[In which Life reiterates rather emphatically that you just never, EVER know….]
SERENDIPITY. Noun. — “An assumed gift for finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.”
I am the last person to claim that I possess such a gift. But you wouldn’t know it, judging by the way today went down.
When I got in, an email was waiting for me by one of the Steward’s staff:
I received your new DVD player. It’s in my office.
I said to a clerk:
“What are we getting?”
“O boy! Christmas!”
Inmates like going places with you. It serves to break the moe-noe-toe-knee. Because most of our libraries are one-professional shows, it’s equally good for the Librarian to get out and give the limbs a good stretching occasionally.
We get to the Steward’s office, a quarter-mile away in the Administration Building, 3rd floor. I report to the requisite office, and say, “We’re here to pick up our DVD player.”
My clerk says “It came in!” He says this with surprise and enthusiasm, because this marks the fourth (4th) time I have attempted to get this player inside this here prison in about six months. Here’s what happened the last three times:
- I ordered a Sony player from Highsmith. They called a few weeks later saying that their distributor no longer carried that model. All they had by way of replacement was a boom box. I asked them to refund the money. The refund came about two weeks later.
- A month after that, I took a state check to a Sony outlet. I brought the player to the counter and presented the check. The check was refused. “This is a debit card/cash business, Sir. I’m sorry.” The young lady went on to explain that they couldn’t even accept cashier’s checks.
- Two months later, I found a good deal at a local Best Buy. I called ahead to make certain that they accepted state checks (they did). I brought out the check, took the purchase to the counter, and then discovered that the item was on sale. This was a problem, I was told, because the check was made out for the pre-sale price, and their system could not issue change on a check.
Madness. I finally wrote the Superintendent a letter that chronicled this mess, and asked him to give me the cash to buy the player at the Sony outlet. Instead, he directed the Treasurer’s office to order the player from a different source.
So, here we were, picking up a portable DVD player that’s taken seven (7) months to buy. Ain’t life grand? The funniest part of this saga is that we bought the thing to show ABLE MINDS students the LOTR trilogy. Now that the prison has given the Library its own cable channel, we no longer need it for that. ¡Caramba!
We have of course found an alternate use for the thing, which is using it to play the legal DVDs of trials and administrative hearings sent to inmates by the courts. So all’s well that ends well.
Not only that — when we reach the Steward’s office, she thinks we’re there for an entirely different reason and produces the $1,500 check for the Shire Book Shop, the check we’ve waited three-and-one-half months for.
So today was our day, for once. I mean twice.