Friday, August 3, 2007

The library is not Blockbuster

We are leaving for vacation tomorrow. So, in preparation for the roughly 9 hour car drive with the girls, we made a trip to the library today to stock up on some DVDs for the road. Yes, we have not one, but two DVD players for the car. This is the first time we will attempt to run both at once. It quite possibly could be a little annoying having two different shows playing at once, but it beats the alternative of potentially listening to “I can’t see/hear the screen” or “I don’t want to watch this show.” I imagine I will spend a great deal of time adjusting screens, volumes, discs, etc yet it still seems worth it. With two DVD players going, it is highly unlikely that we will be listening to any music in the car as that would just be too much. In its absence, I will likely amuse myself by forcing my husband to answer questions such as “if you could only eat three foods for the rest of your life, what would you choose?” or “who was your favorite 90210 character and please explain your choice” or “who’s the hottest Jessica (Alba, Biel, or Simpson)?” If he won’t humor me with answers, I’ll start playing dirty with questions like “who’s hotter, Rosie or Roseanne?” just to get his attention.

Ahhh, but we return to the library. You may have been unaware that the library offered free movie rentals. My mother-in-law alerted me to this a few years ago, but I only started using the service when I found myself in need of children’s movies and was not willing to make a large capital investment in Barney or Dora as those phases certainly can’t last forever? Now that my DVR is filled with an embarrassingly large number of “shows” as my girls call them, I haven’t used the library’s movie service as of late. Unfortunately, I can’t take my DVR on the road.

So, at the library, I overheard some “regulars” in the video section talking about a 5 video limit. Figuring I had about 18 hours of roadtime in my future, I opted to checkout the maximum (in a nod to MEP’s posting that addressed ethics in the card store, I will clarify that there were plenty of movies to go around.) Here I am, ready to check out, a prepared customer with my library card in hand. I cheerfully hand it over while balancing a 26-pound baby on my hip. The librarian gave me what I took to be a look of disgust. Was she trying to tell me that I am a reflection of a society headed south since I went to the library and checked out NO books? Did she recognize us as the people who attended her preschool story time session a few weeks back who arrived 2 minutes late and left 2 minutes (and one pack of fruit snacks) later after my older daughter assessed the situation and realized there was neither a hand stamp nor a craft associated with this story hour? Could she pull my account and see that I am not an avid reader? It was a look that seemed to want to communicate something more than “I’m not having a very good day.” Her annoyance elevated when I questioned the renewal policy on the 7-day rentals. “You can renew once,” she said coldly. This was an important matter to clarify as the accountant in me had already decided to abandon ship if the answer was no, as I quickly estimated the late fees would total $40 by the time I was able to return them.

Of course I value reading. Of course I think books are a better choice over movies. Books just aren’t always the practical choice. In the end, I didn’t try to defend my position as a mother trying to promote a literate society, one Bearenstein Bear book at a time. Clearly, she had already assessed me. I get it. I really do. The library is not Blockbuster. But, once a year, it is for me.


MEP said...

Loved this post, LAP. You pay your taxes and deserve as many Dora and Diego videos as you can check out. You can renew by phone for the Cincinnati Public Library, by the way. Doesn't she know members of your family are prone to car-sickness so that reading in the car is really not an option.

Anonymous said...

3 foods: pizza, steak, and donuts
90210: gotta go with Steve Sanders
hottest Jessica: Alba (hands down)
Rosie or Roseanne: I'm done with this game!


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