Saturday, September 10, 2016

Foreign languages

A woman comes up to me at the front desk of the library. She hands me a book and says ruefully "I think I might have some late charges."

I check the item in. "There aren't any late charges on this." I say, as if that might be relatively nice news.

She looks at me like I'm addled. "I want to check that book out." She says in an irritated manner.

"Oh, I need your library card."

She makes an exasperated noise as she hands it to me. I find once I've started being unreasonable it ends up going ever deeper, like standing on the rim of a hole giving in at the edge. "You have $2.40 in late charges on your card." I say.

"I thought you said I didn't have any late charges!"

"Well, no." I say. "Not on this book you hadn't checked out. These are charges from returning The Rueful Rustler eight days late."

"That's what I wanted to pay for in the first place!"

And so we come to reason number 342 for why I am so looking forward to the trip my wife and I are taking to Rome: 

In Rome I have at least no expectation that I will understand anyone.

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