Thursday, March 1, 2012

Four Dollar Freedom

It was an $8 fine, unnecessarily earned, but earned nonetheless. Eight dollars isn't the largest fine I've ever owed the library by far, but it irked me just the same. I hate paying library fines. It's an embarrassing admission of my inability to:

1) renew all of my books in a timely manner, online, from my own cozy home,
2) understand the concept of a due date, and
3) not check out 30 books at a time and thus rack up the quickly accruing fines.

Today it took me three overloaded bags to return the books that were due. It was with Herculean effort that I lifted the bags on to the counter and it was with equal Herculean effort that the librarian did not roll her eyes at me. She summoned another librarian to assist her with adding up my fines checking in the piles I'd placed in front of her. Those librarians...they know me...they know how I roll...they know I'm always good for a decent fine...they've been studying my work for years!

Handing me a piece of paper she said, "For today and tomorrow, we are cutting fines in half for folks who bring in canned food for the food drive. So, if you want to hop around the corner to the dollar store and grab a few items, we can cut this fine in half! That would probably help YOU lots," she smiled helpfully.

The librarian then informed me of my $8 fine and I told her I'd be back with food later in the day, not willing to load my two youngest kids into car seats at the library and unload them at the dollar store and reload them at the dollar store and then unload them at the library once more and then pay with the cans of food and then reload them into seat belts and then drive home and unload them once more...

My brain was just too tired from the thought of all of it so I decided that I'd just deal with it once I had fewer car seats involved later in the day.

Back in the car, I reached for my phone to call my Man when I saw that he'd called me while I was haulin' books. "Hey, guess what?" he said brightly.

"What?" said I.

"Well, I just found out that...."

I'm gonna pause here so that I can let you down easy. I know that you might be thinking, "Hmmmmmm, he called her in mid-morning on a Tuesday. He didn't text, so this 'Guess what!' must be something huge."

It was a big deal, but I'm 142% certain that in all of the United States and perhaps Europe, my Man and I are most likely the only people to think that the piece of news he was about to impart was a big deal.

"I just found out that the Puritan Prayers and Devotions came out in ebook form and so now you've got it on your reader!"

Sorry. I know...let down. We are absolute nerds. {Love nerds!...ha...again, Sorry.}

When we finished talking Puritan books, I told my Man about the $8 result of my late books and of my plan to go home and get canned food and come back and pay the reduced fine of $4. To which my fella said, "Gretch, just pay the fine."
"Sure," I said full of remorse, "it's not your fine to feel bad about."
"I'm telling you, you're time is worth much more than the $4 you're trying to save. It's the same as a cup of fancy coffee. Pay the fine and forget it, take it easy on yourself."

Can I tell you the freedom in that?

I swung the block, marched back into the library, paid my fine, claimed my stack of fresh new books (that I couldn't check out with a fine still to be paid),  and sailed home with the sound of my Man's voice in my ears..."You're time is was only four dollars...forget about it and move're time means something...."

I'll treat my time with a bit more respect now since I'm reminded that I'm not the only one to whom it's valuable.

I'll do my tasks with my chin held a little higher this week, since those tasks taking up my precious time must be worthy too.

Since our goal is to impart valuable things to the children, perhaps I should share a bit more of this precious commodity time with them.

And maybe, just maybe with this renewed and wiser outlook on my time, I'll have a bit more of it to spend chatting with a certain book nerd about his favorite Puritan writers and their ebook ramifications!

It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants. 
The question is, what are we busy about?
~Henry David Thoreau~

I'm eagerly participating in 


Deborah Ware said...

A few years back we actually put library books out with the trash. The garbage men came and took our books away. Our fine was $50. Lesson learned!

Ramona @pwconnect said...

Yes! There is so much freedom in leaving money out of some decisions.

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