Library life

This week I have been mostly work­ing in our loc­al lib­rary because build­ers have been ham­mer­ing out the win­dows of our little house and play­ing loud coun­try music. True, there were only doing this from Monday to Wednesday, but today, Friday, I’m back in the lib­rary. Why? Because it’s a jour­ney, and I’m about to leave Exeter.

Here are some things that have happened this week.

(1) A young woman gasped at some­thing on her com­puter screen and ran from the build­ing mak­ing loud wretch­ing noises — repeat, she left the build­ing; I saw her sprint­ing down the steps, out­side. I was far too polite (and reluct­ant to aban­don my laptop) to check out what she saw on her com­puter, but I doubt if it was a cat play­ing the piano.

(2) I’ve learned that it is indeed pos­sible to say ‘Hello?’ once every ten seconds, on aver­age, as the little Japanese girl next to me wrestled with Skype. I didn’t have the heart to point out that mobile phones aren’t allowed in the lib­rary; though a mat­ronly lib­rar­i­an cer­tainly did point this out almost halfway through the day. After that, the ‘Hello’s were whispered.

(3) A per­son will lit­er­ally beat anoth­er per­son about the head in order to keep their place at a com­puter. Well, alright; I didn’t see any beat­ing — let’s call it ‘fig­ur­at­ive’. But one woman almost lost her place to an eld­erly man/usurper, and then fol­lowed a loud con­ver­sa­tion about the true mean­ing of a coat on a chair. Can the coat serve in lieu of a human being when said human is col­lect­ing a print out? Who knows. Certainly the eld­erly man and the woman had dif­fer­ent ideas on the sub­ject. Eventually, the immov­able old man met the irres­ist­ible force of the lib­rar­i­an, and the man dis­ap­peared in a puff of logic.

(4) The lib­rary is the per­fect place for older couples to demon­strate how wound­ing remarks can be com­mu­nic­ated with equal effect­ive­ness in the non-verbal realm: side­long looks of bore­dom, shoo­ing ges­tures, and slaps across the knuckles.

(5) ‘The wheels on the bus’ from my tod­dling days remains a children’s clas­sic, and seems to have accrued sev­er­al hun­dred more verses, and accom­pani­ment via that most evil of inven­tions, the maracas. Olé.

(6) In this lib­rary, one is not expec­ted to go to the toi­let. Any enquir­ies about the facil­it­ies are met with a mute shake of the head as the librarian’s orderly mind boggles at the very idea. One is dir­ec­ted to the toi­lets on the square out­side the lib­rary, which are imp­ishly locked.

I’ve also been check­ing out the cof­fee shops, and if you’re ever in Exeter, I can recom­mend The Boston Tea Party (no wifi) and the Café Nero (‘Sip and Surf’ wifi).

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

3 thoughts on “Library life”

  1. My friend Alec (age 6) and I com­posed this when we were very very tired of hear­ing that song one day:

    The wheels on the bus go POP! KA-BOOM…

    The people on the bus shriek OH MY GOD

    The front of the bus skids off the road

    And all down the cliff…”

    There’s more, but I’ll spare you.

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