Thursday, October 4, 2007

Repentance

Here's how I thought it would go...

Me: Hi. I'd like to get a new library card, but, um...{quietly} first I have some fines I need to pay.

Library Lady: Oh really. Give me your name and I'll look you up.

...
LL: {glancing up from the computer with disdain} Well, it says here that you owe us $75 for books never returned, not including interest. {Glances at library patron waiting behind me, and rolls eyes}. Are you prepared to pay such a sum today, ma'am? These fines are more than 10 years old!

Me: {sheepishly} Uh, yes...yes I am. I'm really really sorry. I've been meaning to come in for ages. Actually, uh...I've been out of town for...uh...a long time so I couldn't return the books. Yeah, that's it.

LL: {disbelievingly} Is that so. Well, it's not my first choice, but if you pay right now and we can verify that this check is good, I guess I'll have to give you a card. {Aside to waiting library patron} Can you believe the gall of some people these days? Taking advantage of the library...the LIBRARY of all places! {Grumbles incoherently}

INSTEAD...

Me: Hi. I'd like to get a new library card, but, um...{quietly} first I have some fines I need to pay.

Library Lady: Oh really. Give me your name and I'll look you up.

...
LL: {glancing up from computer} I don't see you anywhere here. Is this the name you had your last card under? If you received a notice about a fine, we should have you in here...

Me: No, no. I haven't received a notice in years, I just know I owe you guys money. And the card was under that name.

LL: {warmly} Well, we don't have you in our system at all, so don't worry about it. Let's get you started with a new card.

Me: No, you don't understand. I owe you guys money. I never returned some books. Several books. A whole stack really. I have no idea where they are. Are you sure you can't find me in there somewhere?

LL: Let's check under an old phone number ... nope, you're not there. Don't worry about it...you don't owe anything.

Me: But I do! Um...can I at least make a donation?

LL: Sure, let me go get the head librarian and find out how you do that. But first let me tell you about your new library card...

________

The head librarian came down, I made my donation and joined "Friends of the Library" to further dissuade the guilt. I was bewildered that this entire event -- one I had been dreading for years -- ended with the librarian saying "No, no, thank you!"

This repentance thing ain't half bad!

3 comments:

miss d said...

Bravo! See what happens when you face your fears! ;)

Jana Kleitsch said...

"friend" of the library? You're okay with this title?

I had a similar issue... I won't go into details but let's just say I've had similar dreams of Scenario 1 happening to me too.

sheila said...

I love it! But you know a Miss Rebecca Funting has been getting overdue notices for years now and she can't understand why...