I check out a lot of books. It shouldn't be a surprise that I would do something like that. I'm home a lot. I have a lot more "free" time than I used to. And, I like to read. I always have a book on me, and I read in every spare moment. Every year, my goal is 100 books. Last year, I got really close. I'm the kind of person you catch reading in line at a supermarket. But now, now I'm afraid to go the library.
Actually, I’m afraid to go back to my library. It all started when we went to Michigan this past spring and I accidentally ruined a book with toilet water from the RV, forgot that I did that, and returned said ruined book, on time, to the book drop outside. I feel that, since I did, indeed ruin the book, it’s important to emphasize that I turned it in on time. It was dried out when I turned it in, just a little crinkly from the damp, but now dried, water.
They tried to charge me for the book the next time I went to check out books, and I indignantly refused to pay for it, having forgotten my husband’s erratic driving style, as he thinks all roads are serpentine, and all stops require skid marks. They acquiesced because I’m a good library customer, with no fines, and regular check-outs, and why would I ruin a book? We came to an agreement and I paid half the fee.
Well, now I’ve lost a book.
It’s gone. Forever. Seriously. I’ve looked everywhere. The last place I remember seeing it was at a Rite Aid. I feigned trying to concentrate on reading it, as I waited for yet another antibiotic prescription, for yet another UTI, before I gave up, and started browsing through the selection of sundries near the pharmacy section. They sell baby clothes! At a Rite Aid! I was this close to buying my friend’s baby a onesie that said “Someone in Pedro Loves me” but I was afraid I’d have to stop at the pawn shop to also buy him a tiny matching gold chain.
I even looked there -- at the Rite Aid, not the pawn shop. It’s just, gone. Poof. It’s not even a good book. It’s just a mystery that I selected at random, which is how I pick all my mysteries, blindly grabbing by what color I feel like that day. It was a yellow one. I lost a yellow mystery. I feel terrible about it. I wish it were blue. Then I could feel blue, and it would be appropriate. Instead, I think it ran away, afraid of something. Get it? Yellow. Now, I have to be yellow about going to the library, instead of sad. Damn. It’s appropriate.
I waited until it was overdue, and I faced my yellow-bellied fear, and went to the library, to tell the librarian, who for some reason always knows who I am, that I lost the book. He’s always a little too nice to me, and he said that he’d renew it an extra time, to give me more time to look for it, and waive the overdue fees while he was at it. Ummm, okay. But, it took me six weeks to face you this time! “Just let me pay for the damn book,” I was secretly screaming in my head. But, he seemed so proud of being nice, that I couldn’t say it aloud, and I thanked him, instead.
Now, the stupid book is overdue again, and I have a pile of others to return. I’ve still not found the missing yellow book, of course. I have to go face the nice man and tell him that I have to pay for it. It’s karma for the book that I realized I had ruined, only after I got halfway home from the library, after refusing to pay for it. “Oh yeah,” I said to Bryon, “that was that one book I was reading in the bathroom of the RV. Whoops!”
Somehow, the library always gets their money, I suppose. I guess the idea of letting people take anything they want, on the honor system, small late fees attached, isn’t such a poor business model after all.
This whole thing reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the library cop, Bookman, though. So, I’ll pay for the stupid book, as I fear he’ll find me, regardless of where I’ll move. Even if he doesn’t, I’ll know I didn’t pay and the metaphorical Bookman will leave a yellow-book mark on my conscience. Stupid book.
I promise to pay for my book, Mr Bookman!