Confessions of a Library Fugitive

Photo: CCAC North Library

I am wanted by the library.

I have three kids. And I want to do right by them, you know? Which, apparently, according to all the “experts” like “teachers” and “social services” means schlepping them to the library regularly.

Let’s call my oldest The Solicitor because he can talk the hind legs off a mule. Not that we have a mule. I guess he’ll have to talk the hind legs off his brother. He loves his cell phone, My Life is Average, and his mom. In that order. Actually, he’d probably put a lot of things between MLIA and his mom. He also loves to read, always has, which has led to the trouble.

My middle, my only girl, is also a reader. We call her the Pink Goth because when she was little, she’d dress head to toe in fluffy pink. Then she’d give every stranger on the street the nastiest, drop-dead looks if they so much as smiled at her. We’re talking looks that could incinerate, with her head down, glaring up at them through her eyebrows. We later figured out the Pink Goth was shy and walking around looking like she wanted to skin your cat was her way of protecting herself. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. Ask us in 7 years when the neighborhood cats start disappearing.

And the little guy? He is a boundless stream of energy. He climbs on things he really shouldn’t. Like lamps. Or the vacuum cleaner. He’s all boy. Let’s call him Turbo.

He’s too busy breaking things to do anything so quiet as reading. But there is an exception. He’ll read anything about dinosaurs. He loves dinosaurs. He knows their Latin names, their habits, favorite TV shows, and profiles. He will read, no, he NEEDS to read each and every book on the face of the earth about dinosaurs. Especially the ones with pictures of bloody teeth chomping through shredded flesh.

Seriously. I have nightmares.

So being the diligent and responsible mom I am, I pack them up and take them to the library. The Solicitor gets his Percy Jackson. Pink Goth gets her book about flying cats. And Turbo picks up 17 books about dinosaurs. And there, at the checkout, is where the National Guard moves in to take me down.

You see, I’m really good at getting books from the library. Not so good at returning them.

It all started when we moved. I don’t know about you, but no matter how organized I am at the gate, my final days of moving consist of grabbing big piles of stuff and frantically shoving them in boxes. I have never moved without moving a few bags of trash that I just crammed into a box.

When we moved, I jammed a stack of library paraphernalia in a box, labeled the box “MISC,” and forgot where it was. That box is probably still packed in the basement, three moves later. In the box, apparently, were books, but also DVDs.

DVDs in the District of Columbia have a late fee of $1 day.

When I went back to make peace with the library, I had a small matter of a bill.

500 dollars. Yep. You read that right. I had a FIVE. HUNDRED. DOLLAR. library fine.

Go me.

I know that there are moms out there who have never had an overdue book, much less spectacularly overdue. Their kids eat vegetables joyfully. They vacuum behind the refrigerator and bake carob cupcakes for class snacks.

This blog post is not for you. Go away and dust or something.

I can’t be the only library fugitive out there. There have to be bloggers for the rest of us. The ones who try and fail and find joy in our kids nonetheless. The less-than-perfects, the ones that make the other moms look good. We can pull this off. We can do it. Si, se puede.

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About Rebecca Cusey

Rebecca is a movie critic. Check out her work on Rotten Tomatoes. Follow her on Twitter @Rebecca_Cusey