Stephen, one of our favourite Peace Cafe Irregulars comes in with some copies of New Scientist, which causes my inner geek to dance the Happy Geek.
"Usual?" I ask him, feeling a little like Carla from Cheers.
He nods and takes a seat. I join him and we sit companionably at the table.
"Who's been in today?" he asks.
I name one our regulars.
"He was in most of the day, sat in the back on his laptop." This is not literally true.
"He was so quiet out back, I kept forgetting he was there."
"Was he watching the golf?" Stephen asks.
"Yeah, he likes to watch the golf on his laptop. That's usually what he's doing."
"Ohhhhh," I exhale, with new understanding, "I always assumed he was looking at porn!"
Stephen laughs. He has a genuine, loud laugh that always makes me feel about three times funnier than I actually am.
"You thought he was sat in the back, watching porn, and you thought this was ok?" he giggles at me, "He could be sat out there wanking, and that's ok?"
"I never said he was wanking! Nor did I imply it was ok to sit in the back and look at porn. But working here is not like working in the libraries, where you had to keep a really close eye on what people were doing."
"I've heard bad things about libraries," he agrees.
"You would not believe it," I confirm, "It is my strongly held belief that there are people who only get their rocks off by wanking in public libraries."
The woman at the table behind us, sat scribbling in a notebook (by which I mean she was sat on a chair, not in a notebook), starts to giggle uncontrollably. In hindsight, I'm hoping she wasn't writing a review, because I don't think James will congratulate me for that one.
"There must be a name for that," I muse, "For people who get off on wanking in the library."
I Google search 'person who wanks in libraries' while we continue talking.
I don't find a specific term for this particular preference, but I do find a website with a discussion forum on wanking. Brilliant. Someone has posted a satire on an article on the health benefits of walking, but have undertaken the detailed and hilarious task (for which I have immense admiration) of replacing the word 'walk' with 'wank'. Priceless. This contains such precious gems as:
Regular wanking, like all ‘aerobic’ exercise, can have a dramatic effect on cardiorespiratory fitness or ‘aerobic power’. Regular exercise carried out three times a week for 30 minutes or more at the right intensity will result in increases of aerobic power (Davison & Grant 1993)
The intensity of wanking for fitness benefits varies according to the age and fitness of the individual, but generally, ‘brisk is best’.
A simple way to work out how briskly you should wank is to aim to wank “fast without overexertion”. You should just about be able to hold a conversation while you are wanking - the ‘talk test’.
I show it to Stephen, who tires of it after a few sentences.
"It's kind of based on just one joke, isn't it?" he points out.
I am still laughing at it. "I know! Brilliant!"
Incidentally, if you do an image search for 'person who wanks in libraries' (I can only assure you that I did it by accident while about to search for an image of a library), one of the results is a picture of Arnold Schwarzeneger.
In other news, I have a blog question:
Would you go out with someone who slept in a coffin?