This month I went insane. And then I found a missing library book. I tell you that in advance because things get pretty intense between the two and I didn’t know if you could handle the suspense.
Isn’t it amazing how the little things can chip away at the fragile and misguided mass we call our sanity? It’s like all the worries in the world are made of an adhesive and they stick to our psyche. We then rip them off, one at a time trying to deal with each one, successively peeling away layer after layer of ideals, experiences, values and assumptions of who we think we are leaving a quivering, jellied lump of pure emotion and instinct behind.
This month was a record in a string of bad months. I overdrew my account by mistake – twice. A client yelled at me for something I couldn’t control, another employee loudly voiced her negative opinions for our website which she didn’t know I had created, an employee continually called out while another consistently showed up late. Eventually, this all culminated in me quitting my job, which is terrifying. I have another job lined up, but still. Stressful.
To make myself feel better I went to the library, a place that always makes things O.K. I hadn’t been there in almost 3 weeks so it was definitely time. I lugged my huge, sturdy library bag full of books to the counter and started checking in books with my friend, Caterpillar-Chihuahua lady (Translation here). Maybe it’s the luck of the draw, maybe I’m cursed, but every time I check in or out with this lady there’s a problem. Either I have an issue with my card or a certain book or she has an issue with dealing with anyone who is in a better mood than her. Which is everyone.
Anyway, she checked in all of my books, looked at the computer, looked at my stack of books and then looked at me and said, “Youuuuuuuu arreeeeee miiiiiiisiiiiing ooooone boooook.”
So, this was an embarrassing situation, especially since there were people behind me and she had violated the sacred law of libraries by speaking in a very loud voice that everyone could hear, but then she compounded the situation by saying, “Yoooou ooooowe the liiiiiiiibrary fiiiiiftyyy dolllaaarsss iiiiif yooooou cannooooot produuuuuce thaaaat boooook.”I thought this was curious choice of words. To produce something implies that I must create it. As if I was supposed to create a nest of shredded library cards and pop out the book like an egg. I stared at her imagining this scenario and idly wondering if they had a coop for this sort of thing when she said:
“Iiiiiiiiiiin addiiiiiiiitioooooon, youuuuu maaay noooot cheeeeeeck ooooooutt aaaaany mooooore booooooks untiiiiil youuuuu rettuuuuurn thaaaat oooone oooor paaay fooor iiiit.”
I was barred from the library! My escape! MY SANITY!! I left the library in a blurry haze. Tears threatened but I refused to let them spill. Chihuahua lady would probably lick them from my chin as others’ despair and suffering seemed to be her sustenance and my tears her lifeblood. Let her starve.I started looking for that book immediately, starting in my car. Everything from the cab got moved to the trunk, and everything from the trunk got moved to the cab. Nothing.
I got home and terrorized my dog with my crazed and energetic display of domesticity, misguidedly believing that cleaning would bring my missing book to light. I started with my usual reading spots. Bathroom was first on the list. I looked through the stack of books, but not with much hope. Given that the book was about hands on sewing, imagining the practical application of the subject matter while in the bathroom was just too brutal.Next was my reading chair, a green striped behemoth of a chair that my mother-in-law once referred to as “Dr. Seuss’s Throne”. I chose to take it as a compliment. It wasn’t there or in the cushions of the couch or in my sewing corner. It wasn’t at my work desk, in the kitchen or mixed in with my husband’s video games. The book had ceased to be.
The next morning, I received another call from an employee saying they weren’t coming in. The absolute injustice of being called at 6 am and being fed such malarkey on top of all the other crap I’d had to deal with was too much. My brain collapsed like a star and then went super nova. My emotions boiled over and projectile launched, splattering against anyone who was in their way. Other people’s problems were as ants and I was Godzilla, crushing them beneath my clawed feet and breathing fire on their stupidity.
I started throwing things to alleviate excess agitation, as I seemed to have an abundance of it, and it didn’t stop when I got to my car. I tossed the contents like a salad. Looking in through the windows must have been like looking at a blender. I was a whirling dervish and everything else was helplessly sucked into my vortex.Finally I exhausted myself and collapsed against the steering wheel sobbing. Papers floated down around me, released from my frenetic energy. One landed on my shoulder and I jerked away from it, brushing it off. It landed on the floor. Next to a book. The. Book.
I stared at the book on the floor. Apparently my strenuous efforts to sake the car apart had dislodged it from beneath the seat. I hesitantly reached for it, fearing I was hallucinating. I picked it up and all of my stress and anxiety evaporated. It was like finding the Holy Grail. Nothing else mattered, all of my problems were solved, and I would never have to worry again because I had found my missing library book.
And then I locked my keys in my car when I got to work.