Friday, February 04, 2005

I'd Have Expected Bamboo Shoots In the Fingernails, At the Least

I bit the bullet and paid the library for so carelessly losing that book. On the way there, I planned my speech. And debated whether I should check out a new book, then confess and pay for the lost one. Or should I just go directly to the checkout counter sans new book, pay for the lost one, then leave and go into hiding for awhile? And I wondered how I should confess. Should I go the direct route? The pathetic route? Maybe cry a little? Grovel, definitely grovel.

I finally decided I would just get my new book, and be prepared for them to rip it out of my hands and tear up my library card and scowl, "You are DEAD TO US. Now leave." With the new book in my hands, I went to check out.

"Um, I did something really, really horrible. I lost a book. I am so sorry. I'm not a person who normally loses things all the time, and this is so weird. I just don't know where it is. I am so, so sorry. I looked everywhere. It's just gone."

The girl didn't tear into me. She didn't get mad. She didn't ask how I could be so stupid or ask where my respect for libraries was. She just called up my account. "You Shall Know Our Velocity?" "Yes. That's it. I'm so sorry." She wrote down the number and disappeared for a few minutes. My eyes wandered around the desk, seeking information on what exactly happens to you when you lose a book. I found nothing reassuring. She came back, and said there was one on the shelf, but it wasn't the one I had checked out.

She punched the keyboard a few times, clicked the mouse a bit and announced, "That will be $31.50." I wrote a check, she gave me a receipt, checked out my new book and told me to have a nice day. No lecture about being more responsible. Nothing.

That's it? Guess I'll have to go elsewhere to get my floggings.