Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Go broke at the library... with me.
It turns out my upcoming weekend visit to Chicago coincides with Lauren’s book club meeting, so I’ve been asked to attend. And I’m honored. It turns out the book they’re clubbing is "Sleepwalk with Me" by Mike Birbiglia, which I’ve been wanting to read anyway, and which will come as a breath of fresh, nonpoisonous air after reading
Methland (which I enjoyed, and I recommend).
I ordered “Sleepwalk with Me” from Amazon Marketplace – a dumb move because I need to read it before next Friday, and Marketplace is like Russian Roulette, only the gun shoots damaged garage sale books and it shoots them on a really unreliable timetable. I’m guessing the book will show up in time for Christmas. Maybe.
To ensure a decent start on the book, I tracked it down at the library and put it on hold. I like to think of myself as a library person, so I strode in casually toward the front desk, library card in hand.
“Can I help you?” the girl at the desk asked.
“Yeah, you guys have a book on hold for me. I think it’s that one right there.” I pointed to the book, propped up behind the counter and smiled with smug satisfaction. Obviously, I’m an awesome library patron if they hold books for me. I don’t even have to find them myself. Because I come here so often. Because I read so many library books.
She picked it up and asked for my card.
“I might have a fine,” I said nonchalantly, the way I tell the Blockbuster people I might have a fine, even when I know I don’t. It’s always cooler to pretend you might have one and not owe anything than to assume you’re fine-free and then get slapped with a $7 fee for keeping “Edge of Darkness” under the couch for two months.
“Actually, yes, you do have a fine And your card is expired. I’ll need to see your driver's license so I can renew it.”
Gah. Obviously I haven’t been a library person for some time now. Probably close to a year. And since I still don’t have a Nebraska license, I was almost out of luck. However, my purse is full of junk mail (not sure why, just one of those things), and I was able to produce something with our current Omaha address.
“Alright, great. I just need to collect $36.50 and then you’ll be good to go.”
I almost cut and run at that point. $36 can buy a lot of things – it can buy books from a bookstore, or gas, or a DVD from Blockbuster, or a few months of Netflix. But then I remembered driving around with our roadtrip audiobooks flopping around in the backseat for $36 worth of weeks after we’d returned home... last August. And the least I could do was square things up with the public library. So I paid the fine. And I took my book, feeling very exposed for the library person I am not.
Going forward, I’ll return my books on time, starting with this one. And when the Amazon copy of “Sleepwalk with Me” finally leaves the chamber and shows up in the mail later this year, I’ll it set aside and give it to you for Christmas.
And in unrelated and more important news, happy, happy birthday, Matt. No surprise party this year, but I hope the day was just as good.