Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I've got your stuff: An open blog post of apology

A selection of the 15 million books I've borrowed, suffering Stockholm syndrome.

There are a stack of things I can do quickly: run to just miss a train, eat tacos, get to the head of the beer queue. But one thing I'm never going to do is get your stuff back to you in a reasonable time. I'm sorry, it's bad, I feel bad about it. But age has not wearied my capacity to hold on to your stuff.

Books are my main problem. They're just so damned interesting and I want to read them all and you have so many! And you're so kind and sharing and offer them to me, and I snap them up greedily, knowing they won't see you again until your children have left home.

You may not even remember I have them? I recently bumped into someone who had lent me a Jonathan Franzen book a while back. I stuttered something like, "Hey I've started the Franzen! Yeah finally, I had this thing I had to finish but now my evenings are clear and I've read the first 30 pages and I'm really enjoying it (the language is great!) and I should have it finished and back to you by..." At which point I kind of trailed off and she looked at me like I was a cat short of a crazy lady then muttered something about a meeting she had to be at. So Franzen lady, I'm sorry, your stuff is with me.

So my question is, should I work my way through all the books people have lent me (project-style), or just return them wholesale and unread and add myself to some global 'Do Not Lend' black list? What would you do?