Friday 30 Sep 2016

As a Possessed Monkey
Jennifer Flaten

MrrrRaRa, MrrrRaRa. Oh, how I loathe that sound; the sound of denial.

One minute, I am happily scanning books at the self-checkout and then all of sudden the blasted machine is bleating like a wounded sheep.

So, I do whatever a person using a machine does, I assume the machine is wrong and I zip the book through the machine again.

Same noise, the machine is adamant that the book I am scanning is not available for checkout. Funny, since I found the book on the current release shelf, one would assume the book is available for checkout.

It is not, as I learn from reading the helpful and large red pop up on the machine. According to the message, this particular book has a "hold." It was not available to the public.

Oh come on, I really wanted to read that book! Hmm, that seems like an awful tease, putting the new release on the shelf only to cruelly yank it away.

I ponder taking the book up to the regular checkout counter. I know, as a fact, that if you bring the book on "hold" up to the counter the librarians will let you check it out anyway.

Call me crazy, but I think this kind of negates the whole "holding" the book system, but whatever.

If it means I get to the read the book I want when I want it I'll just smile and nod. Besides, I don't want to get into a tangle with the librarian.

In fact, I try to avoid the librarians as much as possible. That is why; I use the self-checkout.

I am usually not a big fan of the self-checkout, in my experience they never work right.

Who hasn't taken their two items through the self-checkout, assuming it would be faster than waiting in line for a live clerk. Then find she or he is banging on the keys like possessed monkey twenty minutes later? Come on, it can just be me!

Not to mention it seems like a great way for the store or library to get you to do the work for them free.

I only use them at the library to escape the wrath of the librarian.

A little tip, the librarians might claim they love readers, and they do. They just don't love readers who check 50 books out at a time. They also aren't very fond of readers who accumulate large sums of overdue charges and they really don't like when you fail to pay said charges for months at time.

As it so happens, I am a reader who does both on a regular basis.

Really, I have no excuse for the late charges. Since, I always have at least 30 books checked out at any given moment, I take advantage of the courtesy email reminder the library sends prior to the due date.

Problem is I never read it. I see it in the inbox, I think, "Oh, yeah the books are due," and then I promptly hit delete. This is very bad, especially on the weeks I fail to realize I checked out five 10-day rental books and all are coming due in a day.

I also have online access to my library card, I diligently scroll through the list of outstanding items and armed with a list I conduct a full sweep of the house. I round up all the books. I think, even those hiding in the forbidden zone aka under the kid's bed.

Yet, I always end up with late fees. That's okay, as long as I can get the self-checkout to work.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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