I’m in the library today. I go in to pick up a couple of books that I had reserved and that are now available.
While there, I approach a table for four to read today’s paper. Two of the seats are taken, one is empty, and the fourth is occupied with a backpack. I assume it belongs to one of the two people at the table. I sit down.
A few minutes later a young guy comes over. He addresses the three of us now sitting at the table. “Hey, do you mind if I move this stuff so I can sit here?” he asks. No one minds because the backpack belongs to no one at the table. The others go back to reading, and I say, “Isn’t this one of those situations where if you see something you should say something?" Everyone smiles politely. No one takes me seriously.
So I call over the head librarian. At least I assume he’s the head, since he is the only one on the floor who is sitting at an actual desk and looking official. I tell him about the backpack. He stands up and loudly addresses the room. “Did anyone leave a backpack sitting on this chair?” he asks, pointing to the backpack. No one responds. And no one seems to care.
“Why don’t you see if there’s any identification on the backpack?” I ask. “I’m not going through anyone’s stuff,” the head librarian responds, and returns to his authoritative desk. Job done.
It strikes me as strange that I am the only one who seems remotely concerned about this. I want to scream, “Come on people, remember the ads we’ve all been seeing for the past 13 years?" — some even picturing abandoned backpacks!
But I don’t. But I do get up to leave.
At that moment I see a man from the other side of the library, casually walk over to the chair, and nonchalantly claim the backpack. He’s wearing earbuds and likely didn’t hear the librarian.
Okay it was nothing, but still. Is anyone still paying attention?