Sunday, November 4, 2012

Breaking up with the library

The Library Delinquent has outdone herself this time. Starting in January, I will be officially banned from the library. How did this happen? A perfect storm involving pregnancy hormones, a cranky librarian and a toddler. Don't all perfect storms involve toddlers?

I was nine months pregnant with Little Man this August and simply glowing with fertile beauty and serenity in the 35 degree heat. BWAHAHAHA!! It was a daily struggle not to hit anyone who looked at me sideways over the head and scream, "What are you staring at? I'll pee on you, bitch!" Like this, but worse:



One day as I was lumbering out the door to an appointment for which I was already late, I realized the library books and magazines were due that day. I quickly rounded them up and placed them on the ottoman as I tried to jam my sausage feet into my sandals. While I was preoccupied with this contortionist trick, Sass sidled up to the ottoman and quietly stretched out a chubby arm. With a triumphant shriek, she grabbed the People magazine at the top of the pile and turned to run a victory lap with it.

I lunged at her and managed to grab the magazine away from her, but not before she ripped the cover from one side to the other. Normally I would go tape it up before returning it, but having completely run out of time, I dropped it off as is, feeling a little guilty but also remembering all the times I had received a library book or magazine with rips or pages missing and had fixed it up myself, free of charge.

The next day I was checking whether one of my library holds had come in and was surprised to see a $5.00 lost item charge on my account. I was sure I'd returned everything and called to correct the mistake. "There's no mistake," the librarian told me. "You brought back a magazine that was ripped, so we need to charge you for it." "Oh," I said. "I would have taped it up myself if I knew you were going to charge me for it."

"Oh, no!" gasped the librarian, as if I had suggested taking all the books in the library outside and burning them. "We don't want you to do that! We use special tape on the books and magazines and we don't want you to use yours." Oooh-kay. Always looked like plain old Scotch tape to me on the many, many library items I'd received with rips in them. "We'll need you to come pick up the magazine," the librarian continued.

At this point I began to think this woman was slightly insane. "I don't understand," I said, laughing a little. "You want me to take the magazine back?" "Well, we certainly can't keep it here," she huffed. "It's yours now." "Why don't you just put some Scotch tape on it?" I asked in bewilderment. "Did you SEE this magazine?" she snapped. "The item is completely damaged. We simply can't keep it."

The pregnancy beast began to rear its psychotic head. "There is one rip in the cover," I said, trying to breathe deeply. "The entire magazine is fine except for that one rip on the front, and none of the stories or pictures are affected at all. I don't understand why you can't just put some tape on the cover. I've gotten lots of things from the library that were taped up." "No, we can't do that," she declared. "You need to pay for this ruined item and come pick it up."

"Well, I have to say I think you're being completely ridiculous," I said as I lost my grip on my temper. "But I'm not going to argue with you about it. I'm also not going to pay for this magazine - EVER. Goodbye." They've sent me some threatening collection notices, but being an accountant, I'm familiar with collection agency practices and there isn't a place out there that will take a $5.00 account. However, the library can suspend my account for outstanding fines when it comes up for renewal in January, so our relationship is over. At least under my name. There's always Jay's card.

NOT what the magazine looked like
http://www.guardian.co.uk
 
Later I was thinking about this incident and wondering why it made me so mad, other than the pregnancy hormones. It struck me that part of what bothered me was that it seemed so wasteful. I'm not an environmentalist by any means; there's no composting at our house. But growing up in a family that wasn't well off made me appreciate the value of material things, and I have to fight hoarder-like tendencies as an adult, because it seems wrong to throw out something someone could use, even if it's a little old or broken. Although I don't have the time or inclination to fix it up, someone else might want to. Stuff shouldn't go to a landfill until it really has no further use.
 
I know it was just a magazine, and this is more about my stubbornness and "fuck you" tendencies. But I still think some Scotch tape and common sense would have saved the day.
 


27 comments:

  1. My GOODNESS, you have got to be kidding me! Evidently, the "Library Cop" episode on Seinfeld was accurate. If you haven't seen it, You Tube the part where Jerry runs afoul of the "Library Cop," Mr. Bookman.

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    1. That's exactly what it was like! I love that episode.

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  2. I was thinking the same thing. I love that episode too.

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  3. Due to library fines, I used library cards with my first name, middle name, and siblings names for years. Last year, I went back to the library and had forgotten about the fines. I finally paid them after 15-20 years, now I am clear.

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    1. I can't believe they still had your fines on record after all that time! Wow.

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  4. Oh, and I did hear that some libraries across the country are starting to get collections agencies on their patrons. Not sure what the minimum fine is for that, but you should double-check your area, just in case.

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    1. Most collection agencies won't accept an account that's less than $20 - they just can't make any money when it's less than that. So I think I'm good.

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  5. I'm sorry that your life amuses me! And I thought of that Seinfeld episode, too. Change libraries, change your name! All in the name of "that was completely ridiculous!"

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    1. No worries; it amuses me too. I have to laugh at this stuff or I'd just sit and cry.

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  6. I didn't even know that the library lended magazines! I thought you could only read them there. See, you learn something new on Blogger every day :)

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    1. You have to read the current issues at the library, but they lend out the back issues. Again, I'm not sure why if they expect them to come back in pristine condition. They are magazines after all, not hard cover books.

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  7. I'm in about the same doghouse with my library. I haven't been brave enough to check out what I owe on my account but I just found a book I did not know I had and it's been about 6 months since I was last at the library...

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    1. Yep, that's bad news alright. Better get your pennies together!

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  8. Yeah, common sense and good manners seem to be lacking at the public library. Rough stuff!

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    1. I think I would have paid the fine if she had just said "We had to repair it and there's a charge for that." It was the whole thing about it being completely ruined and needing to be thrown out that got me riled up.

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  9. $5 for a friggin' People magazine?! That's insane to begin with. Also, why on earth couldn't the library just chuck it into their own recycling bin? How pointlessly bizarre that they made it such a 'thing' so needlessly!

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    1. It was strange alright. Like I mentioned, I've taken both books and magazines out from the library that were already all taped up when I got them. So I just wasn't expecting the reaction I got. I never cared if I got a taped item as long as all the pages were still there and I could read it. It is the library after all, not a bookstore.

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  10. So funny! I loved this; you had me laughing out loud. I was especially fond of the line: "I'll pee on you, bitch!" You're awesome!

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    1. Why, thank you! Pregnant women have to use whatever weapons they have at their disposal to cope with the world's stupidity.

      Which actually reminds me of a hilarious news item I read about some woman who sprayed a cop with breast milk while he was arresting her. It was in one of my "weird news" posts awhile ago.

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  11. Your blog is SO worthy of a liebster award. Check it out here: http://notappropriate4.blogspot.com/2012/10/you-won-what-is-that-thing_17.html
    If you accept, please post your own version/description of the liebster, share the exact same rules, copy and paste the award images you choose, and then follow all the rules. You can go back to 11 because I'm assuming you are more sane than me. If you aren't interested, let me know that too. Please leave a message and a link somewhere on my blog after you've done your liebster post, and then I'll link you up and heavily praise you in a post. Love! Love! Love! Heart icon.

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    1. Yay!! I love awards! Thanks and I'll set up a post for this week, and will of course link you in :)

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  12. OK so there was this one time I thought I'd returned a book but hadn't (so they said). I refused to pay for it and instead did a lost claim because I was sure I'd returned it. I found it four months later in the bottom of my closet under all the clean clothes that live there after I wash them and don't fold them. I took it into the library and put it on the shelf. A few weeks later I checked out a few books and said it was odd that that book hadn't been recovered. An older librarian said she'd check the shelf because sometimes, SOMETIMES, things aren't checked back in and oh looka here, it's on the shelf.

    I can't help thinking I'd go pick up the magazine, take it into the bathroom, slap some tape on it and put it back. And still not pay the $5. Asses.

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    1. You are my hero! This made me laugh so hard. That is some serious chutzpah - you rock.

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  13. How funny! And yes sadly how wasteful! It seems like they were just trying to squeeze a quick 5 bucks out of you! :D good thing the hus has an account :D Tee hee

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Lend me some sugar!