Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stuck in the Library

So sorry I’m late. This afternoon, Blogger went down and I was stuck in the local library all this morning.

By stuck, I don’t mean delayed. I actually mean stuck. I’d gone there to do some research on the book I’m writing and was down in the bowels of the place, grubbing around some old 1912 newspapers, when the walls suddenly began to close in on me. I don’t know if you’ve seen those library stacks which operate with the turn of a wheel or a push of a button. They call them 'compact shelving' and compress so that only one or two aisles are open at any one time. You’ve got to be really careful when using them, making sure that nobody is one of the open aisles when you turn the wheel and open the section you want to access.

Only somebody didn’t check. Not only didn’t they check, but they didn’t hear my scream of agony as a large oversized Oxford Dictionary of Medical Terms lodged itself in my groin. Turns out that it was a postgraduate student from the university, not much older than myself, who had gone down there to work but, thinking he was alone, had put on his MP3 player. While I was screaming in pain, he was whistling some Abba hit.

By the time the student realised why his aisle wasn’t opening fully, the mechanism had jammed. It took nearly an hour to get me out. By the time the fire brigade managed to free me, it was nearly one o’clock. I hadn’t done the research but came away with a bruise the shape of the Oxford University Press crest above my navel.

And some people have the temerity to say I don’t suffer for my art.

1 comment:

MNW reject said...

Chip, I hope you can find someone to rub your groin better.

I've been in one of these before: at Bath uni. It was on the basement floor, secluded, and I was all alone as I wheeled back the shelves and went in between, terrified I might get sandwhiched.

But it struck me then that it's such a wonderful place to commit a murder. Somebody must have used this in a crime novel before.

In fact I'm surprised the Oz library didnt have one of these devices, with a consequent -- unforseen -- murder, and brutal screaming to boot. 'Argh! Argh! Lockdown! Lockdown!'