Today I am mostly ready to scream…

…whilst sitting in the library no less. This may sound obscure, being that libraries are meant to ring with the sound of a pencil dropping they are so quiet — an ethereal space in which you can devour tombs of fantastical literature whilst feeling very smug at the sensation of your brain literally supping from the fountain of knowledge. Even if for all intents and purposes it happens to be fairly pointless information, useful only in the extremely unlikely event of a random trivial-pursuit-a-thon. That is, unless you are working in a Uni library.


An odd mix of serenely studious types, groups of mates chatting and surfing the net, annoying loudmouths and screaming children, the university library is far from a peaceful institution. Maybe that’s why they get called ‘learning resource centres’ these days. Just to make it clear from the outset it’ll be no trip to the British Library. What has pushed me along on said journey to scream-ville was, in this case, a child of the screaming variety. Yes, screaming seemingly breeds the desire to scream back, weird irony that…or just a laughable coincidence…I’m not sure.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I love kids. And I understand a pretty big number of the student body are indeed parents of screaming kids (kudos to you, parents). I also understand that a lot of times it is necessary to combine caring for your kids with study, in said library: hey, it happens, deal with it, right? But nevertheless, the shrill ring, piercing through my ears and what feels like the sound barrier, of a child’s cry sends my ear drums into rave-mode, and my brain doesn’t seem to like that very much. At all. Judging by reactions around me I’m not the only one; there seems to be a consolidation of our aural misery, with people muttering in disgust under their breath, shaking heads at each other and generally exchanging pained and knowing gazes. It begs the question, which I heard one girl actually ask, “Why bring your kid to a library?” Exactly! Only, that’s life. And I guess all’s far in studying and wailing.

My hearing returning to normal at the exit of mother and child, the evening was improved somewhat by a conversation over the phone with my boyfriend. Apparently we have an invite to some secret-and-very-happening music event tomorrow night. He gets these kinds of things from time to time in his line of work, and my initial reaction was “great, I’m there”. Then a dark shroud began to slowly veil my enthusiasm: how could I be so blinkered?! I can’t possibly go to an event like that…I have nothing to wear. By the way, I can anticipate, no hear the groans as I am sitting here typing that. And I feel the need to defend myself. Unlike many women, my wardrobe isn’t that extensive. Ok, well it’s not as extensive as it could be. Ok, that’s not strictly true either, but I’m bored of all of my stuff, worn over and over, staring sadly back at me, inspiring about as much enthusiasm as a pair of original 80’s stone-washed jeans. For those who barely remember the decade, believe that this is not a good thing.

So as I throw myself into mentally vetoing all my outfits, I tell my man that I’ll have to confirm with him tomorrow, as I’m snowed under with work, secretly hopeful I may yet appear to be one of those serene studious types I mentioned earlier. And being one of those types I couldn’t possibly divulge that the thing stopping me is lack of something great to wear. I think that may go down about as well as a soggy squid for breakfast. It’s a hard knock life — and the screaming begins again…

by Hayley Thatcher
Illustration by Valerie Pezeron

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