Speaking at the Library


I overestimated when I suggested there might be two people in the audience at the Kickstarter program at the Charleston library. There was one. I think they could use a little promotional help! Anyway. When I arrived, the only person in the room was the library guy. I said, “My job is done!” Then my friend Jerry showed up. And another presenter showed up. And one lady.

The photographic evidence:

(Photo by Jerry.) That’s the other presenter speaking and the single-person audience–that’s me, seated, to the right. Unfortunately, you can’t see my pants in the photo, but I was wearing some! Though I’m not sure it was necessary. Well, I don’t mean– Never mind! Jerry was on his way somewhere else, so he left after taking this photo. There was supposed to be a third presenter, but even they didn’t show up. The other presenter was in a hurry, on her lunch break or something, so she went first–spoke for about 10 minutes–then she had to leave. I felt so sorry for the library guy, and the one lady in the audience was genuinely interested in starting a Kickstarter campaign for her small business, so I thought to myself, “Suzanne, this is not a waste of time, it’s an opportunity!” Plus, I was really relaxed since, like, nobody was there. So I got up and spoke for about 30 minutes about my farm, my animals, my business, and my Kickstarter campaign, giving all the tips I could think up, answered all the lady’s questions like I had all the time in the world, and everybody had fun. When it was over, the library guy told me how much he appreciated it and that he was really sorry more people hadn’t been there to hear me. And I said, “I have a book coming out next year and I hope the library will buy several copies!” I told him all about my book and said I’d be happy to come back to talk about my book when it was published.

Then he gave me $10 for driving in from out of town–parking was $1.75, so I made a few bucks.

THEN. I got in the elevator to go back downstairs to leave. There was this wiry guy in the elevator when the doors opened. He had long silver hair and a long silver beard. He was wearing hippie kind of clothes and mirror-reflection sunglasses. I stepped inside, the doors closed, and he said in a deadpan voice, “Put your purse in the front. You’re gonna get robbed and beat up.” I was wearing my teeny tiny purse, that is only big enough for my cell phone and a debit card, on my shoulder and it was hanging down around my hip. I looked at him, and he said, “You’re gonna get robbed and beat up on the street.” The main Charleston library is in a relatively nice area. I said, “Okay,” and moved my purse to the front. He said, “You’re gonna get robbed and beat up outside the building.” I said, “You’re pretty cynical, aren’t you?” He said, “You’re gonna robbed and beat up on the bus.” I didn’t even take the bus, but anyway. I started wondering if he was going to hit the Stop button and rob me and beat me up. I said, “I’m from the country.” He said, “You’re gonna get robbed and beat up.”


Made it home. And I did not get robbed or beat up. Whew. The city is so scary!


  1. WvSky says:

    You were very lucky. This is why many people quit using our library. There are busloads of out of town bums arriving in our small town every week, and one of the first places they hang out is at the library. I’ve been keeping a close eye on them for years now, and helped apprehend several for different violations, like the guy who rushes into elevators to kiss women. No you’re guy wasn’t the guy I’m talking about. This guy does this everywhere, on the street at lunchtime for instance. We finally got him arrested. I’m glad you’re OK and that the nutcase didn’t follow you. :bugeyed:

  2. Barbee says:

    Oh horrors! Well, it is getting close to Halloween. I’m sure that one attendee felt great appreciation for what you did for her. And, now you know where to park, and how to get to the library, and who knows, you might be invited to do a reading and talk when your book comes out.

  3. marrypoppinz says:

    Beautiful Library….

  4. GA_in_GA says:

    Have to love the crazies . . . :no:

    Most are harmless, and really in need of legal meds. A few are not harmless. Glad the guy fit the former case. You might want to call the library guy and let him know what happened . . . might be why there was only one person in the audience!

  5. Luann says:

    Sounds like the elevator was the scary part. I have walked in Charleston and in that area and it was nice. Wish I knew sooner, I would have driven down to here you speak but I have a disablled daughter and needed to care for her, noone home to sit with her at the time. Maybe next time.

  6. lattelady says:

    Was he closer to the panic/emergency button than you?
    Sounds like a case of PTSD, but maybe not. Were your keys fisted in your hands, a fantastic weapon.
    Very interesting, you reacted well, kept your cool. I would have dragged him out the door when we got to the main floor, but that is my background/training.

  7. outbackfarm says:

    Well, good for you for doing that. And I’m sure that one lady is so happy to have learned so much. I hope she gets her project up and running. And that guy. It sounds like he was kind of trying to warn you at first, then got a little carrid away. You’re right though. The city is scary. I like my country home. Love being here.

  8. brookdale says:

    Next time, better take the stairs instead of the elevator!

  9. dawdawsmom says:

    maybe that third speaker and all of your attendee’s were robbed and beaten up before they got to the library =o/

  10. Pete says:

    Didn’t turn on the computer until after it had started, so no help here. Then again, I just don’t go to the main library any more because it is usually not worth it to wade through the crowd that hangs around there.

    Had I been there, I would NOT have stepped into the elevator, though! :happyflower:

    Maiun point being, I had heard nothing about this other than what you posted, Suzanne. It apparently was not well marketed at all!

  11. yvonnem says:

    Wow! I thought your biggest worry would be finding parking with the big events going on…that guy in the elevator would have scared the living day light out of me! I’m glad you’re ok. I’ve never been to the Charleston library, even though I work at the Capitol. I just drive through and drive back home to Tornado, where I’m safe!

  12. beforethedawn says:

    That was a nice thing to do! But you are a good person so I wouldn’t have expected you to do anything less. 🙂 Too bad the turnout was not so great.

    As for the elevator dude, he needs some lessons on how not to freak out a lady! :shocked:

  13. Cheryl LeMay says:

    What an awful ending to an otherwise nice time. I think I would’ve quickly pressed the next floor number and gotten out and taken the stairs. I’ve run into my share of creeps like that in the city and am sooo glad I don’t live there anymore. Thank God I’m a country girl now!

  14. lesliedgray says:

    I can actually visualize that exchange and I’d have dropped dead right there…… How scary!

  15. Jen says:

    Oh I could not help but laugh – the elevator story is hilarious. This could only happen to you!

  16. Miss Judy says:

    Don’t make fun of a helpful elevator operator.

  17. joykenn says:

    Re attendance–you were up against a lot of events going on. An evening talk might have got a lot more people attending.

    About the guy in the elevator. Sigh! He seems to have been harmless and concerned but definitely odd and borderline scary. Unfortunately the mental health services are severly strained everywhere.You might have encounter someone like him at the market, on the street, or knocking on your door to ask for a drink of water. Libaries and other public places provide safe places for troubled people. Do let your librarian know so that they can keep an eye on the guy and tell him the boundaries of his behavior in a public place.

  18. oct4luv says:

    I’d be so freaked out if that happened to me! That is some crazy stuff. Glad your presentation went well though :sun:

  19. The High Altitude Tea Duchess says:

    I’m sure there is room in your tiny purse for a small vile of MACE! They even come in cute, pink containers. GET SOME. USE IT. If anyone does try anything & you do not have MACE, crush their balls with your knee & then run like heck.
    I wasn’t sure if he was trying to help or predicting what he was planning on doing to you.
    I’m glad you are ok!

  20. princessvanessa says:

    I am afraid that I would have kicked the elevator guy where it hurts most–and as he doubled over, kneed him in the face. I would have taken his statement as a threat to my own safety. He is a foolish man to try and scare single women on an elevator.
    Personally, I would not take the stairs. At least in the elevator there is a panic-type button that will create an audible alarm.

  21. twiggityNDgoats says:

    Better stick to the Roane County Libraries from now on. I’m very glad that situation ended well and that guy was just a wacko and didn’t turn out to be a serious threat. What a scare.

  22. CATRAY44 says:

    Have you ever considered getting training and permit for concealed carry? Great knowledge and confidence booster, as well as playing field leveler! ; )

  23. wildcat says:

    Sorry there wasn’t a bigger crowd, but that one lady had an awesome one-on-one session with someone who had a crazy successful Kickstarter campaign. I’ll bet she is super-inspired now to get her own campaign started. :yes:

  24. ibpallets (Sharon B.) says:

    Suzanne, you were a blessing to that one woman!

    That had to be one freaky elevator ride

    I agree about the CCP. It’s easy to get a Conceal Carry Permit in VA, so I’m sure it’s just as easy in WV. I went to a class, got a certificate, took it to my local sheriff’s department. They did a background check and I had it in less than a month.

  25. City Kid says:

    Oh my gosh! Reading about your elevator encounter caused a major flashback to my years as a lowly aide at the Main library in downtown St. Paul–the Mexican guy who would listen to, and SING with the Spanish language records (I worked in the Art and Music department); Shuffles, aka Mr. Bucket, who would spend hours stacking books on the windowsills. He had been banned from every other department in the library, so we were sort of stuck with him in A&M…. The old woman who slept on the bench on the back side of the building. She disappeared when her photo appeared in the local paper…. The guy who tried to bring his shopping cart into the building, and took a swing at a custodian who (with some reluctance) had to call the police… The blind “fuzzy” guy–to him everything was “fuzz-zy” (fuzz-zy lady, fuzz-zy record, etc.) Were we annoyed by them? Oh sure. But at least we had something to talk about on break! 😆

  26. bonita says:

    You never know how that exchange with the audience member might be of benefit.
    And, please, do not take the stairs. Not only do they not have an audible alarm, most of them have self closing/self locking doors (fire code) so once you are in the stairwell your only possible (but not guaranteed) exit is the first/ground floor.
    Just wait for an empty elevator. . .

  27. bonita says:

    BTW, you probably can declare your time and gas/travel as a marketing expense,

  28. Miz Carmen says:

    I second a lot of comments above. Just think – if you’d had an audience of 20 people, and only one person really took your advice and ran with it, you’d still think of it as a successful workshop. This way, you cut out all the superfluous audience members with their extra hacking/coughing/sneezing/texting and other nerve-agitating behavior, and got to deal with just the one!

    Assuming she uses the info. Of course, even if she doesn’t, you never know who she might pass it on to. I’ve benefited from all kinds of second-hand advice. I also love it when I hear from someone that they got something of mine – generally a recipe – from a mutual friend whom I’d given it to months or years earlier. Hurray for you for being there for the one attendee!

  29. MousE says:

    I’m sorry that the attendance was, well, one person! But that’s not your fault. You still gave it your all, sounds like…. And Elevator Dude? Scaaary…. all the strange ones seem to hang out at libraries, I’ve noticed…. I’m glad you didn’t get “robbed and beat up”! Yikes!

  30. MousE says:

    …and if you can’t get Mace, carry Bear Spray – it’s cayenne pepper basically. I carry it. We can’t get Mace up in Canada, but bear spray is obtainable…. Oh what a day you had. At least you had pants! 😆

  31. cinderbama says:

    Suzanne, one of my close friends is on the West Virginia Library Commission. I sent him a message about your experience. Hopefully he can look into it and help to insure nothing like that happens to anyone else. I wish you had had a different experience, but unfortunately we in public libraries are seeing rapid decline of active patron participation. We just hosted an Emmy Award winning science show at our library, and only about 65 kids came. We had sent out 3,000 notices to all the elementary students in our city schools, posted it on our web site, had it listed in the monthly water bill that goes to every home, and included it in a local parenting magazine. Such is the times. But if you posted your presentation on YouTube you would have hundreds of hits. What a world we live in today!

  32. AspenFlower says:

    I just now read this post. And what I have to say about your elevator experienced is that Yes, that is so scary. I definitely would have had my guard up if once I entered the elevator and saw a man of that kind of description. You behaved well in that circumstance. It’s always good to keep your cool. From the looks of it, he seemed as if he was contemplating hurting you. Well, when you wrote what he first said to you, then what he said next, I was like okay maybe he’s just telling you to keep a look out for your purse because you could get robbed out there from some crazy person. But then while I was reading on and saw that he kept repeating that- it got me thinking that he was actually contemplating hurting you. As if sending you a warning out loud of some sort. I think because you kept your cool, you’re safe to this day. One wrong move on your behalf could have triggered the guy. I’m so glad you walked out of that library safely. Carry mace with you next time & perhaps go with a friend. Always having your keys in your hands when you go out is a good idea. Definitely let the staff at the Library know of your experience.

Add Your Thoughts