A quest and how it turned out II

I was telling you about a quest of mine this week (well now last week given the time this post comes up). Though I gave some background about quests, you may well appreciate the language used to describe it as the entire 700+ word initial account I put about one of my quests had no mention of it and what was described happend to be a “sub-quest”.

As I said, I saw a book Tuesday (June 13) in one of the bookshops I frequent, but did not  acquire it from there, deciding to take it from another establishment where I get a rebate. I went there to find to find he did not have it. I requested him to arrange it and was confident he would have since it was a new book. I went to him the next day – which happens to be my off day and after my usual trip to postal district no 6 of the city and found he didn’t have it still. So I came home….. this was the extent where I had reached in my initial post.

And now I shall continue… as simple as that.

Having been unable to find the book on two visits on two consecutive days to my supplier, I resolved to wait at least two days before I tried again. But as the poet remarked, “The Best-laid Plans of Men…..  I very patiently sat out Thursday but as it happened, while at home and later in office, I was reading about Seneca in an admirable book I have and then some of his dialogues and other pieces available online and it was my firm belief that I must acquire one of his works…. otherwise life would not be worth it (observe, my friends, this is the sort of passion, or even obsession, that drives a devoted man of letters…. well like me at least). So Friday, I set on my quest – Seneca.

Braving the heat and the humidity, the imbecile traffic that clogs the streets of this benighted city, the covetous bus operators who really try to pass their unfortunate passengers through the wringer, the precarious state of the fiscal situation at the point in time, the unforgiving and irrversible forward march of time  – I am sure you might consider all this to be hyperbole and not only hyperbole but outrageous hyperbole but do remember I am describing a quest and such language is definitely warranted for its description.

Anyway, the language – employing hyperbole or not – cannot mask a delay in the narrative’s course – well for much long at least – so I will use the above words to serve as a succinct account of the travails I encountered during my quest but persevered as any quester worth his salt would do.

Finally, I arrived at the destination where my quest would be met. I still remember my first visit to this establishment – it was 1988 or 1989 and I remember buying a copy of Plato’s Republic – which I think I still possess. It has the largest collection of Penguin classics I have seen anywhere – and I have frequented many bookshops, mon ami. I really like the arrangement – the wooden shelves bearing the books right at the end of the shop where no natural light permeates. My idea of heaven may be inspired by Jasper Fforde’s description of the Great Library in the Thursday Next series but this spot is a microsm of it.

However, to return to my quest…. as I reached the aim, I discovered to my immense delight that those shelves were fully stacked…. considerably more than last time and it was all I could do not to let out a whoop – something akin to what Flashman did in one of his adventures (you can read about it in Flashman and the Angel of the Lord). First, I found Seneca and eagerly took out the volume……

And this was where the quest fell apart. It didn’t have the works I was looking for, so the urge to acquire it rapidly dissipated (I could have used a simile here but I am not).

Then it was the happy task of looking for alternatives….. and it was with joy unbounded that finally Hasek’s classic was in the same price band as the others, instead of the ridiculous price that the older copies had. I had it but it disappeared somehow. I am by no means a vindinctive or vengeful man but I just wish that wheoever deprived me of one of my best-loved books should be carried off by Satan to the lowest, torment-filled circles of his domain.

To be continued…..


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