Friday, February 5, 2010

The Book Incident

About 4 weeks ago I checked out a book from the county library. One day I put the book in the front seat of my car so I could read it during lunch. When it was time for me to go to lunch that day I was so looking forward to it. I was going to Subway and have 30 minutes of uninterrupted bliss eating a sandwich and reading my new library book. Except when I got to Subway I picked up the book and it weighed about 10 pounds. It didn't weigh 10 pounds when I put it in the car. That's when I realized that a glass of water in the console tipped over when I got out of the car that morning. The book sat in the front seat of my car soaking up a huge glass of water for about 5 hours. I wasn't about to let something like a drippy book stop me from enjoying my lunch. I lugged the book into Subway dripping wet. I had water drops down the front of my khakis. I did try to stuff the book in my purse so it wasn't as obvious to everyone that the book was soaked. The first couple of chapters were relatively dry.

That evening I put the book in the upper drying cabinet of our dryer. It ran for 3 hours and didn't make a dent in the wetness of the book. Then I tried using the hairdryer, which worked pretty well except there were 375 pages in this book. All but about 50 of them were wet. I was going to burn up my hairdryer if I tried to dry every page. Over the next couple of days I ran it back through the dryer two more times for 3 hours a time. Then I opened it up and laid it by a furnace vent.

By this time about a week had gone by and I had two dilemmas. #1 was that the pages were pretty dry….except for the back cover. It was a hardback book but the back cover was like a soggy newspaper. Problem #2 was that the book was due. I couldn't decide if I wanted to face the music now, or delay it. Since I'm a procrastinator I decided to delay the punishment. I asked the library for an extension. Luckily our library will do that over the phone. I had two more weeks to get the back cover dry and figure out a plan.

Finally I got the bright idea to take the jacket off of the book. If I had thought about that little detail two weeks earlier the back cover probably wouldn't have bent. Sometimes the obvious ideas are slow in coming to me. After several more days the back cover finally dried. I had a totally dry book, but you know how paper dries – it was 5X as thick as it once was. I then got another brilliant idea. I put the book on the floor and piled a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, my K-12 hardcover yearbooks, Jay's 9-12 hardcover yearbooks, a large John Deere book and any other book that had any weight to it on top of the ruined book. After a few days of that Jay put the books away and told me I was going to have to face the music.

The book was due today, but I took it back yesterday. I was very tempted to drop it in the night drop and hope they didn't notice. But what if they put a hold on my account? That would be really embarrassing if I was trying to check out a book and they asked me about a ruined book. You can't really pretend you didn't know anything was wrong when the book's pages are all puffed up and the back cover is bent. I also thought about buying the same book off Amazon. I'd put the old jacket on the new book. But again I didn't know what kind of information those librarians can see of their screen. There might have been something off with the book and they would've known it was an imposter. I knew facing it now would be the best thing.

I took the book to the counter and told my story. Confessing that you damaged a book to a librarian ranks right up there with confessing to your doctor that you smoke or your weight watcher team leader that you ate an entire cake. It's just not something a person looks forward to. The librarian was nice, but I could tell underneath her smile she was thinking I was a careless ninny and couldn't be trusted with anymore books….or at least that's what I thought she was thinking. I might have just been sensitive. She might have really been thinking about what she was going to have for lunch. Anyway, she told me I owed $18. I didn't have my checkbook with me yesterday, so I went back today to pay my fine.

When the librarian saw me she knew right away who I was. She disappeared into the office and came out with the mangled book. On top of the book was a yellow sticky note that said Crystal Shepherd is buying and can have book. Nice. I now have something permanent to remember this whole debacle by. I can't wait for Jay to see it tonight. He's going to love it.

Yeah…things have been a little slow around our house. I'm blogging about a ruined book.



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