One of Walter Benjamin’s most famous writings is ‘Unpacking my library’, a homage to book collecting. Benjamin was also a great user of Libraries, famous for spending most of his days in Paris in the Bibliotheca National. Indeed, the famous unfinished manuscript of the Arcades Project was entrusted to the Librarian there; the famous writer and pervert, George Bataille. What few people know is that years before Benjamin had been a librarian himself, in the University of Muri, back in Germany. He was 26 when he began work there.
Today we find him meeting his friend Professor Scholem in the University refectory. They are drinking tea and talking:-
Walter: “So you know how friendly I am, well, she was clearly lost and looked so alone and like she was having a hard time adjusting to being here...
Gershom: “Where was she from again?”
Walter: “Heilongjiang. It’s in the far north of China. She’s here on some kind of government exchange. Minder follows her everywhere. Anyway, so I was showing her around, and explaining things to her. Asking her how she likes Muri, and Germany. Well, you know how Chinese are, they play their cards close to their chests, and she clearly didn’t want to give too much away. ‘Who’s this strange man asking so many questions?’ So, she’s telling me about a problem with the hot water in her halls and I ask her which halls she’s in. I can tell she’s a little surprised that I asked her outright, and I feel I’ve sort of alarmed her; crossed a line, like she thinks I might stalk her or something; I wouldn’t of course, that stalkers club I used to belong to hasn’t met for months now. Anyway, she tells me which halls she lives in but you can tell she doesn’t want to. I change the conversation and we talk about other things but she’s a little on edge now. So, we talk for a while and she sits down and listens to the radio for a while. Eventually she gets up and is leaving. ‘See you later’ I say, and she shoots me back a look of shear horror. ‘I’m going to see him later? Why am I seeing him later? He knows where I live, is he going to come over? Have I somehow agreed to meet him, and not realised?’ She doesn’t reply, just hurries out the door, almost running.”
Gershom: “Ha, she feels sexually harassed by you.”
Walter: “Exactly, I’m really worried; I think she might make a complaint. Professor Schict will roast me. Imagine if I get accused of sexual harassment. I’ve got to walk past those halls every night too, on my way home. What If she happens to look out her window one night and sees me walking past, she’ll be terrified.
Gershom: “Ah, I wouldn’t worry too much about Schict, that guys got more sexual harassment accusations against him than anyone. 6 the last time I heard. 6 from university staff, it’s a good job he doesn’t go near the students too often, there’d be hell on. As well as the harassment charges I heard he’s also had flings with other married staff members, what’s her name? Err, xxxx.”
Walter: “Blimey, I didn’t know”
Gershom: Ah, senior management, they’re all at it, you wouldn’t believe the stuff that goes on. I heard this one story about XXX, well, you know that big lady in ops, and well I heard she moonlights as a SandM Madame. They all know about it. So, XXX arranged with her to have a meeting about some mundane work stuff, but he wanted, for the entire duration of the meeting, to have his cock out. I don’t think he particularly wanted to be touching it or anything, it was just hanging out as they talked about student admissions procedures or whatever.”
Walter: “Wow, and this really happened? My God.”
Gershom: “I heard they set it up, after that I don’t know what happened.”
Walter: “Wow, incredible. OK, well yes, I don’t feel half so worried now. Hell, maybe I’ll even try it on the next time she comes in. Why not eh?”