As it happened, I somehow lost my San Diego library card. This was a personal tragedy on account of I had memorized that sucker of a sequence–all 14 numbers (which is more than some people have memorized pi, I would like to point out)–in order to quickly and easily navigate the wonders of online requesting.
Online requesting was the most genius thing the library ever did for lazy people. I can search through the entire county’s collections online and click a button that tells the librarian to go pick out my books and put them on the hold shelf for me. The only thing that could possibly make the situation better was if there was a Library Cam and I could watch them fetch my books, like my own personal game of Sims. Seriously, this service is a dream. [Except for that one summer when I was 13 and I went a little crazy and requested 30 books online. They all arrived at the same time and my mom got really mad at me–maybe because helping me carry them to the car was like holding all of her daughter’s deadened social interactions in her arms. But, whatever. Books are friends, too.]
Anyway, when I arrived on official New Library Card business, I had to wait in line. This was irksome because I had a library-relevant question, which I felt should have priority. Meanwhile, it seemed like everyone who had ever gotten lost was asking the librarians for public transportation directions (as if they didn’t own smart phones and couldn’t read a bus schedule)!
Even though I cared less than anyone, I browsed the flashy-colored flyers. All the usuals–zumba, anime club, dungeons and dragons club, teen mystery book club. And then Damn it! There was Steve, creepy Librarian Steve. Besides the fact that he looks creepy, I couldn’t remember why I actually found him creepy, but I knew that it ran deeper than his guppy glasses. My strong aversion instincts took over and I feigned an intense interest in the D&D purple flyer.
When it was finally my turn I guiltily admitted that I had lost my library card to the walrus librarian who had a serious mustache and an even more somber side part for his short man bob. He informed me of my $17.75 in existing fines and that this would need to be paid before I could actually own a new library card. I suspected foul play because I know my library rights, and I can still check out if it’s under $20. However, I bit my tongue when a wise old birdy librarian (the kind that will severely shush you) mentioned I was eligible to read away my fines!
“Oh yeah,” the walrus said begrudgingly and informed me of the Fresh Start program, which is kind of like prison. You spend some time in the designated corner and read away your debt. So instead of paying money, I was doing time. Library time. I accidentally-on-purpose selected a peculiar Celtic version of a Mary Magdalene story. There was an island of witches, the ritual adorning of menstrual blood, goddesses; and Jesus was there too, and even Jesus’ penis made an appearance (the way penises do). It was slightly different from the more reverent reading material I was accustomed to during my recent adventure to Utah.
Anyway, a girl can only take so much period blood and Jesus privates, you know? I had done 1 hour and 50 minutes. According to my sentence ($17.75) and their system (30min=$5.00), I was forgiven! My debt was paid and then some. Once the librarian got off the phone (she was explaining how to use Google, probably to someone who is going to die in 3 months), she told me that they require increments of 30minutes. She couldn’t even look the other way for 10 measly minutes! This was not the most pleasing news, as I really was tired of reading about period blood. I huffily stomped over to a chair and dropped myself heavily onto his unforgiving wooden seat as if this was the stupidest thing I had ever heard because –Newsflash!–This Was The Stupidest Thing I Had Ever Heard. Unfortunately, in my gusto it seemed important to plop myself in the nearest chair with as little effort and as much brusqueness as possible, as if to say I Am Not Even Going to Be Here Long Enough to Care About This Stupid Chair Arrangement. This was unfortunate because there was a man who happened to be very close to me. He was really close. I was an intruder without appropriate personal space boundaries. He probably hated me, but it was too late. I had committed and I was not moving for exactly 10 worthless minutes.
After my grumpiness had passed and I had dealt with the hard-hearted librarian, I left on a spiritual high. For the first time in at least 5 years, I had no library fines! I felt absolved and my soul felt clean. But only until yesterday, when I forgot to return two overdue books. Oops.