Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Libraries gave us power

They are trying to sell my old local library and probably turn it into a Netto or an office for Nettos.
The same Library that in my youth was our sanctuary. A happy Shelter from bullies, a forcefield of learning keeping them out. Misfits like me would sit in them pretending to read books, or do 'research' on the computers. As long as we kept our voices hushed we could happily while away the hours, in the warmth. As rain lashed the windows.
After school, I`d often meet up with Dave in this library and we'd rummage the music hire section. Long before Spotify, this was the only option for frugal pockets. Then we'd stuff rucksacks full of books that would take our fancy; self help books, Norwegian dramas, big novels with fancy titles, instruction pamphlet for blinds.
We'd never read any of them, but we liked to think we would. The promise of improvement enough, and when you could borrow up to 8 books for a month for nothing, what was the risk? Invariably, the slim volume of Icelandic poetry or such, would conveniently get lost between the cracks, and like weeds in the guttering the fines just grew and grew. 
If they became too high to hack away with paper round wages we'd get new cards, never too young to learn the arts of gentle fraud.
At one point in our lives Libraries were our everything. We'd make plans there, dream dreams, and oddly make tentative steps into the adult world of romance. My brother being a champion of this. His precocious boldness  and lack of fear led him to many a date with strangers he'd charm between glances of biology revision guides.

I never had such success. Too shy, I never really tried. Apart from one tragic episode.
I had spotted a girl that had made my face flush, bookish but sexy, just my type. 
She was busy revising, nose deep in a psychology text book.
I was stuck on a rather lengthy, arduous passage about Shakespeare's use of farmyard animals or something and naturally my attention was a little divided.
Inspired by my brother's lead in the matters of romance, I inwardly declared that I would ask this girl out, affirming that this was the moment I asserted myself, but inexperience and nerves made this a troublesome sandwich to swallow.
I'm sure most sensible mortals wouldn't agonise over such trivialities, mainly Americans, but I was at a complete loss as to how to even begin the conversation. How the hell did you just go up to a stranger, in a public environment, without the aid of alcohol and invite them to potentially love you?

In a library it felt almost sordid to ask someone out, you could read about such things but you must keep it quietly to yourself.
I looked up and down the room, trying to engage eye contact with her but the awkward chair and table arrangements made this a difficult task, and added a risk of a potential neck injury.
I was stuck, desperate and incompetent, a winning combination. I was about to concede defeat when my eyes fell upon a six pack of cherry bakewells I had in my backpack. These were intended as sugary treats to aid and encourage me in my revision, but staring at them an idea crept in my mind that maybe these iced pastry treats could be the key to unlocking my potential love's interest, or at least break the ice.
The idea was that I would casually walk up to her and say 'hey would you like a bakewell tart?' Then let the romance flourish.
It seemed simple enough and from that, I hoped, innocent, and inauspicious beginning I could initiate further conversation and from there I wasn't entirely sure, but I was hoping my brain would take over and come up with something.
Very simple in theory, harder in practice. I toyed with the foil wrapping of a bakewell, eat one for the energy boost, and stared over at her with a mouth full of munched up icing and pastry. Sexy.
I ruminated, pondered, eat another bakewell, tried to motivate myself to go over and just do it, but I was held back, reluctant and not fully behind the plan. Like a soldier asked to jump over the trench line.
This delaying didn't help matters and eventually my procrastinating had gone on so long she was now setting off to leave.
I had missed my chance and chided myself for my failures but as she packed her items into her satchel I roused myself for one final push.
I quickly packed up my items apart from one solitary bakewell tart that I kept in my hand and began to hover over to her.
Unfortunately she had turned the other way and began making her way around the library. I duly followed, quickly improvising a new plan where I would simply tap her on the shoulder and say 'I think you dropped this?' Then present her with the tart, Ingenious. I had seen a film scene of something similar with jewellery, and that had worked perfectly. 
Fate had other plans and  had also decided to bless her with rather a pacy walk. I followed  swiftly after her, bakewell held aloft in my outstretched hand.
Blissfully, I ignored the fact that I was now following a girl around a library with baked goods, and this was definitely not a normal thing to be doing, and certainly not your standard or desired romantic gesture.
Her pace quickend, as I'm sure her subconscious picked up on the potential threat of diabetes that was ambling to be thrust in her face.
I continued to follow for a good 5 to 10 minutes, until we reached a  pelican crossing and my better sense and a ford KA stopped me.
From this moment on, the town of bakewell always sends a shiver up the spine but I will always be fond of Libraries. For where would us weirdos go?

No comments:

Post a Comment