Kneeling to see what’s on the lowest shelves

I always feel a bit anxious when people have to do this because it’s difficult, awkward, and they might hurt themselves.

One man used his walking stick to push the books out flat on the floor so he could read them. Then his wife rushed over and told him no, no, no. So he tried to get down on creaking knees until I intervened and got all the books out for him. He told me apologetically that he was young and agile once, and his wife agreed.

Young people kneel and read easily. One young man lay on the floor his side and read with his head pillowed on one arm. One lady pulled the chair up to the shelves and worked through the bottom layer volume by volume.

There’s a man here now examining each book on the bottom row of classics. I can hear him breathing noisily because of the exertion of it. Now he’s doing science fiction. He leans forward and supports himself by holding onto his knees.

There’s an old couple here telling me how they found out they weren’t really married because the document they had all these years wasn’t valid. The lady was buying a book about Florence Nightingale as a gift for someone: her sister. But she may keep it as she doesn’t like her sister very much.

I said, ‘fair enough’. He said that no documents these days are worth the paper they’re written on. The man behind them is edging to the next bottom shelf, breathing noisily. He has two paperbacks under one arm.

The lady is saying ‘I fell in love with the balloons hanging outside your shop, and could I buy them?’

I apologized because they’re not for sale.

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