Monday, June 13, 2005

The Promise

I have a habit of making promises to myself, only to regret later. I have a list of titles of books in mind, which I have promised myself to read during my June break. One book on the list is "Man to Boy" by Tony Parsons. I fall in love with it when I read the first few pages in a second-hand bookstore and imagine my happiness when I thought I found the book in the library. The remark on the monitor for loan was puzzling: "Action on", yet still "available for loan" I approached the service counter for clarfication when I could not find it on the shelf. Apparently, someone had just dropped in the book and it will take one hour and forty minutes exactly, for the staff to put it back to the shelf. At first, I was impressed: Wow..this place sure runs like a clockwork....wait a if I am lucky, the staff may be putting in the book right now, if not, the same event will happen within the next one hour and thirty-nine minutes at the most. Well, I thought to myself: spending over one hour and thirty-nine minutes in a library shouldn't be too difficult a task. Seriously, how difficult can that be, by any standard.

A few pages of reading after, I found myself at the threshold of angst and frustation. In conjunction with the ambience, my mood was wildly fluctuating;you could hear running feet, kid's screaming and demands and the occasional ringtones. I felt like standing up and screaming back at the kids, "SHUT UP! This is a library, you know!", or to the parents,"Hey! tell you child to SHUT UP! YOU have to educate them to be quiet, OK!" And imagine everyone stopping in their track, staring in shock and amazement. I might be expelled from the library then. Now, you may be think that I should have been more disciplined and stayed on despite the setbacks. But, no, all these was too much for me. I gave up on waiting for my book with a hint of sadness, but not before giving the shelf a last look. I thought books were like oxygen, giving me life, but how easily that can be forgotten.

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