For the better part of four decades – yikes! – I’ve been a patron of the Carpenter Branch of the St. Louis Public Library. But there were long bouts of inactivity mixed into those years, punctuated by high-use periods, usually brought on by a konked-out computer. A year, or so, ago, I was upbraided by a staff member for criminally underutilizing the SLPL system. Shamed, I’ve been going there steadily since, recently mining the compact disc section, in particular.

The Carpenter Branch, though, as anyone would tell you, is a place full of character. And characters. Moreso now than ever.

Today’s unexpected conversation, related here, was undertaken while yours truly was seeking the two CDs by TV on the Radio, a black rock group. That’s not unimportant information.

Fellow patron: What’re you looking at?

Blog namesake: Well, this is the rock and hip-hop section.

Fellow patron: You like rock?

Blog namesake: Well, sure. I do.

Fellow patron: You like Journey, huh? And Aerosmith?

Blog namesake: Um… they’re okay.

Fellow patron: What, you don’t like Journey? I thought you’d like Journey.

Blog namesake: I give you that impression, yeah?

Fellow patron: Yeah. (Pulls CD from stacks.) Here’s some rock for you. Static X.

Blog namesake: Mmm, yeah, wow. Static X. Not today, thanks.

Fellow patron: They have any black music in here?

Blog namesake: I think it’s all mixed together.

Fellow patron: Well, people can’t put anything back right. Everything’s a mess in here.

Blog namesake: (Begins slow, steady slide towards opposite aisle and sooner-than-expected checkout…)