Thursday, December 26, 2013

An absurd aversion to late fees

I never return a movie late. Never.

I'm sure it's happened before, but I do my utmost to make sure it doesn't happen. I'll reorganize plans for an entire day, just to make sure I get the movie I've borrowed from the library or video store back on time.

On Sunday, I almost returned Rango late to the library. I'd only rented it because my son seemed interested in it -- I like Rango, but I didn't feel a need to sit with him and watch it again. We were out all afternoon on Sunday, and it was due back at 5 or I'd owe them some money. I also had out the seventh season of Dexter on DVD, so the fine would have doubled.

Well, I got off the tram at about 4:57 and ran about six blocks to the library before it closed. In fact, they'd already shut the doors, and I was met at them by a library employee who told me "We're closed, mate." She tried to steer me to the after hours return box, which may have incurred those dreaded fees. Then she gave that look of reluctant relenting -- kind of like a rolling of the eyes, but not quite -- and took my two DVDs for a proper indoor return. 

Yesterday I was not that close to the deadline, but yesterday was perhaps more ridiculous -- because it was Christmas day.

We had spent the afternoon at my father-in-law's, for lunch and an exchange of gifts. A merry time was indeed had by all, in part because I partook of the wine I have been generally trying to avoid consuming while my wife has been pregnant. She seemed unlikely to deny me on Christmas, and in fact drank most of a beer herself. (Our baby's brain is now completed formed. Don't judge.)

So a glass of champagne, two glasses of white wine, one big glass of red, and a smaller glass of dessert wine later, we returned home, where I nearly wilted in the hot afternoon sun while trying to help my son drive his new fire engine he'd gotten for Christmas. It was with great relief to both myself and my sister-in-law when he wanted to go indoors to watch The Pirates! Band of Misfits, which he had also gotten among his presents that day.

I fell into delicious sleep for about 25 minutes on the couch as my son and my sister-in-law watched the movie. (I saw most of it, so it has appeared on my "rewatched" list to the right of the page.)

When the movie finished, she left, and I went to go ride my bike in the hot sun to return Oz the Great and Powerful.

We watched Oz on Christmas eve, as you know from my last post. What we weren't really expecting was that cheap $2 Tuesday for one-night new release rentals would actually require a next-day return. More things are closed in Australia on Christmas than would be some other places in the world, so it was strange that Video Ezy had full hours that day. I was, therefore, obliged to return the movie, lest I wanted to pay a $4.95 late fee. (You can get the initial rental night for cheap, but additional nights are at the regular new release rental rate.)

So one of the more absurd things I've done in recent memory is go ride my bike for a 25-minute round trip, on Christmas day, with a belly full of wine. Did it I did, though.

My sister-in-law has a car, of course, and we could have prevailed upon her to return the movie -- either on the way back from her father's, or after she left our house. But she had already been such a good Santa that day that I hardly felt it fair to infringe further on her good nature.

I wish the rest of this story were in some way interesting, like I'd gotten pulled over for Biking While Intoxicated (though I was really just sleepy at this point, some three hours after I'd consumed my last drink). Really, though, I considered the absurdity of a post-wine Christmas day bike ride to return a movie as reason enough to tell you this story.

You might say that my aversion to late fees is both great and powerful.

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