I love the library too. Well, I love it and fear it. I am somewhat a reluctant participant. I love the chance to check out free books - especially since I am
(Please note dear reader, that my fear extends only to the library in my home town. I am sure your library and the workers are wonderfully sweet and all that is goodness and light.)
But at our library, I stiffen up and get all itchy because more often than not, I have an overdue fine. More than once I've handed over one of my children's library cards in order to avoid all the angst created by uppity glances when the worker behind the desk sees I have an overdue fine.
I used to dream of being a librarian. Constantly surrounded by all those wonderful novels. The hushed reverent whispers above an open book shared. The comforting neatness within the confines of the Dewey Decimal system . . . What's not to love?
No longer. Nope. Ain't gonna happen. I refuse to turn into one of those condescending old bitties that haunt the circulation desk. They do not use their inside voices which leads to the entire library finding out that you owe $2.12 and you will not be checking out any books until it's paid, thankyouverymuch! And don't you carry any change in that big red tote of a purse to cover the fine?
Let me sit behind the reference desk - maybe. Check out desk - not this gal.
It's not that I don't want to pay what I owe. It's that I never carry cash. Never. My change purse is perpetually empty. I only have one because I won it from another blog - and I have to carry something in that red oversized tote of mine. And for some reason, I never think to get money in preparation for a library trip.
And there's a reason I don't carry cash. It's way too easy to think of it as "extra" or "disposable" money. A trip to Mickey D's and it's gone. A giant fountain Coke here and a bag of Shearer's Kettle Cooked chips there . . . you know how it is. Not that I have any recent experience with either of those
And our particular library has low fines, but if you owe a dollar, ( a dollar!), you cannot check out any more books. Our previous hometown library, bless their generous book-lovin' hearts, were much friendlier and you could continue checking out books until you owed eight dollars. Eight!
Now, it's reasonable to assume that all of this could be avoided if I'd just return the books on time. Yeah, just as reasonable as it is to assume the sun would burst open and out would fall Peanut Butter M&Ms. It's a nice thought, but as an already harried mother of three, it just ain't gonna happen. Let alone on a regular basis.
So, to make a long post even longer, I was ratted out by my five year old Whirling Dervish last Thursday, shortly after story time ended. I happily placed our armload of books onto the desk knowing that this time, THIS TIME, we owed no fine. When the lady (notice I am playing fast and loose with that particular term) none too quietly mentioned that did we know we still had a book out and would we be returning it soon?
I had forgotten about the mad, unfruitful search for Scooby-Doo and the Phony Fortune-Teller just before we dashed out the door to attend story time. I felt the heat rise from my neck to my ears and tried to think of a noncommital answer to her query, complete with pursed lips and a single arched eyebrow. I peered into my purse pawing at it's contents as if the book somehow ended up there instead of the book return slot.
Whirling Dervish thoughtfully came to my aid and answered for me, "Mommy looked for it, but we couldn't find it. Mommy said, let's just go, we'll find it later 'cuz we'll be late for story time." At that moment, "adorable" wasn't the first descriptive word that came to mind in reference to my youngest son.
I'm just sayin'.
"Well, I suppose I could renew it for you so you don't incur a fine while you look again?" The second eyebrow joined the first in an attempt to reach the receding hairline.
It's a terrible juxtaposition to feel chagrined, relieved and obligated to the Arched Eyebrow. I accepted her proffered gift of a few more days' leniency as gracefully and repentantly as I could. And then I grabbed our armload of books, shoved them into our library bag, and dragged Whirling Dervish out of there as quickly as I could.
I reached the car with Whirling Dervish in tow and breathed a sigh of relief. Until I realized that in my half-hearted search through my purse, I must've laid my keys on the check out desk.
(This mostly true post was written in anticipation of entering it in the October Write Away Contest hosted by Michelle @ Scribbit.)