Saved by the Bell, Errr, L.

Ahhhhhh, the library.

And, momentarily, the dang library!

I borrowed four items recently. I was told that yes, a reminder email notification would arrive a few days before their due date.

So I enjoyed the CD’s at length. And at length. And at length. And still at length.

Until yesterday when it occurred to me: “Gee, I’ve had these for an awfully long time.”

So I checked the slip. Due date: August 19!!


At a buck-a-day fine, that’s some sum!

So I go to the library prepared to plea for mercy this one time. I’ve been overdue by a day or two before but never a month! Fact is, I never got the email.

I depend on library notifications. Yes, I admit, in that way I’m lazy. My bills’ due dates and other timely matters, I ink those on the calendar that hangs in a prominent spot and is often scanned.

I can’t say precisely why I like my library reminders exclusively by email. Reckon that it lures me into luxuriating in the presence of the books and CD’s without the sense of a ticking clock created by the words “Library Due” in bold colored letters on the calendar.

So to the returns clerk I say: “We have a little problem. These are way overdue.” I pull out the book and three CD’s from my little olive canvas flight bag and return them with a sheepish twinge. “I’m never this late. I just never got the email.”

“Can I have your library card please?” Tap tap tap tap sound his fingers on the computer keyboard.

“What’s your email again?”

I give it to him. Either he needs glasses or the screen print is really really tiny ’cause he leans in real close squinting, like he’d done when I signed up for the library card.

Tap tap. “There, it’s done.”

“Was the email wrong?”

“Yes, there was only one ‘l’ instead of two.” (that’s an “l” as in library.)

“That would explain it.”

“We won’t fine you,” he says, receiving the materials.

Good thing. For the $30 in fines, I could’ve bought that Neil Young CD AND the Indigo Girls’ AND possibly the “Hair” soundtrack AND the Dashiell Hammett novel in a bargain bin.

You might say it was financial burden averted just for the ‘l’ of it.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. longeyesamurai
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 18:17:56

    Truly, an l-egant twist.

    Dashiell Hammet? It’s been a long time since I read him. Lately I’ve been catching up on Cornell Woolrich (aka William Irish) ever since I saw a story called “One Night In Montreal”

    Seeing that my hometown had a seedy reputation back in the day, it’s also interesting to try to draw a mental picture based on what I know of the city and its history…


    • allycatadventures
      Sep 17, 2011 @ 18:35:35

      @Capra – I like Hammett’s taut, slightly provocative and imagery-provoking style of writing. And stories. Having nothing to do with this excerpt from the library site in (my former digs of) Tacoma: “While (The Maltese Falcon) is said to be evocative of 1920’s San Francisco, it is believed that it was actually downtown Tacoma (where Hammett was hospitalized for more than a year for tuberculosis during World War I) that provided his inspiration for the story.” Nice to know that something good was produced of the town better known for famous killers! (she says only slightly tongue in cheek).

      Hope I’m not displaying ignorance by not recognizing the name of Cornell Woolrich. I gather that, like Hammett, he’s an author of novels noir?


  2. Flamingo Dancer
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 22:26:26

    I think most libraries let late returners off if they are honest and own up. We hate the ones who slip it through the night return slot…cowards.

    is returners even a word? borrowers?


    • allycatadventures
      Sep 18, 2011 @ 08:42:26

      @FD – Denver’s notoriously heavy-handed with all fines traffic and many pedestrian; whether that crosses over into the library system I know not – and wish to remain so. πŸ™‚ Returner is a word – i.e., punt returner so why not books returner? πŸ˜‰


  3. Invictus
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 03:40:48

    Woolrich is a respected author in the crime fiction field whose legacy has long since been forgotten, I’m afraid. From what little I know about him, he was well-respected for his plotting and his ability to twist the story. I believe he’s mostly out of print and has been for some time, so not knowing about him betrays no untoward ignorance. Rear Window, among many other films, was adapted from his work.


    • allycatadventures
      Sep 18, 2011 @ 08:47:05

      @Brandon – Oh, interesting. Now I’m intrigued. And certain that if he is out of print, the little library satellite I favor is sure not to have it. When I perused the shelf for Raymond Chandler, not a novel was to be found, possibly indicating that all three of his books — said it was a small library πŸ˜‰ — were checked out. Denver’s central library is ginormous – an adventure I’m saving for another day.


  4. longeyesamurai
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 08:14:42

    He was a contemporary to Hammett, and according to Wikipedia, was just behind him, the Perry Mason author and Raymond Chandler on the top crime writer list. I came across his stories from an omnibus collection in French.

    One of his story was also used for Truffaut’s The Bride Wore Black, one of my favourite noir.


  5. longeyesamurai
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 08:18:45

    Just saw a Pearls Before Swine that seems a propos


  6. lexiemom
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 15:06:59

    Chuckle!! πŸ™‚


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