The staff at my library are usually hip, young folks from the local university. I glow with the approval of them when they look over my literary picks. Kurt Vonnegut, huh? Cool., the skater dude with the longish hair will say as he puts the final kid's selection, "Yurtle the Turtle" in a pile to reveal my choices at the bottom. I bask in the awesomeness of myself and my reading selections. On another occasion it was the hippie chick who can rock a no-make-up face like nobody's business and usually has a homemade peasant top on, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle… Don't you just love Barbara Kingsolver? I smile and nod. This is the first Kingsolver book I've read but cool hippie chick doesn't have to know that, right? Aaahhh… there is nothing as pathetic as seeking approval from the young, is there?
Today was not one of my shining moments. First of all, my kids were with me and I was taking back one book and one book on tape that may or may not have been overdue. Secondly, there was a huge line and only one person at the check out counter. She was not the usual youthful presence. She was a crotchety older woman who was clearly flustered by the crowd gathering in front of her desk. I had the kids throw their selections on the counter and handed her my card. She scanned it and said, "You owe $2.00 in late fees."
Blushing, I replied, "Can you tell me what those late fees are for?"
She turned the computer screen towards me and scrolled to the page that listed my overdue books. I saw the listing and said, "Oh, I see. I won't make you say that title." And I laughed uncomfortably.
She said, without batting an eyelash, (she was at least 75 years old), "Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bitch in the Kitch." Suffice it to say, she didn't use her inside voice and everyone in line and within a 2 mile radius of the library for that matter, heard her.
Not wanting to seem like a library loser and in a desperate attempt to draw attention away from that unfortunate title, I immediately jumped to my own defense, "Oh. I brought that back today. I put it in the drop slot when I walked in."
This news was not received by Crotchety Old Library Lady (COLL). She sighed heavily and walked slowly over to the drop slot. She opened it up and said snarkily, "What does it look like? I mean, it could be anywhere."
Me, trying to remain cheerful, "It's a book on CD and I turned it in less than five minutes ago so it should be close to the top."
This did not go over well either and COLL kept pulling out VHS tapes, holding them up and asking, "Is this it?"
"No Mam. It's a book on CD."
Finally, she held up the correct title. Relief flooded my body. "That's it." She returned to the counter, took my $2 and gave me a mini-lecture on how I should tell her up front that I had an overdue book when it was really busy. I thought about explaining to her that I wasn't sure whether it was overdue but thought better of it. I thanked her in my most sickeningly sweet Southern draw and sashayed out of there with my kid's books in hand, hoping like hell everyone wasn't looking at me thinking, "She might want to listen that Skinny Bitch book a couple more times."