My Life in Holds

I have a love-hate relationship with the library. Love, because, well, it’s a library, and I can borrow things that I have no intention or desire to ever actually own. Hate, because I inevitably end up with fines since I typically misplace only those materials on which someone else has placed a hold. Library karma? And then there was the time that the library actually sent Marc a collections notice for his outstanding fines…alas, a different story for a different day. (To clear his name, though, I should tell you all that they lifted the fees after much ballyhoo on Marc’s part.)

So what does all of this have to do with My Life or My Holds? I’m getting there. Today, I checked my e-mail and found a hold notification for a few DVDs I requested for Max (yes, I let my toddler watch television…sue me!). What caught my eye, however, was a new area on the notice that read, “To protect your privacy, we cannot publicly display your name on materials being held for pick up. The Hold Shelf will be organized by Hold ID.” It went on to list my very own, personal Hold ID number. And it got me to thinking…is this really such a problem? As I was getting ready for bed, I told Marc about the new Hold IDs, and he said, “That kind of sucks.” “What part sucks?” I asked, to which he replied, “Well, it was just another clue.” I laughed…mainly because he was right.

Creepily enough, library holds are, indeed, a clue to what’s going on in someone’s life. I remembered a time that Marc came back from having lunch with a friend he hadn’t seen in awhile. As he recapped their time together, he told me a story about how he and the friend talked about having children. At some point, their conversation turned to how it took awhile for me to get pregnant, and the friend said to Marc, “Yeah…we wondered if you guys might have been having trouble getting pregnant because Nat kept noticing that Karen had a bunch of books about infertility on hold at the library.” What?!?! His wife’s last name also starts with an “M” and is just a few characters off of our own. I even grabbed one of my on-hold books at the library once only to find a note from her on a due-date receipt…it was sweet, just a quick note to say hello and that she hoped we were doing well. It never really occurred to me that someone might draw their own story of my life from the books I put on hold.

Marc and I got a good chuckle out of the nature of my holds over the last few years. So what did my on-hold story tell? Well, during the spring of 2007, they were all about getting ready to “try” to get pregnant. At that point, we thought it was going to be easy. There were books like Taking Charge of Your Fertility and others about “getting ready.” When it didn’t happen right away, there were books about changing your diet for fertility and yoga for fertility. Still nothing…more books…Infertility for Dummies, books about when to call a doctor, even more about what happens if it doesn’t happen. And then, voila! Anyone casing my spot on the on-hold shelf would have noticed books about pregnancy starting the following summer…a few months later, they were books about labor and delivery…next up, caring for newborns…throw in a few Dr. Sears’ books here and there, and one would know that we right on track for Max’s arrival in January of 2008. Over the last year and a half, there have been books by Anabel Karmel about The Top 100 Purees for Baby, Baby Super Foods, and Meal Planners for the Picky Eater; CDs ranging from Here Come the ABCs by They Might Be Giants to For the Kids (1, 2, & 3!); and just today, I picked up a couple of new Elmo’s World DVDs.

It was kind of fun to see our journey through the lens of the Dewey Decimal System and a metal shelf at the local library. From now on, though, I guess it will just be a story for us, alone. Well, us and the librarian.

To protect your privacy, we cannot publicly display your name on materials being held for pick up. The Hold Shelf will be organized by Hold ID.

Your Hold ID is:
MCA 8282

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One response to “My Life in Holds

  1. Karen,
    This was an awesome story! How funny about your friends cluing in! I never thought about it — and our library still uses our names.

    People probably think I’m a 12 year old because the only thing I’ve ever requested to hold are Harry Potter Audiobooks 😉

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