The man sitting next to me wrote "Bless you!" on a piece of paper and passed it to me. I wrote, "thank you" underneath it and passed the paper back.
The woman at the table with us wrote on a piece of paper, "Can you write silently. This is a library you know!" and passed it to me.
I wrote, "Sorry, I was writing as quietly as possible!"
She wrote back, "And if you're going to sneeze, do it outside!"
I wrote, "Sneezes do not give one advance notice they are about to happen. They just SPONTANEOUSLY happen!"
She wrote, "Do NOT use capital letters. This is shouting. I remind you, you are in a library!"
I wrote, "You just shouted the word not!"
She wrote, "I did not. I just raised my voice a little, that's why it was in italics!"
I wrote, "Raising one's voice in writing is just as bad as talking in a library, or sneezing spontaneously for that matter!"
She got up from the table, went to the librarian and asked for more paper. She came back with a full new notepad.
I hasten to add that, whilst all this was going on, the man at the table who started it all by writing "Bless you" had not reacted whatsoever. He was too short-sighted to see the argument between us.
Before she could use the notepad with another message I wrote her a note saying, "It would be quicker and easier to continue this argument by text. What's your cell-phone number?"
She wrote her number and gave it to me.
I sent her a text saying she is somewhat officious and perhaps she is taking this matter too seriously.
She texted back that she was not officious at all, but she believed that we should all abide by rules and regulations put there in place by those in authority for the benefit of society in general; and without such rules and regulations society would soon break down into utter and total chaos.
Admittedly, she took three texts to say all that.
So I texted back, "Perhaps we should continue this argument verbally over a coffee, because my fingers are getting tired."
So we went out for a coffee.
And that's how I met my wife.
Now ... many years later, whenever we have an argument it is always in writing. And in triplicate too. One copy for her, one for me, and one for the solicitors.
We have files and files of arguments on paper all dated and titled on the cover. Titles like:
Whether the UK should leave the European Community or not.
What we should do to bring inflation under control.
Where in the garden we should place the bird feeding table.
What we should call the new dog.
As an example, using the latter file. When we got a new dog a year ago we could not decide what to call him. Names like "Sit" and "Fetch" had already been used and we wanted something new, spontaneous, and fresh. So we decided that I should take the dog for a walk in the cemetery, and the first gravestone that the dog showed an interest in by raising his leg, the name on that grave stone would be the name of the dog.
We called him "Fire Hydrant".
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