Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Small Town Library Saga

Post two from the bustling city center of California, Pennsylvania:

Here's an unreasonable truth - I've grown to like it here.  I don't know when it happened, but on more than one occasion of late, I have noticed an odd feeling that can only be described as contentment.  I'd like to give all the glory to California, PA, but that's not entirely justified.

The real reason for the contentedness has to do with Atticus's new age.  A three-year-old is an amazing thing.  Truly scrumptious.  Every day, his cognizance widens so that I find myself fielding questions as varied as What do you do all day and Why does it hurt sometimes to poop?  These are both really wonderful, thoughtful questions.

This is just to say that Atticus is increasingly good company and not the work that he's been for the first three years of his life.  I loved him tremendously for those first three years, but I think I'll enjoy the next many years even more.

So back to California, PA.  I've mentioned the proximity to everything here because this town is very, very small.  I promised a post about the adorable little library here so here it is.

The California Public Library is a renovated train station about yay big (insert mental image of me holding my hands about shoulder width apart).  Half of the library is the kid's section which includes little tables and chairs, puzzles, coloring books, games, and a glorious doll called Gus Gutz.  More on Gus in a minute.

In my first few weeks here in Little Cal, I didn't know what to do with myself or my little man.  We missed our space, our yard, and our friends in Tennessee desperately.  So we went to the California Public Library pretty much every day for about two weeks.  It was air-conditioned with magazines and loads of little distractions for Atticus.  He read every book about trucks the library had in the first two visits and has since continuously borrowed the same four books every week since we have lived here.

Then something strange happened.  My mom and Aunt were in town this past weekend and I wanted to show them our adorable little library that gave us such respite as newcomers in town.  We walked in and Atticus ran to the children's area and immediately started playing with all his playthings there including Gus Gutz.  Now, just so you know, the Gus Gutz part here is just a sidebar.  It is not the something strange that happened.

Gus Gutz is a doll about two feet long with a gaping mouth opening almost as big as his head.  Atticus can shove his hand down Gus's gaping mouth and pull out all of Gus's innards: kidneys, lungs, gall bladder, heart, stomach, intestines, etc ... I just bring him up because, man, what a cool doll.  It grossed out my Aunt but a lot of things gross her out so let's not rush to judgement on Gus Gutz in general.  He's rad.

Back to the story.  As we are leaving, Atticus grabs his favorite book about firetrucks, but I did not bring my library card.  "No problem," says weird librarian guy, "Do you have fifty cents?"

"Sure," we say.  "We have fifty cents."

"Then you can get a library card," he says to my Aunt.  But then going through the process, he wants more and more information/identification which we already said we didn't have.  He's exasperated, my kid is on the floor literally pounding fists.  "Well, can you come back later with a water bill or something like that?"

"Sure," we say, but really, we all know we will not.  And here's why: I've been to this library about twenty times in the past two months.  I will bring the book and my card back in on Monday.  This is what I think is reasonable.

So we go home and start dinner and visiting and drinking and cooking and dancing and all the grand things one does when they have family in town.

Then the doorbell rings.  I run to the door with a beer in my hand and Atticus, naked since he just peed on the floor from too much excitement while dancing, is at my side.

It's the librarian.  He wants to know why we didn't come back and do I have proof of residency.

You mean other than the fact that I opened the door to the house you have on file?  I show him a cable bill, he writes down my library card number, and then says, "You never know what people are trying to do."

Um, really?  You think four adults and a three-year-old are trying to pull the biggest heist of the century on the California Public Library system by borrowing your Mighty Machines Fire Truck book?  A book we borrow all the time and have never been late in returning?

I'm still irked by weird librarian guy.  I appreciate that he takes his job seriously, but if he is serious about community and book distribution, he might have recognized me and asked me to come back on Monday or call in with my library id number.  Again, we live in a small town.  Clearly, the dude knows where to find me.

Anyway, his shenanigans have really put me off of library visits for the time being, but Lord knows I have to turn that book in on time.  Otherwise weird librarian guy might just show up at my house again.

1 comment:

DL said...

That is all kinds of weird. But, now I'm wondering if the librarian dude's at home tonight blogging about you and your naked kid.