Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Today I had one major goal. Talk with the librarian about my crazy fines and try to get them waived.

My sister says library fines directly correlate with how much stress your feeling.

Lets just say its been a stressful year. I also was never good at getting things back on time in the first place, then you add my brain fog. Its bad. I have paid at least $40 every time I go.

Last time I waited in line filling pretty sick (from the drugs and the unknown number). But when she told me $80 I stared at her in disbelief. I debated for a minute whether or not to tell her my perfectly good reasons for bringing my movies back so late. The line behind me was long, and I started to get chocked up at the thought of my story.

Tears were falling down my cheeks. I knew I wouldn't have a voice.

I slowly reached in my purse and pulled out four $20 bills. I wiped my nose with my hoodie sleeve as I handed her the money.

"Thanks. Have a good day." She said with no emotion.

What?! She looked me strait in the eye while my lips were quivering and mascara running down my face! Did she seriously just take that money without so much as look of sympathy?

I remember a time, probably in the 80s, but definitely before all this seat belt craze, that my mom was pulled over for speeding (very unlike my mom) on the long way home from grandmas house. She totally bawled and got off with just a warning.

I should have chosen the man librarian.

Well, he wasn't there today.

But I had every intention of pulling the cancer card out with my library card. So I pick the librarian with the uniform, short hair. Could be a recent cancer surviver? We may have something major in common and this conversation may end up in an eternal friendship, or at the very least a warm hug. Or is just that she looks dang cute with short hair?

There is no one in line, so I step up to the plate. I start out in this once upon a time fashion that I feel like a librarian is sure to identify with. As I get deeper and deeper into the story she is looking more and more bored. She stops me short with "okay, whats your name."

Oh no, I thought, this is not going well.

"Linton. L-I-N-T-O-N. Alisa A-L-I-S-A."

"Do you have your library card with you?"

I lit up, "Oh, of course." I whipped out (from my official organized-person-looking Lehi Library bag) the card I had had replaced last time I was at the library (another $5).

She scans it in and spends some time looking over the report. "yes, you do have $42 in fines....some movies.....books........"

"Well I have turned them all back in good condition. I take good care of them, its just that I'm SO irresponsible right now...."

At this her eyes shoot up and she gives me a stern look. She said something to the effect of 'thats exactly why we don't know if you should be checking out our materials..' kind of thing and I got panicky.

I started to kind of try to laugh it off, "Oh, its just chemo brain you know. Once I'm off this medicine Ill be back every week, you watch...."

Now I could tell she was questioning the validity of my statements.

Well as luck would have it, my neighbors little kids were walking by just at that moment. I looked around for Julia (little did I know she had her baby while I was at girls camp) and found someone who looked very similar herding the kids.

"Hi! You must be Julia's mom!"

"Oh, yes. And your name is.."


I waited for maybe that to ring a bell and for her to tell me how she remembers Julia's friend with cancer and how she's so sorry.

Nothing. Of course shes never heard of me.

I say very loudly anyway "I'm her friend with CANCER."

"Oh, I'll tell her you said hi." She smiled politely and walked away.

By now there is a long line behind me and I'm getting very uncomfortable. I'm totally acting like this is all a lie.

In an awkward voice I continue "Don't you have like a program that other libraries are doing where if you read like an hour in the library you get $8 off your fine or something?"

Now shes really looking at me strange. This even makes her laugh. "No."

I talk faster..."Well, its not really the money I mind paying, its the principle of the thing you know. I pay $15 for an overdue DVD, well I might as well have gone to barnes and nobles and kept it. I could get the books new there, at least, without having to worry about bringing them back anywhere....I mean, Ive paid like $200 of fines here this year alone! Its just so hard......"

She consults the computer again "That's true.....You have returned them all......." (but I could tell she was thinking, but your act and your story is ridiculous).

She decides to cut my fine in half.

I leave with my head down hoping no one in that line is reading my blog and realizing how pathetic and lame I really am.

I came home and turned the ringer off my phone.

The phone has been lost ever since.

If you need to reach me, follow my library fine trail.


mamabear said...

That's why I have so many books. I finally realized that it was cheaper to buy them than check them out and get them back in time. I had no excuse. And the Lehi library can make you cry. The one time that I took the boys and didn't have a card, I left crying. Librarians must go to school to learn how to be impersonal. Hang in there. We love you.

Markemilius said...

Alisa, what you should do is just stop using your card. Throw it away if you want. Get James a card and if that one starts getting a little too finey then throw it away and get sam one. One time I got a 25 dollar fine or something so I just stopped going.

happy mommy said...

I have fines like that and I can't even use cancer as an excuse. I am just a complete airhead.

Whether it is right or not, I burst out laughing when you said, "her friend with CANCER."

I am seriously still giggling.

Here's a thought:

Add up how much you've spent in fines over the last 6 months, average it, then tell your hubby that you should have that as your monthly book/DVD budget.

Seems reasonable to me!!

Jill said...

Hey you should know that you money is going to a good cause. I just saw a news special on how libraries are shutting down all across the country for lack of funds. I guess when the economy goes bad the libraries are the first to go. So here's to taking one in the pocket book for the sake of education in Lehi. Alisa, I'm feeling bad about your depression and anxiety because I can relate. If anyone I care about is going through it, I can't handle it. I'm racking my brain to think of how I can help out. I know you'll make it through this though. I asking all the apartment dwellers in my ward if they would like to move to a cut little house in Lehi. :)

Whatsatoomzaletson said...

Try moving. It's worked for me!! I hate that the librarians are mean to you.

Liz said...

I check out 30 books at a time - so the librarians roll their eyes when they see me coming. Even one late day with 30 books can really add up. I don't think I've hit the $80 mark yet but I did just recently pay a $50 fine. I'm still trying to decide if it's worth it or not...

Erin said...

You shouldn't feel guilty at all. I honestly can't believe that these librarians are giving you such a hard time. I can't imagine fining someone $80 in late fees. Maybe you should ask to speak to the library director, or sent them an email or a letter and explain that due to medical reasons you're having a hard time getting items back on time, but that you still really value the use of their facility. Maybe they can make an exception for you? I can't understand why librarians in this day and age when reading is at an all time low would penalize the public so harshly.

If all else fails I say screw the library and start using netflix for films and share books with girlfriends.

Tiffany said...

You have just brightened my entire life! I always tell people that I "rent" from the library, instead of borrow.
I remember going to the library with some things that were late. I had just had surgery on my stomach, which was somewhat planned, but a little unexpected. Plus I did need a little recovery time. I told them my "sob story" of how I had an unexpected surgery and that is why I didn't get them turned in on time. After the librarian interrogated me, she said I should have called the library, or something dumb like that. Librarians are EVIL I tell you EVIL!! Stay away from them, RUN as fast as you can! I am sure they have to take some type of training in how to be as un-compassionate and un-caring as possible.

So we signed up for Blockbuster, on their smallest plan. We get 2 movies per month (in the mail)for $3.99 you can keep them as long as you want to, and you just mail them back when you are done. They have different plans if you want more movies.

That doesn't help with the books, but the movies accumulate bigger fines.

I still go to the library, but have thoughts of becoming agoraphobic whenever I have to deal with a librarian.

Have a good day today, and read a good book! Hee, Hee!

Amy said...

Maybe you shouldn't return the books/DVDs at all; just say you lost them, and pay for them to be replaced. Then you'd at least have something to show for your money. Then again, honesty usually pays for itself in the long run.

Doc said...

That library Nazi needs a little compassion lesson - maybe we should call in Conan, the Librarian!

ronco said...

Mark, I think I remember they erase your fines when you turn 18, so there may be some silver lining ahead for you, at least. For the rest of us, I guess we'll just keep those cards maxed out for education

Fugal Family said...

This would have been a great opportunity for you to call your friend (me!) and put me on the task. You know I love a challenge! You are too sweet and too nice to be combative. I, on the other hand, though I think I am nice, like to argue to the point that I am still behaving, but my points are being heard. I think I know which librarian it was, and next time I go in, I am going to get your money back, with a hand written apology, and a month worth of free videos! That is the least I could do for the friend that keeps me coming back to the best blog ever! I love your writing style, I love your sense of humor. Turn the ringer on and listen to your messages. You have so many people who want to talk to you everyday - like me! When are we going to Buca?

bradnlisa said...

I pay fines all the time--but my kids lose the books/books on tape/dvd's/etc. It drives me crazy. I think we should be allowed (free of charge) to mail them back at our leisure. I hate the library now and just buy my books from Amazon or half.com or Barnes and Noble half off, or just borrow. I don't like mean librarians! Love your story!!!

Rebecca said...

Alisa, you are so funny. And comforting! Shortly after Mark and I got married, he returned some books on tape for me and paid the $74 dollar fine. Bless him for his patience with me, but I am sure he was scared, wondering what he had gotten himself into. There must be a "Stressed Out Library Patrons Anonymous" group out there, somewhere.

alisa said...

i need to add that i love the lehi library, and even the librarians. they are very patient with people like me, and i really have no problem with any one librarian. i mostly just think im the brat in all of this.

jennie said...

I think in the movies and TV shows, librarians always have the reputation of being too uptight, so don't sweat it... she's just trying to fit the part I bet. Did she have a bun in her hair and a shirt buttoned all the way up??

I'm with Steph Fugal about the phone thing. I keep telling myself to quit leaving messages because I know you never listen to them... but old habits die hard. I have Josh's "Thanks for calling the Linton's, please leave us a message" memorized.

Hope you know I love you.

Mel said...

I thought I could feel your pain when you were talking about library fines, but then I realized that the 7.50$ fine I had to pay the day is NOTHING compared to yours. I won't feel like ripping the head off the librarian when they ask for my money.....actually, I still think I will, but I won't kick myself too hard for being too absent minded (I was at a funeral when the fine was accrued). Greg says for 200$/year he'll call you and remind you when your books are due. (greg's my husband who works with mike) Best of luck!

Jewel said...

Well Alisa, my Mom is honored to have made your blog. And she would have totally rallied behind you if she had not been so nervous about her own check out procedure, being a "non-resident" and all. But they were actually very good with her.
YES, she knows who you are and has heard from us about you and James for years- before, and after cancer.
My Mom LOVES to read, she is a 2nd grade teacher, gives books as gifts etc. But she had to stop checking out from the Price city library when she saw her physically strong, mentally aware, and morally straight neighbor listed in the newspaper under small claims court cases for- you guessed it, UNPAID LIBRARY FINES.