without a good dose of manners.

Jennifer said...

That is awesome (your response, not her attitude)! I am faced with dozens of e-mails from students who feel they are entitled to a certain grade ("but I studied really hard for the final, shouldn't that count towards upping my grade 5 points, really a 65% is almost a C"), so I understand. Wish I had your wit!

Josa Craft said...

You ROCK! I grew up in a University town...Thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting the entitled ones in their place!

anneonymousone said...

I teach 14 and 15 year olds; they know it all, and if they aren't entitled, their parents are.

On the Friday before this post, one of my coworkers referred to one Poster Child for Birth Control as "your daughter." All the guys rolled with laughter when I spat out that, if that child really were my daughter, I would rip out my ovaries with a rusty jackknife.

Fortunately, she is too dim to go to medical school.

dk said...

When I was in medical school, I more or less moved in to the neighborhood Caribou Coffee for the first two years. I will admit to often taking up more than my share of space at times, but whoo! Never would I have made any such overtures! (You're just crocheting or whatever....) Oy, I can only hope that one day said little trixie rotates onto my service (where I'm often known to knit through morning conference).

And if your gallbladder ever needs to come out, you call me. If that's all that's available, I'll un-retire my scalpel and do it myself! I think I still have my copy of Cholecystectomies for Dummies lying around somewhere....

The Lone Coyote said...

Fantastic post. I love to read great stories of premed and medical student idiocy. Unfortunately there are many examples and give the rest of us a bad rep.

Marg B said...

What a revolting little self-centred b*tch! Well done on your response; I never think of the right thing to say until half an hour after the event.

catsmum said...

How did someone that thick get to be in college anyway?
Rude little sod.

Ria said...

I despise people like that, I really do. Was there some sign on the door that said, "Students may only study here, nowhere else, and we will kick out other customers just to see it happen" or something that perhaps only students can see? More people seriously need to get a verbal smackdown like this so they can get it into their heads that the world isn't built for their convenience alone! Kudos!

freecia said...

There are days when I think finishing schools/grace classes have exceptionally real value to society at large. Sure, we need more female doctors, lawyers, engineers, and etc, but we sure would benefit from polite women (and men).
I'd have wanted to borrow her phone and call her mother to tell her how her daughter spent all her hard earned money by slacking off in coffee shops.

Flavaknits said...

Sweetie, I would have told her to go to France!!! But then you are a gentleman and a scholar whilst I am a sleep-deprived mother of two.
Your riposte was excellent!

Ann said...

I am very late to this party, but I won't let that stop me. 1. She's rude. 2. She didn't invent rude/entitled. I can recall many occasions of rude/entitled behavior from 30 years ago, and I grew up in southern Minnesota, fercryinoutloud. Evidently many of them reproduced and can now be found in their natural habitats, with others of their species. 3. Rude/entitled behavior tends to blind one to the many many good kids out there. I work in a major midwestern university, and I LOVE most of these kids.

Suzie said...

Loved it. I wish so many times I would have a nice witty response.

Becky said...

Okay, I only lurk here, but I just can't believe that! I mean, I believe it, but what-the-????

Good thing you have your wits about you. Just crocheting, indeed!

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Encore! Boffo!
You are my hero and mentor.
Not only did Ms. Entitled Dimwit not have a clue, she doesn't know from knitting.

Brenda said...

Bravo! Most today would have resorted to just as rude behavior thus reinforcing her *right* to act so rudely. Where are manners anymore? I'm not that old either. I hate going to coffee shops anymore - dare I say to just drink coffee and socialize? I feel conspicuous without a computer and host of books to surround me.

You were so eloquent and hopefully left a mark. I can see the nurses in her future bowing to you at to some point as she remembers a distant memory of someone saying - politely - uh, no.

Animal said...

Good stuff, Franklin. A friend sent me over, and I really enjoyed this post. Bravo!

I Knit London said...

what is a trixie?

Sakebottleswing said...

I'm not sure if I should be offended by this post or not. In a way I'm not, because at least 97% of the people I go to college with behave in this manner--the flirting, the lack of discipline, all of it is incredibly irritating when I'm trying to study. And for my own study habits, I tend to stick to the library or find empty classrooms where my friends and I can practice problems (we are all chem majors and need the space).

However, part of me is offended by this post in that it seems to be a generalization of all college students, including those that actually take their studies seriously. I understand that there is an overwhelming majority of college students who behave without tact, manners, or common sense, but it saddens me that these people eclipse the bright, well-mannered, and interesting people I've come to know.

Franklin, from what I've read in your blog thus far I feel as though you're not one to make sweeping judgments against others, and so I hope for your sake you meet some university students that impress you.

(Part of me realizes the superfluousness of this since I am bitching to a Franklin nearly three years past, but I wanted to say something.)

pennie said...

For that blog entry alone I love you.

I left university over 21 years ago, but no one I know would have been as rude as that girl. If you want to study you do it at home or in the library, coffee shops are not for studying in !

Agen 338a said...

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