Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Library Run, A Very Dramatic and Compelling Tell

On Wednesday, August 10, the librarian at the Montague Public Library gave me some devastating news: I had an overdue fine and was thus unable to check out anymore books.

"How could this be?" I thought to myself, clutching A Knight in Shining Armor and The Secret Life of Bees close to my chest. I pointed out to the librarian, "I have been an otherwise very reliable patron."

She looked at the computer monitor, but glaring out at her was the $14.95 fine for the CD I had borrowed and failed to return. "It's a rule," she said.

I scoured my brain, thinking about all the places I could have left it. My car, my hutch, my bureau - but I hadn't seen it. I truly hadn't seen in. In fact, I had a very vivid memory of thinking I hadn't returned it, but being unable to find it, I just reasoned that the returning of the CD had slipped my mind. I tried another attempt, "Could it have gotten lost in the mail?" Turns out, it probably couldn't have.

I was hesitant to leave the two books, although if she had tased me or threatened me with a broom I would have left the books more readily. Instead, I leaned on the checkout counter with my books and scratched my chin, looking utterly perplexed. "I'm really not supposed to do this," the librarian said, somewhat leering at me as she took the books from my grasp. "Your fines need to be under ten dollars in order to check out books," she continued, scanning my two selections. "I won't be doing this again."

Feeling like a sheepish elementary school student, I thanked her and headed on my way. That weekend, I pulled apart my closet and my car, moved my furniture, prayed a little, and then came to the realization that, in all likelihood, the CD I had borrowed from the library had been abducted by some more refined and intelligent life form that also appreciates blockbuster classical tunes. Not wanting to ruin my good reputation at the library, I set my sights on paying the fine.

Now, this wasn't as easy as you might think. You see, since I am resigned to a life of routine and time-ortiented scheduling, unless I am already in another town - as I was Saturday, Turners Falls Library: closed on Saturdays - I only got to the Montague Public Library. Unfortunately, they are only open eight hours per week: Mondays and Wednesdays 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Monday, August 14: must pay library fine, vet appointment for Samson at 6:15 on Bernardston Road in Greenfield. Arrive at vet: 6:13. Running ten minutes behind. Leave vet: 7:09. Arrive home: 7:23. I debated with myself about going to the library. Out my very bleak window, I could see grey, grey skies and I knew the rain was still pouring down. The light, already dim, was fading. I was certain that I would make it to the library with a bit of time to spare. The question was did I want to?

I put on my walking gear, put my library card, and checkbook in a plastic bag, and jogged up Route 63, over South Street, and to the end of Main Street, the 1.2 miles to 7 Center Street: the Montague Public Library. Stepping inside, I saw droplets forming from my saturated clothes and my shoes sounded like mud.

"I'm here to pay my fine!" I announced triumphantly, waiting for the sounding applause and the streamers.

Instead, I got this: "Where's your umbrella?"

I approached the check out desk, prepared to pay my fine. Suddenly a fear popped into my head. "Tell me my library jog wasn't in vain. You take checks, right?" The librarian nodded. I, dripping water on the counter and chilled in the air conditioned library, wrote the check for $14.95.

1 comment:

  1. Ethan and I were a bit perplexed by the fact that you can pay your over due book fines by any library in the consortium. We finally asked if they share the money, pool the money, or what. They said the library where you pay gets to keep the money. We use the South Hadley library most, but now we try to pay our fines in Holyoke, as they are woefully underfunded. Our Brownies meet there so we check and pay when we need to. Luckly for now I only owe $9.90 - for real!