Admittedly, the human race is hard for me. I would truly be a wealthy woman if I had a dollar for every time someone told me I'm quiet, I'm reserved, I don't talk, I'm artsy fartsy and therefore possess the aforementioned qualities. Sigh. Ok. Now that you know this, understand that I like people. I really do. I just don't have a lot of patience with them. As one movie idol (Tarzan) stated it so eloquently after Jane described European mating rituals to him, "Too much talk". I love to write, but I do not love to talk unless I'm sincerely interested in the person or the subject at the other end of the conversation. I hate, bloody, hate, being misjudged. Or dismissed. Or blown off. I'm sure no one loves that, but I can't stand it. That fuels the no talking.
I do love to read. I just got home from a very interesting trip to the library. I needed a break from my art stuff, wanted to walk, wanted to get some books, so I took a stroll to the local book establishment. I took my time choosing what I wanted. I'm a long time patron. I went to check out my books, and was told to my astonishment, that I owed a $25 fine. I do frequent the library, but it had been about four months since my last trip. I was told by a very disinterested high school girl with a lisp that the book had "beverage stains" on it when it was returned. For a $25 fine it sounds like I spilled a gallon of Koolaid on it. I was speechless. I asked the young lady why I wasn't informed...such a large fine. She said the books were returned in the outside box and I therefore could not have been presented with the fine for the violated tome. I felt like a criminal, like I threw a dripping wet, sugary drink engorged copy of a first edition (I don't remember what I read four months ago) into the book drop from a moving car, laughing evilly as I sped off. They'll never know it was me!!!!!!!!! Ha Ha!!!!!! as pages disintegrated out of the airborne volume and it landed in the book drop with a soggy thunk. I paid $5 to rescue my momentarily soiled library patron-in-good-standing reputation and walked away hating the disinterested girl who received my last crumpled dollar bills in the world meant for the vending machine at work. I did see a non-high school age woman in an office through an open door behind the counter, apparently not paying attention-did she hear this?
I got home pacing the kitchen, heating up a cup of coffee, going over the conversation in my head repeatedly. Which book, what beverage, girl with a lisp, $25 freakin' dollars worth of damage, ahhhhhh! And then the phone rang. It was the woman in the library office calling, saying the $5 was payment enough and the remaining $20 was waived. I told her I'd gladly pay if it were that bad-I simply could not imagine how it could be? She smartly pulled the book from the shelf to check it. I thought of that after the fact. Still, I wondered to myself, why...I was grateful, but still disturbed. I had already decided to pay the fine. It wasn't worth not doing it.
I am trying to learn to be graceful with people, to see better, to hear better, to understand the context of a high school girl with a lisp doing her Saturday job, not really worried about an old lady in her eyes with a $25 fine. It's ok. There is a time for confrontation and a time to hold the peace. Or the tongue.