Sunday, 11 June 2017

Membership Does Not Always Have Its Privileges


Membership Does Not Always Have Its Privileges

A successful social technique consists perhaps in finding unobjectionable means for individual self‑assertion.

On Monday, 22 May 2017, at 14:00, in Tunbridge Wells’ Public Library, I walked toward PC05 – which I had booked some 30 minutes beforehand. This PC had someone else’s property (mostly papers) strewn about it.

A voice from behind me demanded I should wait for them to move their property, without offering me good reason to believe he had the right to jump ahead of me in a non‑existent queue for a PC I had booked.

The PC screen clearly indicated he could not use this particular PC; while his asking a member of staff to book another PC for him proves he knew this.

Because his personal property should not have been in my way, I was, therefore, forced to move his property to one side. I had no reason to delay logging‑in to PC05, since such public use is time‑limited and I, therefore, would wish to maximise the computer time available to me by initiating the login process as soon as possible.

He then attempted to rebuke me for doing this, so I pointed‑out his awareness that he could not use PC05 and that he was, therefore, being deliberately obstructive; despite his claiming otherwise.

He became silent and moved away – to either PC02 or PC04.

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

The ability to advance‑book computers for Internet access is one of the advantages of public library membership: It allows members to use their time as effectively as possible – without interference from either staff or customers. To this end, electronic bookings automatically invalidate any claims to the existence of any physical queuing system – which, allegedly, the booker must then join by giving‑up the privileged rights automatically provided by such prior‑bookings.

I am not employed by anyone to sacrifice my time (without some kind of payment or other good reason); hence, my unwillingness to give‑up any of my time for someone who was doing nothing but waste mine. Because it is impossible to regain wasted time, I was unwilling to wait for anyone else to deign to stop wasting my time; especially since the desired wait was of indeterminate length and the time‑waster should not have been obstructive to begin with.

This gentleman had the impression he was able to waste time regarding PCs that are not his personal property. I did not require his permission to use public property temporarily‑reserved for my exclusive use, so he had no over‑arching rights to subvert mine in the false belief that he had a right to knowingly stop someone using a public service.

Why would anyone reserve anything on the unstated assumption that anyone else could hinder the full enjoyment of any such reservation? Can I take someone else’s clearly‑marked parking bay? Can I sit at a Reserved restaurant table if I made no such reservation? Can I gatecrash a party to which I have no invitation? Can I sit in a director’s chair if I am not Steven Spielberg? What would be the point of any booking system if the rights and privileges pertaining thereto did not, actually, exist?

Clearly‑understood social rules cannot be contravened on a whim without inevitable‑yet‑avoidable unpleasantness. If people do not wish their personal property touched by others, they should not use it to obstruct others. If I had tried to stop this gentleman using a computer he had booked, I doubt he would have been happy about this; yet, he expected me to accept similarly high‑handed and childish behaviour on his part.

The belief that public–space–is–White–space is a peculiarity of White people; noticed by every other ethnic group, for which there is no legal nor ethical sanction (only a historical tradition). However, other groups share the widely‑held view of the ethical necessity of sharing public space to avoid its being hoarded by one group to the disadvantage of another. Such regularly‑occurring public incidents reflect a conflation of the separable concepts and practises of public and private – to the detriment of the benefit and the quality of all public spaces.


The Negro Motorist Green Book (1936–66)
Expect Respect

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Frank TALKER - Truth-Teller