I wrote a check today for $112.25.
I didn’t buy something marvelous. I didn’t pay my electric bill. I didn’t put the deposit down on a cool vacation.
I paid my library fines from the last twelve months.
My friend, Allie, had been telling me for months that I needed to stop buying books and start frequenting my public library. I finally took her advice, and I signed myself, Grace, and Joe up for library cards last May.
Grace and I visited the library every other Tuesday between June 1 and August 21, 2009. We took out eight or ten books at a time, we stored them in a basket in our living room, and we returned them two weeks later.
When school started, our schedule got knocked off. I forgot to return our books.
A month or so after they were due, I finally remembered that we had some library books.
One Sunday morning – when I was certain the library would be closed – I sheepishly dropped the big stack of books in the book drop outside of the library.
Lather, rinse, repeat. This happened two more times over the course of the school year.
In an effort to find something fun to do with Grace that didn’t involve eating ice cream, I suggested that she and I go to the library.
Grace adores our neighborhood library. It’s small, but it has a separate kids’ room that is full of toys and fun books. Grace could spend the afternoon at the library.
I half expected to see a photo of myself on the wall, like a wanted poster, with the caption: DO NOT LOAN BOOKS TO THIS WOMAN.
Fortunately, there was no such poster.
Or if there was, it was hiding behind the counter, in a back office with other lousy library patrons’ pictures.
Grace played a while (with my sister and mom, who’d come with us), then we choose some books and headed for the counter.
“I owe some fines.” I told the librarian while I was looking for my library card.
She looked up my information, and I expected to hear something along the lines of $35.
When the librarian said $112.25, I asked if I still had a book out.
“No, you returned them all,” she replied, looking at the computer screen. “You returned some books about a month late.”
Kindly, she didn’t say “You returned your books a month late three times! What is wrong with you???“
I wrote my check, borrowed our books, and left the library feeling like the worst library patron on the planet.
I entered an event in my Google calendar on the day before the books are due. I hope that’s enough to remember to return them.
Am I really the world’s worst library patron?
What’s your worst library fine?
Submitted to Tackle It Tuesday
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