Sometimes, though, I find uncomfortable similarities between Mr. Larkin and myself. This is the poet on his fellow lodger, Evans, in Wellington, Shropshire, where Larkin was the librarian (p. 124):
…he regards the natural state of two strangers in the same room as conversation. I regard it as respectful and preoccupied silence. In consequence, he tries to make conversation, which I consider rude, and I try to shut him up, which no doubt he considers rude. He's one of those people who regard you as a fit target for conversation of you are reading a book. The ••••.
That last word isn't suitable for a family blog, let alone a librarian in the 1940s. That said, I do possess a t-shirt bearing the legend 'I'm Reading. Fuck Off', though I'm too retiring to actually wear it in public.