Saturday, 5 September 2020

No Popping In

Yesterday, having 20 minutes to kill and being in the vicinity, I thought I'd pop in to the notorious 'award-winning central library' about which I have written before (e.g. here).
Alas, I soon discovered that 'popping in' is no longer an option. As I strode past the reception desk, deftly sidestepping the hand sanitisers, I was loudly called back with the ominous words 'Can I help you?' and interrogated as to my identity and the purpose of my visit (which, actually, was to avail myself of the facilities, and perhaps sit and read for a little while). Having told the (perfectly pleasant) woman at the desk that I wanted to go upstairs and consult a reference book, I was told there is no longer a reference library as such (which I know all too well) and allowed to proceed – but, I was told firmly, I must not stay longer than 15 minutes, and I must at all times follow the one-way system through the building.
These precautions, I must say, seemed a tad unnecessary, as the bleak wide open spaces of what was once a well-stocked library were wider open than ever, presumably to enforce 'social distancing', and it was a long while before I spotted another human being. All was eerily quiet, and by the time I had used up my 15 minutes of library time I had seen precisely four fellow humans in this large multi-level library. Forlorn figures they cut too, as no doubt did I. It will be some while before I try 'popping in' again.


  1. I wonder what would have happened if you'd overstayed your 15 minutes.

  2. Absolutely nothing is my guess. So much of this nonsense is sheer bluff.



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