Eager to read Jhumpa Lahiri’s new short story collection Unaccustomed Earth, I reserved a copy at the library as the publication date neared. I was at the top of the list for when the book came in and was unnaturally excited when my inbox told me Unaccustomed Earth is waiting for you. For me? I tried to act surprised. I had four days to pick it up, but each night I got home too late and thought about the book sitting there, wondering where I was. Given work and the library’s hours, I couldn’t make it there till Day Five.
“Do you still have it?” I asked the librarian. They’d already been holding it for me, but I thought with some hope, it’s the very next morning; maybe it’s still lingering on the shelf.
“No,” the librarian said curtly, which I read to mean: you had your chance. True.
Resigned, I logged in to the computer nearby to get myself back on the list to find there are now 527 ahead of me. Oh, come on. I estimate with my poor math skills that if everyone checks out the book for even a one-week period, I’ll be waiting for years. I’ll be asking for that one for my birthday.