The bookcase was there for me in my hour of need. But now it has overstayed its welcome

As a last resort, I have written this column to my mate

Share

It’s difficult to know what action to take when you’ve asked your ‘friend’ to move his pine bookcase from your flat more than 40 times and he still hasn’t. His bookcase. Sat in my flat. I’ve asked the guy face-to-face, I’ve phoned the guy, I’ve texted the guy. I’ve banged it in an email. I’ve whispered it to his wife at a dinner party. I’ve done the lot. But he just won’t buckle. Occasionally he will use phrases like “yes” and “soon”. But these are empty phrases. I know that because the bookcase is still here. Unable to get through the guy’s thick skull and into his heart, and having exhausted all other means available, I have now decided to go public and give him a nudge via my newspaper column.

I’m looking at it now. It is a pine bookcase, about my father’s height, measuring possibly five feet across. It’s been varnished in the past by some idiot and now emits a fairly nauseous orange glow that destroys my bedroom and tarnishes, by association, all of the other carefully chosen furniture that I have in there. It kills me. After all, wooden furniture is my passion. All that I earn as a columnist, I invest in old wooden furniture. And as I have slid these gorgeous artifacts into place, so the bookcase has, increasingly, begun to look like the weak link. I am sat on a distressed oak bedside table, and I am glaring at this great hog. Willing it to leave. “Go,” I mouth. “Get out.” It insolently returns my stare.

Of course, the bookcase situation is – as a lot of bookcase situations are – nuanced. My ‘friend’ gave me the bookcase in my hour of need. I had just moved into my flat and shelves were in very short supply. He had made a strong life-choice and decided to move to China for a spell. It was good for both of us that I took the case for a bit. I guess that’s the point. With the fuel of self-interest coursing through his pathetic little veins, he was more than happy to whizz round the case and help me lug it up my stairs. We leant it against a wall and agreed that I would be its custodian for a few months, then he would take it back and I would move on with my life. But even as he skipped towards my front door, rubbing his hands together and whistling gleefully, I sensed there might be a problem. Fast-forward 18 months, and look at it. It has taken root.

So where do we go from here? I don’t want this to be an open letter to the lad. “Dear goon, come take back what is yours, I no longer want it clogging up my quarters.” Open letters bore me. But I would ask you this, mate, in front of everyone: “How do you expect Marius to build me two beautiful floating shelves along my bedroom wall when there’s a disgusting lump of pine in the way?” He may be a lot of things, Marius, but a magician he is not. And you might reply, “Well, Marius can just move it, can’t he?”. Well no, he can’t. For one thing, where to?! I’m not having a bookcase in my bathroom, mate! And secondly, I wouldn’t expect Marius to have to touch that disgusting artifact. He, too, has some dignity.

So let’s make a plan. You mentioned Jamie might be coming down in the next couple of days with a van. That sounds great to me. You let me know when I have to be in and me, you and Jamie can do a job on it. Fetch it down into Jamie’s van and spin it round to yours. If you’re not going to China for a bit, you can pop it in your lounge and put your books on it. Does this sound reasonable?

I have no idea whether you read The Independent on Saturday so – just in case – I’m going to buy you a copy and give you it at football on Monday. Because this time I’m serious, mate. It has to go.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: EWI / IWI Installer

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Freeman, centre, with Lord Gladwyn, left, and Harold Wilson on the programme The Great Divide in 1963  

John Freeman was a man of note who chose to erase himself from history

Terence Blacker
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Mr. Cameron is beginning to earn small victories in Europe

Andrew Grice
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'