I just got back from the library, my neighborhood branch. I've been reading all these Lizzie Borden books, and there were two I wanted to take with me to the writing retreat. One is the conspiracy theory: Lizzie's secret illegitimate brother did it. It's not due till after I get back. The other is called Forty Whacks, and it's my favorite. It's a sober telling of the events, more or less proving that Lizzie couldn't have done it because she didn't have time ... but neither did anyone else. It was due today and I've already renewed it once, so it was really due today.
Anyway -- and I've done this before -- I planned to return it and check it out again. They've done this for me several times, provided there isn't a "hold" on the book (meaning, someone else is waiting for it). Not today. Since the book came from another branch, I would have to take it to that branch, turn it in, wait till it's back on the shelf, and then check it out again. But I'm leaving tomorrow. I pleaded with the man, but no dice. Then I called the branch that the book came from and pleaded with the woman there. By this time, the book was already checked back in, so it was too late to just keep it and pay the two bucks for returning it a week late. That's what I should have done. Damn.
I've gotten in the bad habit of leaving my bike unlocked at the library if I'm only running in for a minute or two. It seemed like a waste of time and energy to spend on this activity which supports an attitude that my neighborhood is full of thieves waiting to pounce on an unlocked bike. I guess I want to feel safe in my neighborhood, even if I'm kidding myself. On my way out of the library, a man was walking quickly and purposefully toward my bike. When he saw me, he flinched, and then he said, "Hey man, do you have fifty cents?" I said I didn't, and he said, "Oh man, I was just getting ready to sit here and wait for whoever owned that bike to come out so I could ask him if he had any change..." and he told me a story about somebody giving him a burrito that was too spicy so he needed a Dr. Pepper.
I think this is the same guy who wanders the neighborhood scanning people's yards for whatever's not nailed down. J caught him "borrowing" some tools from our next door neighbor a few weeks ago. If it's not the same guy, they could be twins. They're both wiry and tattooed and good at making up implausible stories quickly.