I had some overdue library books, again. This time however, two books were overdue 10 days. I know what you’re thinking: you can’t even look at me right now.
I never rebelled as a teenager you see, so now, in adulthood, I compensate by challenging the limits in strange ways.
Actually, that’s not true. There are more forces at play here.
See, back in the day librarians would stamp the back of library books with a due date, so you knew exactly when the book was due because it was on the book. Now, they give you a slip of paper, like a receipt, for all of your books checked out. Naturally I use these slips of paper as book marks, note papers, coasters, and pretty much anything but reminders of due dates. These easy-to-lose slips of paper are all part of a sinister library plot to encourage more overdue books to collect money from patrons. It’s an elaborate racket. You heard it here first.
Anyway, on Tuesday, I got a call from my mother, while I was at work.
She sounded worried.
Mom: Sweetheart, are you…okay?
Me: Yes…Mom what’s wrong?
Mom: The library called.
Me: Oh what did they say?
Mom: (ashamed) They said you had books checked out that were 10 days overdue.
Me: OH! Right, I do. I was still using them for school and had forgotten they were due Mom. I’ll return them soon.
Mom: This isn’t like you. Are you sure you’re okay?
Me: Yes! The books are ready to be returned, they’re in my car.
Mom: Okay, well do you need the library’s phone number to contact them?
Mom: They left their phone number.
Me: I already have the library phone number stored on my speed dial.
That night, I got home, and my father was waiting for me.
Dad: I heard about what happened. Did you return the library books?
Me: I didn’t make it in time today Dad. I’ll return them first thing tomorrow.
Dad: The message on the answering machine sounded very upset. The lady who left the message repeated the situation THREE times. I imagine they are very disappointed…since you didn’t return them today, you should also email them an apology note. Explain that you were using the books for school and you lost track of the due date.
Me: Dad it’s an automated message. It wasn’t a real person; it was on auto-repeat.
Dad: Oh, an automated message!?
Me: Yes, it’s a computer system sending out these calls.
Dad: That is fascinating! I still think you owe the library an apology.
Me: I’ll pay the fine and apologize.
Me: I’m here to return these overdue books, pay a fine, and apologize.
Librarian: Okay, let’s see here. You owe $6.45.
Me: Here is $10.45.
Librarian: Great, let me get your change.
Me: I’m really sorry about these overdue books. It was irresponsible of me.
Librarian: (shrugs) It’s okay….it happens all the time.
Me: I assure you my parents didn’t raise me this way.
Librarian: (nods) (Did she not believe me?)
Me: Sorry again… Have a good day!
I read an article in the express a few days ago about someone anonymously returning a book to a library about 60 years late. Plus they didn’t check the book out of the library, they just took it. They’ve been living with the guilt all this time. So don’t feel too bad! 🙂
60 years! And they didn’t even check it out! I do feel much better. Thank you!