Sunday, April 20, 2008

Now that’s another fine mess

I troll off to the library deep in thought. I have just discovered that his pyjamas are reversible, or rather he just discovered that his pyjamas are reversible. We spent a good 20 minutes turning them one way and then reversing them back the other way, an hysterical magic trick that provoked guffaws of hilarity. He actually wiped away a tear of mirth.

How come I didn’t know that they this garment had this feature? Well it’s because the vast majority of the boys’ clothes are given to us by pals, old clothes from old pals with bigger children. Admittedly this feeds my recycle and thrifty nature, but more importantly it provides an endless stream of threadbare, soft clothes for the tactile defensive amongst us.

I park my stack of books on the counter and beam at the librarian.

“Hello, I’ve come to pay my fines.”
“Just drop them in the book drop………over there………on the wall.”
“Yes I know where the book drop is, it’s just that I want to clear the fines first.”

She gives me the Librarian ‘look’ with pursed lips. It’s the look that says ‘don’t mess with me lady, I’ve heard it all before.’ It’s an expression that always prompts me to speak, whereas experience tells me that I should keep mum. I ignore experience and start making excuses, “yes I’m sorry they’re overdue but I’ve got a bit behind with them being off school for ski week and then my husband had to go to England….unexpectedly…..”

She glances up from her computer screen for another ‘look.’ The ‘look’ kick starts my ramble, again. “His Dad is ill in hospital….very ill……”
I can almost see her eyes roll, but she’s too professional. I want to tell her that I’m a very bad liar.

“Dya mean sick?”
“Um…...yes, that’s right, very sick indeed.”
“I’m sorry about that. Serious is it?”
“Yes…..some kind of……illness.”

Now I know that she knows I’m a liar, because normal people can provide a full diagnoses, prognosis and a list of medications, both brand name and generic, it’s the American way. The British way, with or without the requisite knowledge, is never to discuss medical matters. Medical matters are in the same category as sex, politics and religion, strictly off limits.

I am sure I am on the American Librarian Associations list of ‘Most Not Wanted.” I always have fines. I always have excuses. They are always true, although my delivery leaves a lot to be desired. I have the flush and blush of the truly guilt ridden.

“So.....…you’re from England?”
“I have an English friend.”

Oh no, here we go! This is the ‘do you know Jane Smith? She lives just outside London in a little village called Landsend, do you know her?’ Just because I happen know the other 23 people who live in England intimately!

“The medical section is up the stairs on the right or I could give you a few websites if that would help?”

A good librarian never reads a book by it’s tatty cover, unlike some patrons.

Otherwise, life continues "relentlessly."


Vi said...

Now you REALLY could have confused her and said he was 'poorly'. That's an english word I hadn't heard used before till I came to this country!

Mr. Fabulous said...

You know, almost any garment can be reversible if you put your mind to it...

The Anti-Wife said...

So, did you ever pay the fines?

Jocelyn said...

I should think they'd greet your approach with excitement. New books, on Maddy!

Angela said...

LOL! Don't feel bad, I am from Texas originally and get asked if I know so-and-so every time we get stationed at a new base. Or I get the TV summation of 'how Texans are'. You would think 25 years of actually living in TX would qualify me more than CNN to speak of 'how Texans are'. Thanks for the giggle!