In the High Court, resides a man who I affectionately call “grumpy man.” He has a perpetual frown on his face, tired eyes, and takes every conceivable moment to mutter something under his breath and fall asleep.
I have had the pleasure of interacting with grumpy man daily. (I’ll refrain from giving his name as it would compromise his anonymity).
Grumpy man works in one of the internecine offices of the High Court, of which one I’m not really sure. But I’ve had sightings in multiple locations.
For the past two weeks grumpy man has chaperoned me to the archive room at the Mayor’s Court, adjacent to the main High Court building. He has acted as my peon (remember I’m to be accompanied by a “peon” at all times while in the archive room, because, who knows what I could do with these old files).
My usual routine has been to call grumpy man in the morning and send him a text letting him know that I’m arriving at noon for the archives.
I’ve long since given up on trying to get to the archives in the morning. And recently, grumpy man has started bargaining with me over when the archives will close.
“Konta baje bondo/What time will we close?” he asks
“Shadaronoto somoy. Panchta baje? / Normal time, 5pm?”
“No. 2pm close.”
“Ek dum na! Ekhon 1:45! / Absolutely not, It’s 1:45 right now. How about 4?”
“Tik ache. 3:30”
He is, at least, malleable. I’ve only permission for looking at a list of 18 documents. But, I found a 19 document and after some fighting (fortunately, after I had finished transcribing it) he said ok, but no more. He had gotten suspicious that I had been looking at year 1784/5 and 1776 when I had no permission to do so.(again, only after already looked through half the files) So, we also negotiated that I could look at some other files as long as I was only “checking” them and not actively opening them.