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.
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.
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.
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.