You don’t have to respond. I just wanted to be heard.

I love the library system and use it frequently and praise library use on a regular basis.  But, I am disappointed with the treatment I received on May 1, 2019 at the Estates Branch around 1:30pm.  I was standing outside of the library on the sidewalk at the furthest corner away from the library entrance.  On my phone, smoking a cigarette (well beyond 50′).  Wearing a bright orange work shirt.  I was going in and out of the library, as I normally do, reading a little, stepping outside to use my phone, going back in again.
Suddenly, I am surrounded by two library employees who are asking what I am doing here.  They were both looking right at me, smiling but it was intimidating, reading my eye movements I suspect.   (I’m possibly autistic spectrum so I have to reason out common social offense / defense manuevers)
I answered logically and received several more questions until I realized they were looking for something to latch onto as a correct response.  “I’m here waiting for my mother who is inside”, which was true, although I was also using the library as well myself.  It was a correct response and after another awkward standing around me minute, they left and I carried on what I was doing and then went back inside to find a book on math (triangle inequalities and boundary conditions was my curiousity at that moment).
I’m a 47 year old caucasian man with a beard and wore a bright orange workshirt.  Was it the cigarette?  Did I fit a profile of some sort that reads “Caution”?  Loitering too long?  (I was editing a video for social media).  I don’t know.   But as a public facility, I felt as if I was an outsider who did not belong.  Unwelcomed.  17 years of coming here and I am disappointed.  I will continue to go but I did not expect this.  Thank you for listening.  You don’t have to respond.  I just wanted to be heard.

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