More than one way to solve a problem.
After Dustin got to the local library near his university, he found a secluded spot on the second floor all the way in the back. He needed 100% concentration to finish the term paper, due in a week. Dustin had done all the research already and printed it out. Now it was just a matter of bringing it all together so it made sense and summarize his findings. Of course, he regretted waiting until the last minute to start it, but that was college life because 12 other papers and tests always took priority.
Unfortunately, all of the study rooms were booked with study groups cramming for one exam or another. Dustin would’ve preferred one of those rooms because it was quiet and cut off from the rest of the library, but he had to settle for something out of the way, somewhere far back into the innards of the shelves. Had he gone to the university library, he would’ve searched high and low for even a spot to study, much less a quiet place.
Dustin had been there for an hour and a half when he heard a commotion near the Reference Desk, a hundred feet away. Two kids were having a heated discussion. When the architect designed the library building, he maximized the acoustics as a feature, obviously forgetting it was a library. Even a little sound went a long way.
“Why’d you call me a liar, Jett? You called me a liar. I heard you.”
“What are you talking about?” Jett said in response. “I did not call you a liar, Simon.”
“I heard you with my own ears. Are you calling me a liar again? You called me a liar. I know I heard you, Jett. I heard you. I know I did. Why are you trying to deny it? You called me a liar.”
“Did not. I don’t know what the big deal’s all about.”
“Big deal? Big deal? Really, Jett? You don’t get away with calling someone a liar. It’s just not right. I just wanna know why you called me a liar. It’s a very big deal. If I called you a liar and couldn’t back it up, it’d be a big deal, don’t you think?”
“Simon, don’t get so loud. People are trying to study here.”
“Well, maybe they heard you calling me a liar. Maybe we should ask them.”
Dustin looked past the stacks and saw an adult – a straight-backed gray-headed woman with her hair in a bun – talking with them. He had no idea what she was saying because she was speaking in hushed tones. From her leaning in and finger pointing, it was clear she was lecturing but barely above a whisper.
“But he called me a liar and I wanna know why,” said Simon.
“I did not, Simon. You’re lying if you think that.”
“See, you did it again,” said Simon with a finger pointed at Jett.
“Boys, boys,” the librarian said.
She continued but Dustin couldn’t hear anything else because even she realized she had raised her voice momentarily.
“I just want him to apologize, that’s all. If he apologizes, we’re squared away. Will you apologize, Jett?”
“I didn’t do anything wrong, Simon. Nothing to apologize for. But what I hear is you now accusing me of being a liar.”
Dustin rose and decided to resolve the conflict himself. Even though he knew neither of the boys, he would provide the evidence needed.
Twenty feet away and getting closer, Dustin said, “Excuse me.” He cleared his throat. “I did hear Jett accuse you of lying. No doubt about it.”
Simon sneered at Jett.
“But don’t get so smug, Simon. You just defamed Jett in public and that to me is as bad if not worse than lying. If you’re going to argue, you might want it to be in private. No need to air your grievances for the whole world to hear. Hope this solves something,” Dustin said before turning away.
Jett and Simon stared at the stranger now walking away, but then began arguing again as they made their way to the nearest exit.
“Now,” Dustin said under his breath. “I can get back to my stupid report on Situational Ethics in Public Settings.”