The Reading Room 06
In the library I found they had a copy of a Hunter S. Thompson book – The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 – which I hadn’t read, but then discovered that some twisted local, presumably the previous borrower, hadn’t so much taken it out to enjoy the adventures in Gonzo journalism which lay within because they’d been using it to press wild flowers instead. I knew this as, with my Sherlock Holmes-like skill, I detected evidence remaining within the book’s pages of some sort of large daisy; mostly because it was still wedged in there.
In the reading room I then witnessed a war of under-the-breath comments break out over a free copy of The Metro newspaper when some normal-looking bloke on the next table went to take it and the pensioner sat next to me took umbrage and revealed that it wasn’t the library’s, but his own, although he was happy for him to read it.
It all seemed reasonable, but this prompted the man to go off on one, in a strop, whilst the shell-shocked newspaper owner kept offering it him – similar to when Alan Partridge demanded diners “smelt his cheese”, which he proffered on a fork, during his restaurant breakdown – but all to no avail.
The snubbed guy then went off around the reading room, straightening up all the periodical magazines on the display shelves, until I paid closer attention to his activities and realised that he wasn’t exactly helping out, moving them until they were all in their correct positions, but swapping them all around until they weren’t.
He then set off around the library like a twisted OCD fanatic moving everything that wasn’t nailed down or on fire two inches to the left, until it met his satisfaction.
What are you supposed to do in such a situation? Turn vigilante or go and get the heavily pregnant librarian, who was probably younger than the both of us, to sort him out like a Primary School teacher? The last time I witnessed the militant wing of Bury library they were gunning for me, and so as he entered the lending library bookshelves I left him to his own special brand of devastation.
I did notice, throughout all of this, that the headline of The Angling Times was: “Eel Record Broken After 35 Years”.
I have no further information.