Claims returned is always a lie


I'm feeling quite embarrassed, which, as you know, takes a lot. Here's how it came about. I had some extra time before work, as I had to dash to the public library and return an overdue dvd that wouldn't renew (yes, even aspiring librarians accrue fines). Because God loves me, or some other cosmic reason, I managed to hit both trains bang on and got to campus with an extra twenty minutes. I decided what I should do is go tell the library that a book I returned back two or so months ago is still showing on my card (grad students get to have books for a whole semester. The book was Eleanor Rigby for the curious.). The circ worker duly printed off my record and promised to do a manual search. She was quite gruff, but that's standard for the customer service staff here (they can't be fired, so where's the incentive in being nice?). I did not inform her that I had already done a "manual search" (how exactly, does one non-manually search for an item on a library shelf?), as I'm sure she'd only have rolled her eyes at me.

Pleased with myself for not being condescending or openly rude, I sauntered over to the school (which is in the same building but for obscure reasons requires you to enter from a separate door). There, I opened my locker to remove my gym bag which has been sequestered and inaccessible since yesterday. You see, another student had put her lock on my locker (I don't lock my stuff up because a. only library students are ever there and b. there's nothing worth stealing). It was a process to figure out who had made the slip up and contacting her and so on. She was in a rush and mislocked, or so she claims. Not having access to my stuff wasn't that big of a deal, though I didn't have my coat yesterday when I walked to the Indian restaurant. But it was better to not have a coat than to lock myself out of my apartment, which one of my dinner partners did.

Well, I grab the bag in order to take to work in hopes that I'd be home before 12.30 tonight. A book falls out of my locker. It's one of my textbooks, but upon returning it, I discover that there's another book under a stack of papers. I pull it out and, much to my chagrin, it is a Douglas Coupland novel. That Douglas Coupland novel. This book has now been returned to a different branch of the university system. I was too shamefaced to go call off the manual search, but hopefully it won't inconvenience them too much. I'm trying to assuage my guilt by telling myself that I never place holds on books that are checked in at the libraries. I mean, those pages need to earn their 8 bucks an hour that my tuition money is paying for, right?

When I was working in circulation, it was conventional wisdom that 99.9% of claims returned were nothing but a pack of lies. When faced with paying $25 for a children's book, people are surprisingly able to dig it out of car seats, behind couches, under the bunk beds or wherever else they finally manage to remember it got left. I really was certain I had returned the book. But, alas, libraries never lie. I have seen the enemy, and he is me.

(Please note, I have not altered, exaggerated or compressed the timeframe of any events above. My life, it turns out, is a bad sitcom at times.)

(also note, dal makhani is really tasty.)


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